tagReviews & EssaysThe Exchange: An Historical Note

The Exchange: An Historical Note


In the Nixon years of 1972-73 in Washington DC there was a restaurant called The Exchange. In those days there were no stock exchange data on TV and no Internet. The Exchange had a ticker tape band of red numbers moving across the wall above the bar and you could have a drink or lunch and keep up with the market.

It was located within walking distance of the Old Executive Office Building, now renamed the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Because of its location it was a popular luncheon place for business and government people in the area. Its business was primarily weekday and it was closed on Saturday.

A swinger's club rented the restaurant every Saturday night because the name was a double entendre. They called the swinging club by the name of the restaurant. The club met there for a while and then moved to another location, perhaps better suited to their parties but keeping the club name unchanged.

I am a personal friend of a couple that belonged to that club and a recent discussion related to a story of mine ("Bermuda Surprise") prompted me to talk to them again about the club. My friends belonged to the club for about three years and then quit when they moved to another city. The information contained in this essay is based on my past and recent conversations with them.

There was a membership list, which was also a mailing list. There were no dues but an admission fee of seven dollars per couple was charged, which my inflation calculator puts at over fifty dollars today. Several couples did the business and other chores necessary to run the club.

There was a sign at the entrance that said "Private Party" and guys or gals monitored the door collecting the money and checking the names. Single males were admitted and there were always a few of these because they were in high demand. Potential new members (couples only) were interviewed and allowed to enter. People got two drink tickets each.

On entering the club there was a bar, a number of four person tables, and a dance floor. Music was playing and people were dancing. People who knew each other and wanted to hook up would sit at the same table. A couple wanting to meet another couple would sit at a table leaving two empty chairs. If a couple wanted to meet a single guy the wife would sit alone at the bar. Single guys sat at the bar. There were rare single gals on occasion.

A couple would usually get their drinks and a table and either dance and survey the crowd or sit and wait for another couple to invite them to dance. It there were a potential matchup with a wife and another husband dancing together, it was the woman that talked to the other husband about the kind of sex that was wanted. I found that custom interesting and amusing − almost Victorian.

Several key questions dominated the pairings. Where can we go? Who has a place? Do baby sitters limit your time? Do you prefer to use separate bedrooms? Answers to these questions often would make or break a potential foursome. Detailed sexual preferences were discussed.

I asked specifically about voyeur cuckolds and was told that there were a few but most of the threesomes resulted from the woman wanting more sex than her husband was capable of providing.

I asked about extra males in the groups larger than four and was told that this was frequently the case and usually involved a male known to the group who often brought his wife but on that particular evening was alone. I was told that extra males were always very welcome because guys wore down faster than gals.

When the club moved to their new location the action of the first floor was the same as before but there was a small room on the second floor that allowed enhanced activity. It had very low lights, a dance floor, tables and booths. Interactions between men and women were much more intimate than on the first floor.

Club officers monitored the room to be sure that sexual acts did not occur. But it was common for a wife to strip down naked and dance with more than one guy. My friends said that when they decided not to pair up they would often go upstairs and watch the "floor show." Every two months or so the club would sponsor what can only be called an orgy. An empty apartment would be rented. Carpeting in most of the rooms was required. Food and drink were provided. The fee was over fifty dollars which in today's dollars in well over two hundred. There might be forty or more naked people walking between rooms, some well lit, some almost dark. They were drinking, talking, laughing, and watching all kinds of sexual activities that were taking place on the carpeted floor.

My friends attended one of these parties and found the brightly lit rooms disconcerting but did make use of one of the darker rooms. You didn't have to be naked but you looked very strange if you kept your clothes on. This was the first time they saw African-American males at swinger parties. These guys were so popular with some of the wives that they got worn out very early with the gals waiting their turn.

I asked my friend what he did with his wallet? His answer: he left his valuables in the car and brought only his car key, which he left in his pants pocket.

Key points: Couples with children were common; singles were often members whose wives were absent that night; obnoxious young guys were rare; foursomes were the most popular combinations; groups of five to twelve with one or two extra males were common; threesomes occurred regularly with MFM common and FMF rare; most pairings or matchups had occurred before but some were new; orgies seemed to attract a special crowd.

There, for what it's worth, is a second hand account of how a swinger's club operated forty years ago. I doubt they have changed all that much. I have not heard whether the Exchange club still operates. I would love to hear from anyone with additional information.

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byLynnGKS© 7 comments/ 12145 views/ 1 favorites

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