Jen, 31, Dave, 33, and Amanda, 30

Is this your first Renaissance festival?
D: Not hardly. I've been coming since 1998. I was dating a girl who was into it. She used to work at the leather mask place, and she probably still works here, but I don't see her anymore.
A: Hah. Yeah, I've been many times. I worked here last time and I've been coming for at least seven or eight years myself.
J: Me, maybe three years. But I'm not from the area. I live here now, but I didn't grow up here like these guys.

When you date someone who's into the Renaissance scene, does that play into your romantic or sexual life?
D: No, not at all. The costumes stay at the festival. I mostly dress up because I feel kind of dumb when I'm walking around in regular clothes here.
A: I mean, we buy each other trinkets — all the jewelry he has on is mine or I bought it for him here. It's not sex-related... but it's also nice to know that I'm not wearing a bra, so he could sneak anything in if he wanted to, you know? But there's not a lot of cross-over.
D: I mean, everyone's a Renny when they're naked, I suppose, right?

Interesting comment. So, the Renaissance festival isn't a turn-on for you?
D: I mean, there's a lot of chicks with their boobs out. There's that. But... no.

I've heard a lot of people say that there's an underground "scene" here, but I'm not getting much concrete information.
A: Oh, I'm sure there is.
D: Yeah, there definitely is, but it's not like a secret underground S&M scene type thing. It's more like people who know each other who hang out after hours. It's there, but it's not grotesque.
J: If you're single here, you can definitely pull trim if you try at all. You just have to try.
A: I know that when I was single coming here, it was make out with all the guys. Everybody would buy me all the drinks, and I would make out with all the guys, and it was awesome.
D: Everybody who works here, they like to act like it's all a big sex joke. Hawking their wares, it's all innuendo. But I haven't seen it leave the park that much. We're into this thing, it's fun, but we're definitely not reenacting anything.
A: We're definitely not historically accurate.

So, you two are married? How did you meet each other?
A: Mutual friends, actually. Clubbing, probably. Yeah, he came up to me and said, "We've never been on a date before. We should do that." And I said okay. Ballsy on his part.

Was it love at first sight for either of you?
D: No, it was like dating for a while at first sight. We've been married three and a half years and together for eight and a half.
A: We didn't move in until we'd been together for almost three years, and then he proposed on our five-year anniversary, which was extremely romantic. He took me to Disney World for my first time and proposed to me on the lawn of the rose garden in front of Cinderella's castle while Tinkerbell flew over... it was ridiculous! Perfect. Storybook proposal right there. And then we got married in our backyard. Very nice.

What would your advice be for anyone, Renny or not, who's looking for love or a long-term partnership?
A: Communicate. If something bothers you, don't let it fester. Tell them. That has been the biggest thing. I once read an advice book that a horrible person told me to read, but I read it and it turned out to be full of truth. One of the main things that I took away was communicate, communicate, communicate. Also: don't be afraid of penises. That's the other thing I would tell all the ladies. Just do it: let the guy know that this is a good thing. If it's making the guy happy, just take care of him and he'll take care of you. That would be my advice. And I think that's kept us together for as long as we've been together. We both had no longer than four-month relationships before, and he was married before me. So, communicate, and don't let the issues build up, and don't ignore the penis.

What about you, Jen? Are you single or married? Any advice?
J: I'm married. He's just overseas right now. I would say: be yourself and compromise.

That seems a little contradictory.
J: If you're going to make a partnership with someone, you have to understand that you're in it with them, and you both have to find a way to make it work.
D: I don't have any advice. I just don't really try that hard so…
A: Hah. We've had a lot of back-and-forth conversations. I feel like writing it down or emailing it to each other helps you get your thoughts out more. And then you can go back and read it and understand, "Yes, that's what I wanted to say," instead of heat of the moment, pissed off... but we very rarely fight. If we fight, we work it out. So, communication.

What about keeping a long-term relationship fresh and exciting sexually?
D: Do it a lot.
A: There are always new toys out there. And I was really happy that our third anniversary was leather. Just throwing that out there, ladies, gentlemen, everybody: third year is leather. Make it to year three and get some leather stuff!
D: Finding new stuff to do and fun people to hang out with. That's all it is.
A: Hang out with good-looking people and then be like, "I love you even more because I'm with you and not these other people." Tell your partner that you love them. Say it. Even if they know it, say it. And don't be scared of oral sex, just do it. I'm just saying, just do it.
D: Learn to suppress your gag reflex.
A: If you need the person to shower first, whatever you need, do it. But, don't be scared. Both sides. Oral sex keeps the love alive.

NEXT: "I was the costume mistress and he was tech..."


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