You probably won’t be surprised to learn that this weekend is one of the busiest of the year at Columbus’s premier swingers hangout, the members-only Club Princeton.
On Saturday, the club will host its annual Valentine’s Day dinner complete with dancing, live music and “partying.” (In the swing lifestyle, “party” is generally used as a verb.)
“It’s just one of those nights,” said Princeton co-owner RK Levy. “People do like to come dressed up and do like to enjoy a special occasion.”
Levy said attendance at the event is generally double the usual Saturday night crowd of 200 to 225 members. Even so, that makes it only the fourth-busiest event of the year, following Halloween, New Year’s Eve and the summer’s “Black and White” party, during which guests are encouraged to don formalwear.
The 16,000-square-foot facility features fantasy rooms equipped for every scenario imaginable, from bondage to Jacuzzi bubble baths. However, co-owner Janet “Kitty” Dinneen is keenly aware that the primary draw for members is other members.
“I feel like it’s my job to make sure everyone meets other people,” said Dinneen, who serves as the club’s hostess. “Cool people meet cool people. I try to get the conversation going.”
Members are typically couples or single women ages 25 to 55. Though the club has a handful of gay male members, the club typically draws a larger bi-female and lesbian membership. That’s the overall trend in the swing community, said Levy.
After six years of running the club, Levy and Dinneen have become the city’s go-to sources of information on every facet of the local lifestyle.
“Part of the fabric of our club and being social is that we want to talk about what’s healthy and what’s not healthy,” said Levy. “We get phone calls on a daily basis: ‘What do I do if…’”
He and Dinneen recently took part in an Ohio State student project on human sexuality, fielding questions on safe sex within the club and the swinger scene in general. Such issues also are regularly addressed on the Princeton message boards.
“We have open blogs on our fan club (page) where people can talk about issues. When we see sex-education questions answered inappropriately or without response, we jump right in,” said Levy.
Though open communication is the foundation of any smart sexual relationship, it is crucial for couples or singles who engage in group activity, said Dinneen. The only taboo, she said, is not honestly expressing one’s desires.
“Orgasms, having a good sexual relationship are healthy,” said Dinneen.
In that spirit, the Princeton facility has been expanded to include the “Luxury Party House,” a secluded bed-and-breakfast-style house in Worthington. The wooded spread was a natural extension for the club, which draws members from throughout the state.
The B&B offers a more intimate setting for members, as well as activities like professional massage classes for couples who aren’t ready to jump right into the lifestyle.
“There isn’t music or dark lighting. It’s a great place to meet people,” said Dinneen. “People have become good friends because of it—not necessarily swinging friends, but just friends. The most beautiful part about it is (we’ve) gotten to know our members much better.”
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