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Having Marriage Problems? Maybe It’s Time to Swing…

by Russell Smith

A 2005 study conducted by the Kinsey Institute, leading sex, gender, and reproduction research institute located at Indiana University, revealed that 2-4% of married couples in North America – that’s about 4 million people – are swingers. As of 2012, some experts have concluded that as many as 15 million Americans engage in swinging on a regular basis.

No, we’re not talking about people who go swinging at the park (although I guess they could). Swingers, in this sense, are either single individuals or people in committed relationships who engage in sex (or activities of a sexual nature) with others as a recreational or social activity. Fundamentally, swinging is most different from regular relationships because it isn’t monogamous, but the differences go deeper than that.

So why has swinging become so popular, how is it different from cheating, and should you do it?

Dart Swinger

The History of Swinging

Swinging has occurred for centuries. Although it may not have gone by the same name, some of the first documented cases of swinging in the US occurred during World War II. Then, U.S. Air Force pilots, who had high mortality rates during the war, would make pacts with other men so that their wives would have companions if they died or were gone for long periods of time. This companionship was both emotional and sexual in nature, and similar cases popped up after the Korean War.

At this point, swinging had migrated into the suburbs and eventually caught the attention of the media who subsequently coined the term “wife swapping.” A group of Californians established the Sexual Freedom League in 1963, the first so-called swinging club in the United States, and before long the North American Swing Club Association was established to create a wider network of swingers. Ultimately, swinging began in the military and ended up as a growing component of American culture.

Swinging Today

Today, the act of swinging has been propagated by the Internet, where online swingers’ communities are becoming more common. These sites have hundreds of thousands of members, all waiting to swing with each other. But the growing presence of these sites brings to light several issues associated with swinging. Do these sites make swinging just another way to hook up with strangers? If there was ever any appeal to swinging, it was that it occurred on an intimate level between couples or individuals who knew each other. But when strangers are simply hooking up to have sex, doesn’t that take away some of its value?

Swing chair

Well, not according to some swingers; they say that swinging is only about sex and nothing more. In many cases, swinging couples maintain a normal emotional relationship with their spouse but choose to have sex with other people. The difference between swinging and cheating is that swingers are cognizant of any encounters that occur with their partners. The average human response to a partner sleeping with somebody else varies by case, but some swingers actually have high levels of happiness in their relationships. Essentially, there are happy swinging couples and happy monogamous couples; it just depends on the values of those in the relationship.

The Takeaway

Ultimately, there is no doubt about the fact that swinging challenges the conventional definition of a relationship. The ability of humans to transcend their moral hesitations for the sake of sexual enjoyment is undecided. Is swinging just a selfish excuse for fulfilling your sexual desires, or is it the future of the marriage?

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Helga September 26, 2013 - 4:43 am

We had friends that allso wanted to try swinging in marriage, his wife (my husband and she work together at one company) wanted us to be their partners as for the relationship she had with my husband and felt save with him. I at first didnt want to, refused 2 times, because I was not so into her husband, but he started calling,smse, talking the talk,dancing together. I spoke to him told him how hurt a person can get to have sex with someone els. Eventually we did it, as for my husband and friends wife was awesome because of the relationship that they had was so strong and we didn’t realize it until that night. Was such a shock to realize my friend acctually was deep into my husband, For me and her husband was such a dissapointment, humiliation. Now worst part my son and their daughter is involved, we have to keep quiete and go on as nothing happend. Swinging cost my marriage, friendship, now rejection, and living in emotion ‘hell’ for giving into something that should not have happend. If only I could turn back the clock. Please dont do it. Not worth the pain, rejection, humiliation.

jan July 12, 2013 - 7:25 pm

There are always the ill educated who are not only judgemental but dictatorial about life and aspects of life, often the most judgemental are actively involved in the actions they condemn so roundly. South African women are repressed, but when they throw off the shackles they are as adventurous as they are meant to be. Regrettably too many women are unaware of their physiology and anatomy and, being indulgent, allow themselves to fatten up, the result being that that so important clitoris can never be reached, the result is they are “off sex”. If only they would read more than Oprah they would become aware that a good orgasm is very advantageous for health and multiple partners are the way to achieve that. After all when they go to the supermarket they don’t take the first chicken, unless they are naive.

