In a review of research on nonexclusive marital relationships, it was noted that swinging had received considerable attention in the 1970s and reported that an estimated 2 percent of the American population had participated. Most studies of active swingers emphasized overcoming initial anxieties and difficulties coping with strains to maintain the lifestyle successfully, but Denfeld also studied couples who had dropped out of swinging and entered counseling (1974). “The problems such as jealousy, guilt, emotional attachments, boredom and perceived threats to the marriage were common reasons for dropping out of swinging.
Unfortunately, there has been no research on identifying the factors that differentiate couples who are satisfied with swinging form those who are not” (Rouse, 2002). The people we may call swingers are somewhat younger on the average than the mainstreamers, and many of them have brothers and sisters or parents who are mainstreamers. In due course, some of them will become mainstreamers, because it is hard to be a swinger when one gets older. However, some remain swingers longer than others, and many swingers later take another road than the mainstreamer one (Hannerz, 1969).
Swingers are usually somewhere between the late teens and the middle thirties in age. This means that many of them have not yet married and started families on their own, so that familial obligations would naturally be less demanding in terms of time, money and emotional investments. But there are many swingers who are married and have children and who even so are not family-oriented. Of course, married men are more able to take part in the swinger life than are married women, as they can leave children and household affairs more readily in the hands of their spouses.
However, some women manage to continue as swingers by leaving young children with the grandparents. Also, quite a few marriages are broken as one or both spouses prefer to continue the swinger’s life (Hannerz, 1969). Swingers typically spend relatively little of their free time just sitting around at home alone or with the family. Weekday nights and particularly weekends are often spent going visiting, whether one travels alone or in the company of a few friends.
The spontaneous gatherings are not complete without gin, whiskey or beer and the talk involves joking, banter, reminiscences of past shared experiences, and exchanges about the trivia of the day such as football results, forecasts of coming boxing bouts and local grapevine items (Hannerz, 1969). It is true that many women get involved with swinging because their male partner encourages them. They often do it to explore their own bisexual desires. By being exposed to a sexually charged environment, they are encouraged to be more experimental and let go of the cultural conditioning that has made them deny their own desires.
This may be why swingers often say that men get women into swinging, but it is the women who keep them in it (Taylor, 2007). Couples who are not in a Swinging Lifestyle will find it unimaginable to allow his or her partner to engage in recreational sex with another person, but for swingers it is considered a highly acceptable form of social recreation. Swinging couples have a strong enough relationship to allow the sexual pleasure of his or her partner, and take satisfaction from that pleasure instead of jealousy and concern. Many couples would benefit from embracing the relationship ideas from the Swinging Lifestyle.
Swingers understand that it’s perfectly natural for their partner to be physically attracted to someone else and that it’s ok to share one another sexually without threatening their love for each other. They do not confuse love with lust as many couples do. The Swinging Lifestyle can be a new adventure that can actually bring a couple much closer together (Taylor, 2007). Couples who engage in the Swinging Lifestyle experience that in swinging is less time consuming and emotionally demanding than an affair. Moreover, it offers sexual variety and it is sexually educative.
Swinging is honest and democratic, since both partners are involved. It is less dangerous with regard to losing a spouse than infidelity. Swinging, however, is not without its drawbacks. Swinging may result to lack of emotional closeness, which in return may inhibit enjoyment and/or performance. There is also denial of ego satisfaction, since the partner was obtained by being available rather than charm. A worried air may also occur since the spouse’s partner may be sexier and better looking and this may inhibit ability and enjoyment of the sex act.
Philosophy involves having an affair only once with each new partner, therefore, there is an ongoing search for new partners can be fatiguing. Moreover, there is subliminal fear that swinging can lead to venereal diseases (Cargan, 2007). For those with an open mind swinging is all about having fun as a couple. Moreover, it’s a way for a couple to expand their horizons by agreeing that sexual encounters outside and inside the relationships are permissible. It is a way for a couple to be a couple while allowing and accepting individual desires and needs. Couples who swing explore their sexuality and fantasies.
These couples can break the chains of jealousy and experience a more passionate and fulfilling relationship, as well as connecting on a deeper spiritual level. Swinging can give them the opportunity to grow as a couple, and as individuals (Bellemeade, 2003).
References Bancroft, J. (2002). Human Sexuality and Its Problems. Elsevier Science Limited. Bellemeade, K. (2003). Swinging for Beginners. New Tradition Books. Breedlove, W. and J. Breedlove. (1984). Swap Clubs. Los Angeles: Sherbourne. Cargan, L. (2007). Being Single on Noah’s Ark. United Kingdom: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc.