Finding What You Want
A week later, on Friday night, Nov. 30, Eden’s security is a 32-year-old goateed engineer, August. Everyone volunteers at Eden, whether to be the doorman or provide the finger food. When August first came to Eden with a girlfriend, he walked to the front door and almost left for fear of what might be on the other side. Still, he hasn’t indulged in the sexual high jinks of the swing church. “I’m kind of picky,” he says. “I’m looking for a personality more than a body type per se.”
This night is designated as a pajama party. August is at the door, wearing jeans and a T-shirt, but other members are feeling more festive. Lisa sports a negligee. Her husband, who refuses to give any name, wears shorts that boast a 15-inch-long yellow-cloth tape measure dangling from his crotch. Cindy asks if the tape accurately measures his manhood. “I wish,” he says.
Lisa has a dirty gurgle of a laugh. “We’re a hedonistic church,” she says proudly. “Cindy’s our pastor, and we do a lot of praying.” At Eden, praying consists of, she chants in mock-orgasm, “Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God!” Lisa says she was raised Mormon and lived the church’s standards. She married to fulfill family expectations. Her former husband constantly accused her of affairs, so finally she took him up on it. “I got out of the relationship and out of the [LDS] church. To my mother’s dismay.”
Her husband wants anonymity. He’s a federal employee. “I don’t know anyone where I work who would be accepting of this,” he says. He and Lisa have been married five years. “She’d tell you I’m emotionally detached anyway,” he says. For him, swinging comes down to sex. “Why watch porn when you can live it?”
Michelle and Troy hang out by the food table. They promised Cassie and Mitch they would attend the pajama party the night the two couples first met. Michelle wears a red negligee and Troy pajama bottoms and a T-shirt. Cindy threatens to pull down Troy’s pajamas the moment he takes his hands out of his pocket. Later, she finger-paints whipped cream on Lisa’s bare breasts. August licks the cream off Lisa’s nipples with dutiful élan.
By 1 a.m., it’s clear Cassie and Mitch are not making an appearance. Michelle and Troy don’t seem to notice. Michelle rubs Lisa’s husband’s bare chest through the netting that surrounds the trampoline as he bounces up and down. Cindy suggests Cassie and Mitch found what they were looking for on their first visit. “Some couples meet a couple they really like, then they’re a unit from then on. They start hanging out at each other’s house, and we never see them again.”
Occasionally, people swing, Cindy says, hoping to save a troubled marriage. They’re not interested in each other sexually, but they want the marriage to survive. “Swinging won’t save your marriage,” Cindy says. She counsels swinging only for those who have “a healthy, strong relationship in the first place.”
She works hard to prevent jealousy and personality conflicts at Eden. The walls are painted pale green to settle people’s nerves. Still, some people do get jealous, Cindy says. One recent male visitor asked 10 different women for sex. He found two couples willing to go with him and his wife into a room. The door closed, then 15 minutes later the man stormed out into the night. “He couldn’t stand seeing someone else with his wife,” Cindy says.
And Cindy knows jealousy. She and Vaughn once got to know a couple from North Salt Lake. Vaughn and the other couple’s wife got on well sexually. Too well for the woman’s husband. “He accused his wife of being in love with Vaughn,” Cindy says. When the couples would swap partners, the man would tell Cindy to lie still so he could listen to his wife’s fervent cries in the room next door. That was enough for Cindy. The two couples stopped seeing each other.
Having sex with strangers is one thing; getting emotionally involved is something else altogether. “If Vaughn wants to have sex with someone, that’s fine,” Cindy says. “If he fell in love, I’d leave him,” a sentiment her husband wholeheartedly endorses.
Come All Ye Faithful
For a lifestyle with such a wild reputation, after three visits, a City Weekly reporter has little prurient material to report. It goes like that, says EMT nurse David, leaning against the wall, his muscular arms folded over his chest. Behind him in a dimly lit room is a massage table, Eden’s most popular item.
David is a longtime swinger. He knows the Californian scene well. There it’s more relaxed, he says—if driven underground by the sheer number of single men seeking to join in. Going to a bar in Salt Lake City, he says, can be an uncomfortable experience because “people get hung up on externalities,” like his ethnic good looks. At Eden, he’s found a mellow acceptance. So he hangs around, gives massages, and if anything sexual happens, “that’s just fine.”
Cindy puts her arm around David, nearly 20 years her junior. “I need to get my massage,” she says, “because I missed out on it last night.” They disappear into the massage room, a “do not disturb” sign hanging on the doorknob.
Meanwhile, August, the doorman, watches Lisa and her husband on the trampoline. Others mill about in the shadow. The last time Lisa and her husband came to Eden, their energetic motion atop a wooden sawhorse was so forceful, they broke it. “[Lisa and her husband] add a lot of spice to the party,” August says.
Moans come from the massage room. It’s Cindy, acting out the reason she started the church in the first place. The moans get louder, more urgent. Cindy likes her casual encounters on a one-to-one basis. Some of the best swinger-sex she’s had was with a gray-bearded man married to a French woman. He invited her back to his house after he complained she never paid attention to him. “I just thought he was out of my league,” she says.
Whatever its worshippers’ needs, Eden offers a solution, even if it’s nothing more than letting a geographically frustrated duo on their way home blow off some sexual steam. Cindy’s husband Vaughn recalls a married couple who rushed in from a local nightclub’s monthly Friday-night swinger meet-and-greets, worked up by the flirting at the get-together. They paid the fee and went to one of the playrooms. The door was left open, whether to encourage watchers or because they were in such a hurry, Vaughn doesn’t know. Either way, the couple got briskly down to business. They took a break and the man came out for a drink, before returning to his wife.
“What’s going on?” Vaughn asked him, curious about their frenzied pace.
His answer: “Just too damn far to Orem.”
For more information, contact Cindy at EdenChurchMail@comcast.net.