Most of us have heard of swinging, but few outside the swinging scene actually know for sure what goes on – and why it’s so popular. The social, cultural and media references to swinging often conjure up thoughts of a drab buffet to one side of a partying 70s lounge scene, a goldfish bowl filled with car keys acting as the centrepiece on top of the Pledge-polished sideboard.
Forget slut shaming and housewife spankings over the hostess trolley, it’s almost 2014 and Britain has become a Swinger Nation. Sexual education, awareness and confidence have now happily reached a point where consenting adults can decide, with full possession of the facts, to firstly dabble in then fully enjoy this alternative way for couples to play.
What is swinging
Swinging is what was once – in a very sexist culture – known as wife swapping or partner swapping. However, couples do not need to be legally married to be in a committed relationship, nor are sexual activities the sole control of the man in the relationship. Swinging isn’t limited to heterosexual couples either.
Put pretty simply: swinging is the act of engaging in, and enjoying consensual sex and sexual activities with a person, or people other than your partner. Your partner may be present at the time or they may not. Having sexual fun with only your own partner, but with others present, is known as soft swapping, or soft swinging. Sexual intercourse with someone outside the relationship is known as full swap, or hard swinging.
Swinging is quite misunderstood by those not involved with the scene. It is often assumed that swingers must be bored with their own partner, or desperate for sex. After all, people do love their misconceptions about the sexual orientations and preferences of others!
Swinging is a consensual activity undertaken by fully aware adults. It is most often a sign of a strong relationship, and swinging is part of a healthy and happy life together. Most adults enjoy sex and think about it a great deal of the time. Many in the swinger community enjoy an inner confidence and freedom in their lifestyle which many outside of it would no doubt envy.
Of course, swinging is not for everyone. Like any sexual activity, consent from both partners is of the utmost importance. No-one should feel forced into doing anything they really don’t want to do. Or feel like they can’t change their mind or stop the activity at any time, once it has begun.
How can swinging improve your relationship?
Once you reach a point in your relationship where you think you’d like to try swinging, and your partner agrees, you will have had time to reflect on your relationship and related emotions. Having sex with someone outside your relationship is a big step for most in monogamous relationships, and the issue of your partner having sex with someone other than you is a personal matter which you must give full and serious thought to.
Happily, many find that they are able to separate sex and emotion. This leads to a fuller, more active sex life for many in the swinging community. Having sex with other people can teach you new skills in the bedroom department and revitalise your sexual vocabulary, which your partner is sure to benefit from once you have sex together once again.
The sense of trust and achievement once you or your partner has had sex with a person outside the relationship will fill you with pride and love. Being sure to keep the lines of communication open, and trusting one another to mention as soon as any doubts or discomfort arise, will ensure that only happiness and fulfilment ensue.
Dealing with trust issues and jealousy
Obstacles that arise while journeying through the swinging scene are most commonly related to trust issues and jealousy. Even if you have fully discussed both of your desires and intentions before sex with others takes place, relationship problems and emotional discomfort can still occur.
It is important that you keep talking to your partner about your feelings, as well as being receptive to and compassionate about the feelings they have on the whole swinging subject.
If one of you is enjoying the sex and liberation that swinging brings, but the other feels left out, insecure and jealous, it isn’t kind or loving to continue for selfish reasons anyway. Plus, having sex with someone outside your relationship without your partner’s consent isn’t swinging, it’s being unfaithful.
Broach any confidence, trust and jealousy issues as they arise and deal with them sensitively and lovingly. Whether you decide to get involved with, or remain in the swinging community will be down to each couples’ experiences and choice, bearing in mind the importance and future of your relationship.
Remember that at the heart of your relationship should be total respect for your partner and trust in them. Sexual gratification needs to be secondary to the emotional joy you bring to each other.
The final word
For those who do take that next step in their relationship and branch out into sex with other people, swinging can herald a wonderful new era of enlightenment and increased trust in and love for their own partner.
Swingers often find that communication with their partner generally becomes more relaxed and honest, making discussing sexual fantasies fun and easy. The knowledge that sex is not the only factor holding you and your partner together in a relationship will increase your confidence as a valued and valuable person, boosting your morale and letting you enjoy being more in love with your partner than ever before.
– Cara Sutra