WHAT MIGHT I LIKE ABOUT SWINGING?
People may be attracted to the swinging community for a variety of different reasons.
Many couples find the thought of having sex with other people to be very arousing, and may find that swinging becomes a catalyst
for improving their own sex lives and relationship. Some people may feel stifled by repressive societal attitudes towards
sexuality, and may welcome the opportunity to form friendships and a new social network with people of like mind. Others may
simply feel that sex should be a natural possibility in any friendship in which there is mutual attraction, and so appreciate
the relative open-mindedness and pleasure-positivity with which the swinging community views this subject. Althogh the swinging
community is unfortunately not always the best place right now for het-identified men to explore their potential bisexuality,
it is currently a relatively good place for het-identified women to initially explore sex with other women, and this sometimes
plays a role in couples choosing to seek it out.
In the past, the swinging community has been somewhat unaware of or
confused by alternative sexual practices such as BDSM or Tantra. This appears to be changing, and these days you may find
many folks in the swinging community who are knowledgeable about such things (through forms of BDSM much more extreme than
spanking or very light bondage may make people uncomfortable, depending on the club). If you're interested in doing so and
spend enough time meeting different people, you may actually find that today's swinging community is becoming a somewhat fertile
place to meet folks with a variety of sexual topics, which seems at least somewhat indicative of broadening perspectives in
Some women may find the swinging community to be a welcome dose of sanity. Our culture can be quite cruel
to women who have an active interest in sex, often derisively labeling them "sluts" - a term in which stands in
sharp contrast to the less derogarory term for men,"studs". The swinging community may be especially attractive
to these women, who may feel their sex drives and/or sexual assertiveness should be appreciated rather than snickered about
Some people end up learning quite a bit about themselves and their sexualities through swinging. For example,
most folks find that having their partner actively enjoy and appreciate what they are experiencing during sex to be a tremendous
turn-on; this is a realization which may stand in sharp contrast to the attitude that "performance" is all-important.
Swinging can be an opportunity to learn to relax and appreciate sexual pleasure, and may help one view sex more as a source
of pleasure and intimacy and less as a social bargaining chip or ego fuel.
Although this may vary slightly from club
to club, in general the swinging community is quite accepting of a variety of body types, sizes, ages, and shapes. Additionally,
many "on-site" events provide an opportunity to dress sexily or go completely nude, which can be a fun and sensual
experience in and of itself.
WHAT MIGHT I DISLIKE ABOUT SWINGING?
If you are uncomfortable with people being sexually
attracted to you and/or flirting with you, then you might be uncomfortable at swinging events; similarly, if your relationship
with your partner is on shaky ground, you might find seeing him or her flirt or be flirted with to be an uncomfortable experience.
If either of you have hidden agendas concerning finding a permanent "replacement" for each other, you're probably
in for a major emotional disaster. If you and your partner cannot communicate directly about relationships and sex, you're
probably eventually in for a similarly-sized disaster. In general, sex can provoke strong feelings along with its many pleasures;
if you aren't comfortable dealing with emotions, then perhaps it might be better to wait a little while before exploring "the
If you are bothered by seeing people have sex without condoms, then you might want to avoid some of
the larger play areas in many "on-site" swinger's events. Although I have never run into a situation in the swinging
community where my requests to use latex were looked down a-pon in any way, it is certainly true that not all "on-site"
clubs require the use of safer sex precautions. Depending on your experience with sex-positive communities other than swinging,
seeing others not use latex may be unsettling to you. You should know what your own standards are with regard to safer sex,
and be willing to communicate them to new people or couples you are about to have sex with. If your personal safer sex standards
include using barriers for cunnilingus, then you should be prepared to do some explaining as not everyone will be familiar
with this practice.
If you are offended by phobia against bi men, then you should be prepared to either look for a club
that is more open-minded on this particular issue, wait for attitudes in the community to change(which I believe may be hapening
now in some circles), or else attend anyway and make a point of not letting small-minded comments go unchallenged.
you are a single male, you might actually be better off waiting until you are in a suitable relationship before attempting
to become active in swinging-most swing clubs allow few if any single men to attend their events.
GENERAL HINTS FOR ENJOYABLE
In the context of swinging, "couples" need not be married. They should, however, have at least a little
history together and familiar with each others' emotional needs, and be comfortable approaching others as a "couple."
