Diversity Is the Spice of Life…Unless You’re the Spice

By Sexual Correspondent Andrea (AJ) Plaid

When my wife and I started LoveVoodoo 6 years ago, we wanted the site to bring people together.  Many of the other adult dating or ‘Swingers’ sites are very segregated. There are “Black” swinger sites, “Hispanic” swinger sites and very little diversity on the larger sites. This never made any sense to us. Why not have a site where everyone is welcome and could feel comfortable?  I think we have achieved this goal on LoveVoodoo.com; however, we wanted to take it to the next level. It is funny that we are calling this event “Colorful Fantasies”, but I think the exciting part of the trip is not, that you meet someone different than yourself. The exciting part is to learn how similar we actually are.  LoveVoodoo.com and Colorful Fantasies are businesses that reflect our personal beliefs.

~~Todd Crawford, co-founder, LoveVoodoo.com

So said the press release for a race-inclusive swinging website.

I didn’t have enough hands to facepalm, to brow massage, to clasp in prayer.

I went to the site.  This is what I found:

I need more hands.

It’s not the swinging I’m against:  Racialicizens, please.  If anything, I’m quite for it because it (and polyamory, for that matter) is an acknowledgment that some people feel sexual and/or romantic desires for others beside their primary partner and both people are willing and able to enjoy other partners in a consensual—and safer-sex–environment.  And before folks want to climb on a table at the Anti-Racism Bar and, drunk on a sense of (self-) righteous, pontificate about the inherent evils of interracial swinging because it’s a breeding ground for racism and cheating and other social ills, let’s get a couple of things crystal:

There’s a big difference between swinging and cheating, as most swingers are open and honest with their partners they are unlikely to be receptive to people cheating on their partners in order to have sex. Most of the swinging community is made up with like minded swinging couples that like to share, unfortunately there are a lot of single males that try to get into the action and its not unknown for a single male to turn up to a swinging partner without a partner using the old ’she couldn’t make it excuse’. Single women and single bi-sexual women are generally welcome at most clubs, single men and bi-sexual single men are to a lesser extent.

The defining characteristic of polyamory is belief in the possibility of, and value of, multiple romantic loving relationships carried out “with the knowledge and consent of all partners concerned.”What distinguishes polyamory from traditional forms of non-monogamy (i.e. “cheating”) is an ideology that openness, goodwill, intense communication, and ethical behavior should prevail among all the parties involved. Powerful intimate bonding among three or more persons may occur. Some consider polyamory to be, at its root, the generalization of romantic couple-love beyond two people into something larger and more fundamental.

Furthermore:

It is possible for a person with polyamorous relationships to also engage in casual sex, traditional swinging, and other open relationships. Sometimes polyamorous people have been known to engage in infidelities or secret affairs, although this is no better accepted in polyamorous communities than in monogamous ones.

Or as blogger dopegirlfresh tweeted:

[T]here’s a diff[erence] [between] polyamory and just fucking for the sake of doing so. [People] have it twisted. [U]sually, polyamory involves not lying to your partner about where you are . . .

  • Polyamory and swinging may overlap but aren’t the same.  Swinging is about having recreational sex with other people–be it at a swingers’ party or as a long-term sexual relationship–with full consent of one’s partner.  Polyamory, as mentioned above, is about forming multiple romantic relationships with people with full consent of all the people involved.
  • Considering how pervasive racism is–and sexualized racism is–any sexual encounter between and among people of different race has the potential to lay bare all sorts of free-floating racist notions well before people, well, lay bare.  I repeat:  it has the potential.  It does not mean that it will happen.
  • A particular type of partner arrangement does not inherently manifest or conceal these notions.  Thus, interracial swinging does not breed or bring forth racist notions due to the number and race of sex partners any more or than a monogamous interracial couple magically erases their racism by virtue of the fact of their being committed pair.

Now, before people start saying “race play” like it’s a new word learned on Jeopardy! and hoping to use as a hip point at said Anti-Racism Bar: interracial swinging is not race play.  This is not a staged setting where people explicitly agreeing to act out a particular racialized scenario, like a white man playing a cuckholded husband who wants to see his white wife have sex specifically with a Black man while, say, he hides in a closet and masturbates.  Race play, a form of BDSM, can be incorporated into swinging.

No, considering how the site is presenting itself, race is in play….and not in the way Crawford intended in his statement.

