This story contains adult content and is only suitable for persons over the age of 18.
An old 70’s trend was making its way back into the suburban homes of Montreal, Quebec. Husbands and wives were having consensual sex with other married couples and trying to keep the secret under wraps, unsuccessfully. Swapping. Swinging. An organized sex agreement; and to a 39 year-old mother of two, like me, the idea was riveting.
The rules of Swap Club are simple.
1- No exchanging phone numbers.
2- No socializing as couples outside the club.
3- Last but not least, only attractive couples can be members.
Within 24hrs Ryan and I signed the contract that officially made us members of the Swap Club.
My name is Valerie Matthews and this is my journey into Swap Club.
A Celestial Meeting
Ryan agreed to meet with Celeste, the “Madame” of Swap Club, the week after my party. The day Ryan and I went to that fateful meeting happened to coincide with the very first time I’d ever skipped a waxing appointment with Svetlana Chesnokov, the coveted Russian esthetician known for her Brazilian bikini-waxing prowess. Here I was, trading in the long-lost hope that a well-manicured muff would be enough to inspire us under the sheets to become part of a consensual sex ring.
How did I find Celeste? Well, being the resourceful person that I am (I really should have been a private investigator), I was able to set up a meeting with her after three days, six phone calls, and four emails. I can’t tell you any more than that.
This is a secret club after all, and Rule #6 was put in place to respect the privacy of its members. Celeste—if that’s even her real name—had flawless ivory skin and wild red hair. She reminded me of Susan Sarandon in The Witches of Eastwick. She must’ve been a cool chick in the nineties, the kind who loved a methed-out, coked-up Steven Tyler and knew about raves before they were a thing.
She welcomed us into her charming Victorian home in Westmount: creaking oak wood floors, ornate crown moldings, and the smell of lavender in the air. I’d heard lavender was used to calm nerves, so I took some deep breaths, hoping it would help calm mine.
Celeste looked directly and deeply into our eyes, first Ryan’s, then mine. When we locked gazes, I felt like she could see all the lies I’d been telling my whole life. I had the urge to confess all my dirty secrets to her and let her bear the burden of all my sins. I pluck my body hair. I sit on my ass most days while my kids are in school and my husband is at work.
I eat chocolate for lunch and then complain at suppertime that I didn’t eat lunch. I PVR porn and watch it at 11 am, and then erase it. I hate some of my friends. I love doing absolutely nothing. I have brown spots on my skin that I don’t want to get checked just in case they are cancerous.
I tried Indian food once and loved it, even though I was sick for hours after. Pepto is a staple on my grocery list. I pretend to listen to people when they talk to me. My mother scares me. Most of the time I say yes because I’m too scared to say no.
“So, you think you want to be a part of this club?” Celeste’s question must have been rhetorical because she continued speaking before either of us could open our mouths. “This is a very strict club. There are no second chances, and one broken rule will get you expelled.”
“Expelled?” Ryan asked. “Sounds like high school.”
“Something like high school, if you’re referring to the raging hormones and hot sex.” Celeste had made this spiel before. I could tell just by her quick wit and ability to shut Ryan up.
Unexpectedly I became tense. It was weird; I was the one who wanted this! I’m the one who convinced Ryan that this would be good for our marriage, and here I was utterly perplexed. I couldn’t tell if it was the stiff antique chair, but I was extremely uncomfortable. Was this actually happening? The last time I’d been in a meeting like this we were at the notary for our pre-nup.
Now we were listening to Susan Sarandon explaining the rules for consensual adultery. My moral compass was being muddled by my need to rekindle my sex life.
“The rules of Swap Club are very straightforward,” she went on. There were six of them in total:
1. No exchanging phone numbers with new partners.
2. No socializing as couples with other Swap Club couples outside the Club.
3. Only attractive couples can be members.
4. The contract is good for one year.
5. All participants are required to undergo physicals before being accepted. Sexual relations are permitted only with Club members and spouses for the duration of the contract.
6. No disclosure of the Club or its members to anyone, period.
The third one was a stinger, especially if we weren’t accepted. It was common to hear rumors circulating about the Club, especially among the less attractive and overweight demographics, or anyone who drove a Hyundai, Honda or a Kia. (My apologies to anyone who drives one of these cars, but the honesty I’m offering is probably why you’re going to keep reading.) Besides, I didn’t make the rules. I just broke most of them.