Nectarino July 12, 2013 - 12:26 am

My parents were “swingers” but it was really a case of my father pressuring my mother into it; it was “swinging” not “cheating” as far as he was concerned. My mother hated it, rarely engaged any other partners and resented my father for his “cheating”. Maybe this skews my perspective on the issue but just the same my husband & I started having an open relationship about a year ago & have been stronger as a couple since moving into the “swingers” field. Having an open relationship has been the perfect answer for us.

Swinging is NOT for everyone! I’ve seen people really have a bad time with it! But I believe that most of the “negative” stuff can be avoided by laying some ground rules and being really honest, most importantly with yourself. You need to be really dedicated to each other no matter what- Its not unlike conventional relationships, its just that sometimes, we invite others into our relationship, instead of keeping them out.

Expat/Nomad March 27, 2013 - 1:41 am

My wife and I have and open marriage and have shared partners without any problems. Many of our past problems were related to fulfilling our sexual desires without honesty and openness. Since we’ve chosen our new lifestyle, it has made us more honest and open about our sexuality without hurting each other.

This lifestyle is not for everyone and carries risks, but far less risk than our previous lifestyles in which wanted things very badly and like most humans could only hide our urges so long before acting on them and feeling a great amount of shame. It was not until we both realized what we wanted and came to an agreement with a structured set of rules to protect our emotions that we have enjoyed a fabulous marriage.

jan July 12, 2013 - 7:27 pm

if you would care to meet at the mugg and bean cavendish or constantia village we could arrange an accommodation

jonny January 22, 2013 - 12:28 am

Swinging is not the future of marriage.
Swinging makes the future of a marriage become divorce.
Swinging is just a cute or exciting sounding word that gets things from better to worse a whole lot quicker than you’d hope for.
Read the vows.
Swinging isn’t marriage. It’s one of the enemies of marriage.

Mustangchick January 10, 2013 - 1:21 pm

I knew several couples who decided this would perk up their marriages/relationships. My hubby and I did not join but were aware of the meetings and escapades. All was fine in the beginning,the excitement and newness of it all. Then a year or so into it the problems began. One spouse wanted to swap with another couple too often, then he saw the other wife without the spouses and one family, well, the teenage kids found out what mom and dad did as a hobby. Long story short, not one marriage survived, families were destroyed, kids lost respect for their parents and things just got really ugly. We no longer speak to the other couples because the drama was just too much. Not one person involved saw this coming, but we did from a distance. All were educated, nice people who thought they could handle the jealousy and emotions that come into play when having sex. I ran into one of the wives involved and she asked me if we were still married. I said yes, she said she would still be with her ex if they didn’t sleep with the neighbors. So sad. Very Weird.

[email protected] April 15, 2013 - 2:52 pm

For those who think that sex is a sport and marriage is just a convenience then go right ahead. I will keep on enjoying the freedom of selflessly sharing everything with wifey within the safe boundry of our marriage!

betty May 10, 2013 - 8:43 pm

The Romans were having sex with each other all over the place. It seemed to work for them. They had paintings on all their walls of their sexual activity with their partners, their friends, often having sex in front of their slaves. Everyone was at it. Their whole approach was open, it was not until Christianity came along that we put rules on it and sex changed. We seem to have more problems now than in Roman Times.

Pentoth June 5, 2013 - 5:52 pm

I hate to point out that you are speaking about Rome just before it fell. Largely in fact due to it’s decadent behaviour. It wasn’t always like that.

Jason July 16, 2013 - 9:28 pm

I have been in swinging with my wife for 15 years and I have met hundreds of couples over the years and none of them divorced except two couples out of hundreds that didn’t follow the below guidelines. My experience is that marriages in swinging relationships are much more solid and last much longer than in monogamous marriages. The divorce rate is much much lower for swingers than monogamous couples. Those couples you are referring to apparently didn’t understand how to swing. These are the rules:
1. You don’t swing with people you know. Not neighbors, not friends, not people you work with. It is to personal. The only sexual partner that should know you that well is your spouse.
2. You don’t build bonding relationships outside of swinging other than the fun you have with people while swinging. In other words, it is ok to go to swinging events together but you don’t do non swinging activities together that normal friends would do. This causes bonding and it is risky to bond with sexual partners other than your spouse. Keep your friends and you swinging friends separate.
3. You never swing separately. For example, you don’t associate or play with other swingers unless you all are in the same room together. When you swing, you don’t even go to separate bedrooms.

This may sound restrictive but it is a lot less restrictive than traditional marriages. People need to swing for the right reasons which is to enhance the sex life of your marriage or relationship. Swinging is about sex. It isn’t about finding relationships and bonding with other people’s spouses. That is why they divorced.

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