According to sexologist Bianca Laureano, histories and narratives about swinging have been rather PoC-free.  Only one show about swinging featured a Black couple (‘cause, you know, Black people are the go-to visual signifiers for diversity in media).  A cursory online search does support what Crawford says about swinging’s  racial segregation, along with some other observations about the sites for swingers of color:

  • On some Latin@ swinging sites, the text states the groups are geared for couples and single women, not single men.  No mention of sexual and gender identities.  And the homepage photos are only of dark-haired, dark-eyed, olive-skinned Latinas.
  • Some of the Black swingers sites make no mention on their homepage about to whom the sites are aimed nor too much about sexual or gender identities.  Some sites’ banners feature Black women, either in the nude or bondage gear with some visual centering of their behinds.  One site had “random member photos” with almost half of them being women in doggie-style butt or vaginal shots or the men in “long schlong” shots.
  • “Asian” or “Asian American swingers” as a search string seems to lead to general swingers sites…or porn.  Input “South Asian swinger”, and one finds a blog called “Adult Indian Swingers in New Delhi” with a single post from 2006.  Its FAQ states that only straight couples and bisexual women are allowed; no “single guy/male” or “gays” allowed.
  • “Arab swinger” leads to a subpage from a general swinger site for “Arab Swingers in Alabama.”  Nothing for 1st Nations or multiethnic or biracial swingers.

So, yes, I can see why such a organization like LoveVoodoo would exist in terms of wanting to the races to come together (pun intended) in one big orgy.  I just think the way the founders are doing it is a bit of fail.  LoveVoodoo’s PR statement falls into the usual ish wrapped in diversity-reach lingo and with a bow of good intentions.

What I’m not digging are the insulting efforts to attract swingers of color.  Posting *a* Spanish word and having various, ahem, “ethnic” graphics shows cultural imcompetency because 1) a word doesn’t signify any understanding of the complexities that are Latin@ ethnicities and their sexualities and 2) showing random artifacts of what one thinks are cultural emblems of a particular group to represent an entire ethnic group does not show how accepting zie is about the group.

It’s stereotyping at its laziest.  The insults abound around LoveVoodoo:  the name itself degrades this highly complex African-based faith by equating it with simple and cheap spell-casting aimed at manipulating others into wanting people into having sex (like a metaphysical “roofie”).  It also plays upon the stereotyped anticipation of swinging with people of color will be a ‘darkly magical” outer-body experience of out-of-control, buckwild sex and orgasms that only we Black and Brown types provide when we mount (pun intended) our partners.

(Their naming this site and cruises with such appellations is like my (imaginary) Irish-American partner and me calling our adult website for people looking for similar partnerings “Afro-Leprechaun Love” and our cruises for the lifestyle “Black Shamrock Swing” and “Ship o’ Swap” and then talk about our earnestly wanting Black and Irish people to get together due to our parallel histories of oppression.  And having the site’s photos only of white people.)

The insult also rests in the incentive of why PoCs should join the this site and the cruises: the visual promise of all the white women one can sex up because, ya know, all swingers of color fantasize about sucking and fucking available and willing nubile white ladies.  (This is also the linchpin of a lot of interracial porn.)  That’s who is mostly seen in the site’s photos from the homepage to the visitor’s tour.  None of the photos has a person of size unless one checks out their “Big on the Beach” cruise—and the model seen in the banner is of an indefinite size due to how she’s positioned and is racially ambiguous; the only people who are may look older are in a very small thumbnail-sized picture which is off to the left of a row of photos on the homepage.   And,  if the photos are anything to go by:  Asian American men, multiracial guys, 1st Nation dudes, other non-Black, non-Latin@ fellows, and women of color—you all may have to wait for your own offensively named cruises to another sunny-with-beaches-and-dusky-citizens “developing” nation to serve as your own sexcapade playground and backdrop for your Spring Break-like snaps.

Oh, and this winceble copy from “LoveVoodoo Loco” ad:

LoveVoodoo Loco moves to the white sand beaches of the world famous Hedonism II located in Negril Jamaica. For one week only, the Jamaicans are trading in their Rum for Tequila, Jerk Chicken for Carne Asada, and those silly fake Dread Lock hats for Sombreros!

LoveVoodoo Loco is the only Latin themed Lifestyle event in existence. It is a great place to meet other open minded couples and singles to fulfill your fantasies or just relax on the beach with your significant other, sip a Margarita, and take in the sun.

LoveVoodooo Loco will take place May 1 – May 8.  You can experience all Jamaica has to offer, plus fun Latin themed events, cuisine, and entertainment.  Each night we will offer cuisine and entertainment from a different country. Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Cuba, Peru, Puerto Rico and may more.  How about a “Dirty Piñata” contest?? Wait until you see what we fill it with!!

We will have Spanish to English translators on staff to assist with check in and ensure that you have a trouble free stay! Whether you from Hispanic decent or just a lover of all things Latin. LoveVoodoo Loco is the trip for you.

Comparatively speaking, race play has an unvarnished honesty about it; this particular organization and its programs work with some racial disingenuousness under the guise of integration, of wanting to “make everyone ”comfortable” so they can fulfill their “wildest fantasies.”  I’m not sure about who exactly is supposed to be “everyone” because, even though the site may be open to different sexual and gender identities, the majority of photos on the site are of white people or very, very light-skinned PoCs.  And just saying you want PoCs to join doesn’t make the wish so, especially when the pictures and texts say a thousand contradictory and uncomfortable things.

Now, while I typed about my chagrin concerning this website, the site’s “Hedonism Fest 2009” scheduled for November had only 20 spots left.

Some people like–and like being–the spice.