Rhonda Perky goes under the covers to discover how to survive as a single in the Swinger’s Scene.
A ‘Unicorn’ is so called because they are mythical creatures: the single female (or male) who appears to fulfil a couple’s erotic fantasy, and then disappears, never to be seen or heard from again.
Couples seek out Unicorns for many reasons, most commonly for threesomes, but also to venture into the polyamorous scene or as a step towards opening their relationship. Ideally the Unicorn will be bisexual, not looking for romantic attachment, and available at the couple’s discretion. The important thing for the couple is that the Unicorn poses no threat to the relationship.
I spent the better part of a year playing Unicorn for several couples. I wasn’t seeking a relationship, but wanted to explore my sexuality. Thrilling and unpredictable, I learned there are some very sound reasons why Unicorns are difficult to come by, but that it is possible to get your needs met, provided you set your boundaries and keep your expectations in check. The following are just a few of the things I wish I’d known before I donned my horn.
Having been in a heterosexual relationship for most of my adult life, when it came to women, I was a virtual virgin. Meeting with couples gave me an opportunity to explore my bisexuality without having to date or take the sexual lead. However not all couples seeking a Unicorn are bisexual. I once found myself being ‘gifted’ to a husband by a straight woman. It can feel pretty hollow when someone is acting a part for the benefit of their partner. Make sure you ask in advance if this is important to your satisfaction.
The bedroom is one of life’s most intimate settings. By entering someone else’s, you will see what usually remains hidden, from the perfume bottle on a bedroom dresser, to the secret words whispered between the sheets. Like real-life pornography, you can watch how each partner gives the other pleasure, only what you witness isn’t staged. Being a voyeur means also being exposed to the couples’ metaphorical unwashed socks and bathroom grime: the niggling insecurities, tensions and resentments. Tread carefully: if you want to be invited back, be respectful of the couple’s privacy, know when not to look, or to simply walk away.
3) Cut those strings!
What better way to experience a threesome than when you’re not the one risking a relationship? Being a Unicorn is a great way to get some hot kinky sex without emotional entanglement. You need not fear your couple wanting more than you are prepared to give: in most instances they will want you gone before the sun rises, and if things don’t work out, a simple, ‘Sorry, my situation has changed,’ will do, because the Unicorn’s presence in a relationship is expected to be temporary. The downside: you could easily find yourself leaving them to snuggle up in their shared bed, whispering sweet nothings, while you stumble to your empty apartment wearing last night’s dress, stilettos in hand, wondering where you left your panties.
4) The relationship in crisis
Sometimes couples look to a Unicorn to patch up a rocky relationship. Perhaps there has been an infidelity, or the couple is hoping to shake up their tired sexual repertoire. Your presence in the bedroom can stir up underlying jealousies and resentments. No one wants to feel like a marital aid or the suddenly unwelcome interloper, so ask why your couple is seeking a Unicorn, and what experiences they’ve had already. A couple who has played on the scene for a while is more likely to have ironed out their insecurities and learned to identify and communicate their boundaries. There is also a better chance they will be experienced enough to let you establish and communicate yours.
5) The unwelcome Unicorn
Breaking into the scene can be a challenge. On paper, Unicorns are in demand, but try turning up to a Swingers’ party as a single female and you might quickly find yourself relegated to the position of Wall Flower instead of the Butterfly you had hoped. The Swingers’ scene is essentially a matriarchy. Partnered women are in control and you can’t approach them, you have to be invited in. Attractive single females can be seen to pose a threat to existing relationships, and tend to be ignored, while single males are rarely allowed through the door. Try grabbing a Unicorn of the opposite sex to pose as your partner, perhaps an existing play-partner. That way you are less likely to be met with hostility by other women, and if you don’t find a match, you can always head home with your date. Once you’ve broken into the scene and proven that your motives are benign, you are more likely to be welcomed back, and even shared among couples in the scene.
6) Their threesome
The Unicorn is expected to appear when the couple calls, and disappear when they don’t. Approaching them can result in a swift revocation of your sexual access. Unless you negotiate your terms, this situation can leave you feeling discarded like a used tissue. This can be as simple as a conversation setting out your availability and expectations from the encounter, and asking if they have any rules you should follow. Establish in advance what activities are in or out. Don’t expect more than they can offer, sexually or emotionally. Similarly, make sure your needs will be met and your boundaries respected. If not, walk away. The encounter should be mutually beneficial: it isn’t only their threesome.
Ultimately, being a Unicorn wasn’t sustainable for me. After a year of playing on the scene I was ready for another relationship, and the difficulties began to outweigh the thrills. Still, I don’t regret a minute. I learned so much from putting myself out there, and perhaps I’ll hunt my own Unicorn soon. Most importantly I learned to keep my heart close while I enjoyed the ride, and can now relish the memories of my adventures.
–RP, retired Unicorn.
This post first appeared in Sex this Month magazine.