Maybe you were surprised when your best friend confided she and her husband have been thinking about going to a swingers’ meet up… or you started seeing articles about cruise ships designed for swingers… then you wondered just how big swinging really is. We’re here to help you understand this hot topic and why today more couples have new ideas about monogamy and boundaries in relationships – and why it’s not for everyone.
First lets get the definitions straight: monogamy is defined as having a sexual relationship with only one partner; polyamory involves having more than one committed sexual or loving relationship at the same time with the consent of all involved; while swinging is generally defined as having sex with others as a recreational or social activity.
Swinging, which is primarily a Western phenomenon, has probably been around since the beginning of man and womankind and began to be formalized in the 16th century. By the 1960s and ‘70s free love was in the air and in 2005, researchers at the famous Kinsey Institute estimated that one in three married couples had experience with swinging. Fast forward to 2017: thanks to the Internet it is easier to connect with like-minded sexual partners and that percentage is likely to be higher.
Ok, now you know what swinging is – and you may have discovered more couples are trying it than you suspected – but exactly how does it work? And who is doing what to whom?
Swingers come in all ages and swing for all kinds of reasons. Twenty-and thirty year olds, who may have been hooking up for casual sex for years, are marrying later and many are taking these habits into marriage. And there are the older, monogamous couples looking to spice up their sex lives that agree to give swinging a try. Whatever their reason, swingers of all ages and sexual preferences find it relatively easy to find one another.
Swinging meet-ups can take place at organized clubs or informally at hotels, resorts, and in homes – and they can be spontaneous or planned. The International Swingers Community even has its own flag, and websites for swingers say they to have hundreds of thousands of members. Plus there are nude beaches catering to swingers, erotic vacations and swingers’ resorts. (A quick Google search will display a swinging experience for just about every taste and budget.)
There are even swingers’ cruises, where all kinds of adult entertainment is available, including other partners and a room filled with beds for couples who are into group sex. Specialty travel agents like TheSwingerCruise.com and DreamPleasureTours.com help couples find the experiences they are comfortable with, and CouplesCruise.com and BlissCruise.com offer a variety of cruise experiences that may include seminars on sex toys or coping with jealousy to classes on bondage, along with regular cruise activities such as zip lining and comedy nights.
But as author Sandra LaMorgese Ph.D., a holistic practitioner, points out in her article on the Huffington Post, “…everyone loves and enjoys sex in their own unique ways. (Couples) need to discuss at length where each of your boundaries are and establish ground rules about what is acceptable and what goes over the line for each of you.”