The fifth one was a bit disconcerting—I hadn’t thought about STDs in years—but definitely a necessary health precaution, especially since condom use couldn’t actually be
monitored. I guess it was also important to figure out which women were on birth control and who got their period when. Sheesh. It appeared sex was never easy breezy, even when it was an organized sport. But I appreciated the Club’s rigor. As long as no one cheated outside the Club, everyone was safe. Kinda.
The swap happened the second Saturday of every month, so there was some semblance of organization. Celeste would send a text message to the husband’s cell phone the day of with the designated address for the 8 p.m. rendezvous. No names were given, no back-story, just the address.
The men must leave their assigned addresses by 11 p.m. sharp or else their Mercedes, BMW, Range Rover, or Escalade (fill in your luxury vehicle of choice here) would turn into a pumpkin. Kidding. This was to avoid having men cross paths and prevent the awkward post-coital walk of shame witnessed by the freaking couple’s other half.
So, to be clear, we were given three hours to fuck someone else’s husband while our husband was off fucking someone else’s wife. I’ll let you chew on that for a moment. Celeste placed a stack of papers on her coffee table that looked as legally binding as any contract I’d ever laid eyes on.
My body was frozen. I imagined it was possible to mistake my deer-in-the-headlights paralysis for calm, but I was actually using every ounce of self-control to not throw up on the coffee table. I’m not sure Celeste would let you have play dates in the fancy sex club if you heaved your lunch all over the contract. Was I really going to do this? Could I really do this? I wasn’t sure I’d even know where to begin with another body that wasn’t Ryan’s.
“Take this home, read it over, and if you think you can keep a secret and abide by the rules, you may sign it and drop it off with a certified cheque for two thousand dollars.”
“That’s it?” I asked, surprised. The notary had gone through our pre-nup line by line and asked us a million probing questions.
“That’s it?” The fee surprised Ryan. “What’s the two thousand dollars for?”
Celeste looked at Ryan and then leaned over her desk and spoke directly to him.
“The cost of keeping this Club exclusive so that you don’t have a Steve Buscemi or a busker fucking your wife, Mr. Martin.”
And with that, Ryan sat back and never uttered another word about the membership fee again. Not to mention his golf membership, which he’d used a total of one time last summer, cost way more than this. And I was sure he planned on using this membership a hell of a lot more than one time.
I couldn’t believe that was the extent of our interview. My pre-interview anxiety addled brain, as it does so often when I don’t know what’s coming, had conjured much more intimate methods for screening couples—like Celeste, cigarette dangling from her long fingers, asking us to strip off our clothes as she slowly circled around us in her silk bathrobe, scrutinizing our bodies and educating us about the virtues of erotica and sex toys. I pictured Ryan nervously standing naked in her secret sex room; she would demand that I get him hard. Of course, that’s not how it went down, thank God, because I would never have made it through.
I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror on Celeste’s wall while Ryan asked a few more questions about the safety of the Club and the importance of privacy. The image immediately morphed in my brain and there I was, in all my domestic glory, sporting a dirty ponytail, flannel pajamas, and cracker crumbs collecting under my collar. I could feel the fear of my dissolving marriage, of societal judgment and scrutiny all beginning to grip me.
“Yes, that’s right. The other members voted. Majority ruled,” Celeste responded.
I’d missed Ryan’s question.
“Majority ruled? So, you mean the others want us in?” I asked confused.
“Just keep your mouths shut.” Celeste smiled and then pushed the paperwork closer to us.
Lightheaded from the influx of all the Swap Club information, I stood up and put my hand out.
“Thank you for meeting with us. We will talk it over and get back to you.”
Celeste smirked at me as she shook my hand.
“Looks like there’ll be no need, Valerie.” Celeste pushed the contract over in front of me.
I was confused, and then looked down at the contract where the ink from Ryan’s signature was already starting to dry. Turns out Ryan had bigger fears.
Too afraid to say no to my deep-seated desires, Ryan was saying yes to it all.
Swap Club by Lauren Wise