My parents were swingers.
First, purge all images of exotic parties full of attractive and sexually explorative young professionals
or tantalizing visages of free-loving flower children from your mind. I'm not saying swinging isn't like that, it just wasn't in my family.
My mother was married to my stepfather from the time I was 5 until I was 19. From what I can tell, much of that time they were sexually exploring with other singles and couples at home, attending adult clubs and taking the occasional vacation weekend in the Georgia mountains with another couple. In fact, they got to know each other through swinging while my parents were still married. Heavy, huh?
It didn't happen so regularly that their lives were consumed by it. In fact, at the time, my family seemed completely normal, even a little on the dull side. What I know now about my parents' extracurricular activities was pieced together from clues I discovered over the years, the memories of my slightly older sister and the eventual confession of my mother to us once we were adults.
I really just thought they were popular. Very popular.
So, I've compiled a series of warning signs of a potential parental-swinger situation. Who knows, maybe you'll put the pieces together like a good little detective and realize your own parents are in the spousal-swap subculture. Maybe they even crossed paths with mine in an elevator heading to a seedy, late-night soiree. "Going down?" "Waaaaay down."
1) Strange Characters / New Friends
Your parents are old. You should know all their friends. Unless they're selling Amway, you should be suspicious of a rotating cast of characters coming in and out of your home and your parents' lives. From my experience, these individuals are also likely going to behave strangely around you, as if they'd been having sex with your parents.
2) Startling Evening Wear
This alone could only mean that your folks are adventurous, maybe even a little raunchy. But finding more than one fishnet man-thong in the laundry should raise a few red flags and could warrant further investigation.
3) Suspicious Behavior
This is broad, but you'll know it when you see it. One afternoon, my sister and I got home from school early on a half day. We sat down and started watching TV, and shortly after, my stepfather and a strange new male friend came in. When they noticed us, you could tell they were surprised by the wide-eyed "Oh! What are you two doing home?" look on their faces, like we had caught them with their fingers in the pie. They went into my parents' room and didn't return for half an hour. This also relates to clue number four.
4) Elaborate or Confusing Sex Toys
We're not talking about one of those life-size sex dolls that weighs as much as a schoolboy. Although, if you do find such an expensive, uniquely purposed item, I would say your parents have probably at least pondered the idea of spicing it up the bedroom with outside players. The discovery of a strap-on in my parents' bedroom was a good indication that their tastes may have been different from what I expected. You don't have to be a dildo detective to sort out the possible uses for that one.
5) Excessive Partying
This isn't really proof of anything on its own, just that your parents have lives. But when you discover a healthy supply of party drugs after carefully rummaging through your parents' hiding places -- just being teenagers -- and add in their semi-frequent trips out of town for the weekend with other couples, the math starts to work itself out.
William Mills is an Asylum contributor who is not a furry, despite the above photo.