Virtual Relationships: Doctor Brahms, I Presume


Virtual Relationships: Doctor Brahms, I Presume‘As I experience certain sensory input patterns, my mental pathways become accustomed to them. The inputs eventually are anticipated and even missed when absent.’

Lieutenant Commander Data on Friendship

Aren’t all friendships really about shared experiences? It’s really the shared times, efforts, sacrifices and life stories that build close relationships. The more of these you share, the closer you are with someone, as long as the sharing is mutually rewarding. So this entry does not have a lot to do with swinging or kink or anything to do with the subject of the Swingset. It does, however, have everything to do with the community of the Swingset.

Some of the first podcasts I listened to when looking into swinging were Pedestrian Polyamory, Life on the Swingset, the SwapFu’s and Boris and Doris. I cannot remember the ones that I listened to that did not speak to me. Like any relationship, we self-select the folks we want to spend our time with. The more I listened, the more I came to enjoy the voices in my ear.

After a time, I found myself caring and forming relationships (unbeknownst to them) with these folks. They were sharing their personalities, personal details of their lives, their successes and failures and interesting stories. Perhaps some literary license taken for the sake of good shows, but these were clearly not fiction. I would sit there in my car talking back to the podcasters having a great sense of empathy. I felt happy when they shared good times, sad when they shared sad ones and genuinely wanted to help when they shared problems or needs. There was a bond of familiarity, friendship and fellowship forming between them and I.

There is only one problem- the experiences were only being shared in one direction and the help only flowed one way. I knew a great deal about them, they have helped me tremendously, but they couldn’t pick me out of a lineup. I started feeling voyeuristic (in a bad way), stalkerish and creepy. Did these folks on the other end even know what they were engendering in me (and others, I would hope- otherwise I really am weird)? It wouldn’t seem so, not really. Back in episode 129, Ginger wondered if anyone was following or cared. I of course replied ‘Yes’, but it was still one way communication with no receiver. There are episode comments, and for the Swingset and SwapFu’s at least, reddit allows for at least limited conversation.

If the Swingset gang (and/or Gavin, Boris and Doris, the SwapFu’s and others), could understand how they have touched folks, I think they would feel gratified and successful. They accomplished what they set out to do on so many levels and perhaps even more. How to express this, however, without coming off as a creepy overly familiar fanboy? Perhaps I just did.

I would love to have real conversations with my friends on the other side of the looking glass. Cooper about liberalism vs libertarianism. Dylan on faith vs religion. I would love to learn more from Cooper and Dylan on projecting confidence (and even swagger), from Ginger on cultivating compersion and from Shira on overcoming fears (ie- How do you get comfortable getting naked in front of others both literally and metaphorically). We already have to an extent with them projecting into my earpiece and my talking back to the recording, but that is just throwing words out into the ether, not a real conversation. Of course, there is a reason for podcasting (or participating on a panel or engaging in social media or any other kind of broadcasting) and that is to get your message out to folks when one on one conversation is not practical or appropriate.

As I write this, another thing occurs to me. Since doing these blog posts, perhaps I am creating unknown relationships. If so, feel free to share your thoughts. Some already have. I understand where you are coming from.  There is nowhere near the level of communication with the written word as with the podcasts. Not as much material, detail, nor the music of the spoken word as with podcasting. There just really is something about listening to someone talk about their experiences in their own voice that makes things very real. The written word just does not get there.

So who is Dr. Leah Brahms? If I needed to explain it, it wouldn’t be meaningful and if I don’t need to explain it, you’re already there. If you wish to get there, view the Star Trek The Next Generation episodes ‘Booby Trap’ and ‘Galaxy's Child’.


Duncan lives with his wife the lovely Mrs. Duncan, 2.03 children, their dog and 2 cars in suburban southern New England. Distressingly vanilla on the outside and surprisingly spumoni underneath, the Duncan's are fairly new to the lifestyle and kinksters to boot. They are enjoying all the experiences and discoveries this adventure has to offer. Sharing his thoughts here, Duncan hopes to promote others' personal exploration by sharing his. Writing also helps process the experiences and acts as a personal pensive.


  1. Duncan,
    Thank you so much for putting into words the thoughts and feelings I have had myself. I have struggled myself with just how hard it can be to broadcast words into the void. I am personally grateful to out podcast hosts, who despite setbacks, and all kind of personal struggles, manage to stay the course. They have all been an inspiration to me to try and do the same.

    Although the written word does not quite have the same human element as voice, the right words at the right time can change a life. Keep writing and keep posting, and I will do the same, and by lighting one candle at a time we can create a great light.

  2. Duncan,

    I want to second what The Salmon said and that I can fully relate to what you are writing and what was said above.

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