2023 really has been quite a boring year for The Rabbit Hole. In comparison to the excitement of previous years, not much happened. It’s been lovely!
Dare we think it? Have we busted the plain sailing myth? If you have been following our story since the beginning, you’ll know we were at crisis point at the end of 2020, where we almost threw in the towel. 2021 was a bizarre year of ad hoc parties, concocted and thrown together at the mercy of our state’s pandemic social gathering restrictions. Then last year in 2022, we almost got shut down by the council.
Within the walls of TRH though, it certainly hasn’t been boring! The Lifestyle is as popular as ever, such that our Open parties and Theme parties consistently book out within a couple of weeks of registration opening. Who knew swinging would become such a popular pastime? We never imagined at the beginning that the house wouldn’t be big enough to fit everyone in. Of course, our guests do not hail from just Adelaide. We welcome many visitors from regional areas and interstate, and even a few international guests.
Having a ‘boring’ year (i.e. not having crises and putting out fires) has meant that we have been able to focus on growing TRH and ensuring its sustainability. First and foremost, we needed more help on the ground so to speak, so that the 3 of us (Wendee, Dave and Andrew - the hosts) could concentrate our energy on the behind-the-scenes work. We are very fortunate to now have a core group of reliable, enthusiastic, fun and sex-positive bunnies helping us offer the quality experience that guests have come to expect at The Rabbit Hole. Much gratitude to our staff who help us out on party nights with tours, housekeeping, cleaning, security, etc. Having staff onboard on party nights taking care of housekeeping and security means we can focus on making sure guests are having a good time, and if required sort out any issues that might arise during the night.
So, what behind-the-scenes work do the hosts really do then, I hear you ask?
Flashback to early April 2018. We had just finished filming the episode Open Relationships for SBS Insight. The experience was exhilarating! For the first time in my life, I was amongst like-minded people who were out, proud, passionate and articulate about consensual non-monogamy. It was wonderful, to witness Lawrence and Jess who run Our Secret Spot in Sydney proudly represent the Lifestyle community, portraying swinging as the consensual sexy adult fun that it is.
Coming out on national TV was a life-changing experience for me. I had spent the previous 20 years hiding my identity as a swinger, afraid of the consequences of being judged. It was liberating not hiding anymore! I now pour my activism energy into advocating for sex-positivity, bodily autonomy, sex education, consent education, and the validity of alternative relationship choices. It is my voice you hear on The Rabbit Hole social media soapbox, shouting our deserved place in the world to all who care to listen. It is I who shoots down the dissenters, I who defends our right to express our sexuality without fear or shame, and I who has no hesitation blocking and removing anyone who dares threaten our right to be out and proud.
At The Rabbit Hole, I plan our events, I liase with our sponsors, I network with other community leaders. I organise our performers, our graphic designers, our linen provider, our cleaner. I also maintain goodwill with our neighbours, and if required I deal with council.
It is also I who make the rules. These rules are carefully designed to curate a specific experience: a sexy, classy, fun sanctuary where consent is paramount. Correspondingly, my expectations of our guests’ behaviour in return, are high.
I’m your mama bear.
Next year in 2024, The Rabbit Hole turns 5. We have evolved to be a far cry from who we were at the beginning. Thank goodness for Andrew. Being an IT professional, he has been able to develop and streamline the processes that bring the management of TRH into the 21st century. If it were left up to Dave and me, we’d still just be sending text messages to everyone!
Andrew is the voice that answers all your phone, text, email and website enquiries. Including phone calls from panicky linen delivery drivers.
He manages the day-to-day administration of TRH, from doing the staff rosters, to managing the engagement-intensive single male selection process, from vetting to invitation.
He reads every single new application for membership: approving, declining, or requesting more information.
He keeps a close eye on our membership database of almost 3000, making sure that all who show up to our events are members who have booked in, and are on the guest list.
The final guest list prior to every single event is a finely crafted document: from carefully selected single men matched to each event to ensure we have a balanced gender distribution, to managing last-minute changes to guest names and plus ones, as well as juggling the waitlist if our events book out.
