Kim Carney /
By contributor
updated 7/3/2008 8:56:01 AM ET 2008-07-03T12:56:01

When does swinging fling outside of legal bounds? And why accepting PayPal payments for kinky sex isn't such a bright idea. Sexploration offers pro bono advice to keep our readers out of jail. Got a question? E-mail us .

Q: Just wondering if you’ve heard about this … It’s a swingers party with 5,000 couples and porn star Mary Carey as the hostess along with [attorney] Lawrence G. Walters talking about how to keep your swingers club from getting shut down. It’s coming to Florida in July 2008, and I’m wondering, if we go, is this legal?

A: I have sometimes wondered this myself when reporting on the nation’s expanding sexual menu. I’d see something, stand there with my jaw dropped to my chest, and think “Is this even legal?”

I have occasionally had my doubts, but according to the man himself, Lawrence G. Walters, one of the nation’s leading defenders of porn producers, swing clubs, and adult Internet sites, the swing party you refer to is perfectly legal.

“There is nothing illegal about participating in, or attending events focusing on the swinger lifestyle,” he tells me. “It is not illegal to have more than one sexual partner in the United States of America. It’s a free country. The government is not in the bedroom to that extent and if the government did try to pass a law, it would be invalid under the right to privacy.”

Some legal theorists, like Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, say there is no such thing as a “right to privacy” because there is no mention of it in the Constitution. So while Walters is correct for now, he may not always be so correct depending upon the makeup of the Court.

Walters warns that swingers can face legal consequences if, say, they hold events in a private home for a fee, or post public notices of swinger parties to be held at residences, and do not have locally required permits. They could also wind up in violation of nuisance ordinances. But host hotels usually make special arrangements, often by booking the entire hotel for only that event so junior’s memory of his big Disney vacation isn’t blotted out by the sight of a platoon of nipple-pierced 60-year-olds in red Lycra thongs. 

Q: I am a very high profile public figure. If [the truth] were known about my sex life I might be asked to step aside from my job. While I am of the Woodstock generation, [my wife] is younger and she is the one pushing the envelope. We go to [swingers] parties in Orlando. She has profiles on several of the sex sites. She gets guys to pay a lot for sex with her. There is no Mafia involved and no organized crime. Guys deposit funds into her PayPal account and meet her for sex. This used to bother me in the past, but not at all now.

If you think you’re running a risk by leading a kinky sex life, you haven’t grasped the half of it. You are married to a prostitute.

You might not think of her that way, but legally speaking, Walters explains, she is, and unless she’s meeting the sugar daddies in select locales in Nevada, she’s breaking the law.

“The Internet has changed the way lots of people perceive prostitution,” Walters explains. “You have all these escort sites, [hooker] review boards talking openly about ‘the hobby’ as it is called, and people sometimes forget this is very illegal, can be prosecuted, and regularly is prosecuted.”

It doesn’t matter if the payment runs through PayPal, or even if it’s comprised of something other than cash, like jewelry, airline tickets to attend a swinger’s convention, or third-base seats to the World Series. A promise of sex for a payment is prostitution. If some vice-squad detective wanted to get prickly about it, Walters says, something as simple as dinner could be considered pay, which could place a date’s request for the Beluga caviar and the Château Pétrus in a whole new light.

Q: Do men really care if the woman has an orgasm or not?

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A: There is something almost existential about this question, like, “Is there really a merciful God?” or “Will Mick Jagger ever retire?”

I am here to ease your angst, and not just because I’m a man, but because I think it’s true. Not true for all men, of course, but I’d bet most of us do care and, like Boy Scouts, we strive to do our best.

Data from the most comprehensive survey of the nation’s sex life, “The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States,” showed that roughly one-third of women surveyed said they ALWAYS had an orgasm with their male partner. Not sometimes, or most of the time, but always. These numbers are even more impressive when you consider that many women report that due to some physiological or psychological barrier they rarely or never orgasm even if the guy is working like a Spartan. Then realize that the survey’s data was collected nearly a generation ago — before the explosion of porn in every possible form of media made fiery female orgasms the (completely unrealistic) standard, and before giving great oral sex became a datability requirement akin to having a job.

Even if you don’t trust our altruism, consider our egos. Many, many reader letters to this column come from women asking how they can soothe their men’s wounded pride over the women’s trouble reaching orgasm.

We care.

Brian Alexander is the author of the new book “America Unzipped: In Search of Sex and Satisfaction."

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