It doesn’t sound like much, but if you've ever worked with computers, data, and its processes, you'll know everything always takes longer than you'd think. This job requires the methodical precision of an engineer, and the patience and professionalism of a saint. Qualities which Andrew possesses in far greater quantity than either Dave or I do!
Dave is the master builder, he built pretty much everything you see at TRH. Thus, it makes sense that he is also the maintenance man. There is usually something to fix after every party, from blown light globes and leaky showerheads, to broken beds (black room bed upstairs has been fixed 3 times!) and accidental elbows going through walls.
Someone even broke a toilet once!
And someone broke the bathroom vanity once too!
Heads up people: we know it’s fun to hoist ya girl up onto the vanity, unfortunately however the bathroom cabinetry is simply not robust enough for sex.
We do accept that fixing and/or replacing broken things is part and parcel of hosting parties though.
Can’t expect any less when guests are as vigorous as swingers are!
Dave also often comes up with new ideas to improve the venue.
Currently, he is working on extra storage area in the laundry, which has the staff very excited!
The laundry is where our staff put their stuff on party nights to free up lockers for the guests.
It is a very cramped space as it’s also where the spare supplies live: towels and sheets, condoms, wipes, paper towels, water, soft drink, you name it. It also houses a washing machine and 2 dryers.
On busy party nights, we’ll sometimes be washing and drying a load of towels during the night!
We are very much looking forward to having more space in there next year.
When Dave is not repairing or building something, there’s always the never-ending gardening. The tree in the front yard is always either shedding apples or leaves.
And let’s not forget the constant shopping and re-stocking of TRH consumables. Water, soft drinks, snacks, mentos, and condoms are regular items on the shopping list. Have you ever come out of Costco with a trolley less than $200? We haven’t!
The Rabbit Hole team
In addition to the above, there are of course many jobs that require a team. Andrew and I do our monthly newsletters together. Andrew often lends Dave a few muscles to handle the bigger physical jobs. Or Dave will man the rabbit phone while Andrew is away; woe betide anyone who tries to make a prank call then!
Having staff help us on party nights allows us to take turns having some weekends off, which is necessary to keep us healthy and happy. Andrew has his children on alternate weekends, Dave has a hobby farm where he has a few projects on the go, and I have a FIFO job that often takes me interstate. All 3 of us also enjoy the occasional short holiday away; cycling, snorkelling, wining, dining, bush-walking, and of course sleeping!
Party nights actually begin a couple of hours before the first guest arrives, when the house needs to be warmed up, and pizza needs to be ordered.
The spa covers need to be taken off, the lights, music, and TV screens turned on.
And then we need to get pretty for you too!
For theme parties: the performer, their music, sponsors and prizes, decorations (and then decorating) need to be organised well beforehand.
Last but not least, the job nobody likes to do, cleaning. But it must be done.
If we have all hands on deck (i.e. 4 people), it takes about 4 hours to clean TRH from top to bottom. Cleaning begins immediately after the last guest has gone home, as we empty all the bins and change all the sheets before going to bed.
Tired as we are from a late night, it is still always a delight to hear our cleaner’s cheery hello the next morning! The dirty linen needs to be counted and bagged. Bottles and cans sorted. Glasses washed, dried, and put away. Spa emptied, cleaned, and refilled. Lockers checked and cleaned. All mirrors and glass windows, benchtops, walls, get wiped clean, including condom trays and lube bottles as there are usually sticky handprints and dribbles everywhere! Our vacuum cleaner and mop get a good workout, every inch of floor space is cleaned after every event. It’s a big job!
So there you go, we hope you enjoyed a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes workings of The Rabbit Hole. It is a lot of work, but a lot of fun! However, we can't complain really: what better business can there be than one that trades in fun, and the rewards are pleasure?
Thank you everyone, for coming along with us on this wild ride. Can't believe it's been almost 5 years already! Wherever and whenever you hop on and off the roller coaster, we hope you enjoy your swinging journey!
Can't wait to see what 2024 brings.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Wendee, Dave, and Andrew xxx