The general rule of thumb is that swinging works best when couples view swinging as an enhancement to their existing sexual
relationship, rather than as a replacement for a failing one.
As one would expect, good communication is critical in
any attempt at swinging as a couple. There are many, many different forms that swinging may take, and whichever one you choose
is fine as long as you and your partner are clear about what you are doing and why. Sex has the potential to be an emotionally-charged
area, and the pleasures that may be found in swinging can generally be reached only when both partners are sensitive to each
others' needs, and put their partner's comfort first. From a more pragmatic point of view, there will always be another party,
another personal ad, another dance, another convention; there may not be another chance to salvage an exploration into swinging
if one partner becomes overwhelmed in "the garden of delights" and forgets to treat his or her primary partner with
sensitivity and respect.
It's important to keep in mind that swinging is primarily a SOCIAL activity. The ordinary social
customs of meeting people and initiating a conversation are really not that different than at any other type of social gathering,
and the process by which acquaintances become close friends is not that different either. The key social traits that tend
to be appreciated in the swinging community are responsibility, friendliness, flirtatiousness, open-mindedness, and most importantly
stability with regard to one's primary relationship.
As is the case with almost all human social endeavors, if you already
know people in a particular community you'll probably be happier if you attend your first few events with these people so
they can introduce you to others. Waiting a little while and watching how others behave is also a good idea, as it is in almost
every new social situation. Common courtesy, of course, is as welcome in the swinging community as it is in any other community;
we're all just people, after all.
There are several different styles of swinging which you may see in the swinging community.
Some people may prefer not to be around when their partner is having sex with someone else ("closed swinging"),
while others may insist on it ("open swinging"). The term "soft swinging" refers to trading partners just
for the purposes of heavy petting and then switching back to one's primary partner for any actual sex. It might be valuable
for you to think about whether there are any potential situations that you feel you would be more or less comfortable in,
and discuss these with your partner.
Although not all couples find it necessary to do this, some couples feel more comfortable
having social "codes" that only the two of them know. Examples might be discreet phrases or gestures which mean
a) one of you is attracted to the people or person he or she is talking to and wants to know if you are interested in swinging
with them, b) a reply to the above, either affirmatively or negatively, and c) one of you is not having a good time and wants
to get away from things for a while.
At "off-site" events such as socials/dances, it's common for people to
dress up or wear fairly sexy clothing. Dress at "on-site" events tends to be more casual, since nudity is a common
outcome of the evening for many. It's also a good idea to bring something like a robe or cover-up so you don't have to put
all your clothes back on after sex, and to avoid wearing lots of jewelry that might get lost. If there's a dress theme for
a particular event, go with the theme.
By the way, it is not necessary to actually have sex with other people to have
a good time in the swinging community. "Off-site" activities such as socials can provide a wonderful opportunity
to flirt and be flirted with in a non-threatening yet sexually-charged atmosphere, which can be fun in and of itself. "On-site"
activities can provide an opportunity to appreciate the sights and sounds of sex as an enchancement to sex with your primary
partner, whether you two decide to have sex at the party or after the party.
ENJOYING HOUSE PARTIES AND OTHER "ON-SITE"
Since you may have the opportunity to get physically close with one or more folks during the course of the evening,
its probably a good idea to take a shower, brush your teeth, and (if necessary) shave before showing up. If you like to use
your fingers inside your partners as part of sex, don't forget to clip your fingernails short.
Even if you're regular,
it's usually polite to make a party reservation rather than just "dropping in", and to your reservation if you can't
keep it. For parties in peoples' homes, it's usually polite to ask if there is anything you can bring (e.g. chips or beverages).
Arrive on time, and if you are part of a couple be sure you arrive together as a couple.
Generally the host and/or hostess
will fill new couples in about party rules and ettiquette, often as part of an orientation to their club. The hot tub, if
there is one, is a good place to get involved in friendly conversations; most folks at swinging events are more than happy
to answer questions and talk about their experience of the lifestyle.
It's a good idea for couples to stick together
at the party unless they both agree that they'd like to mingle or play separately for a while; if one partner just wanders
off, the other may feel abandoned or jealous. If you DO need to have a serious relationship discussion or argument with your
partner, however, it's considered polite to do so away from the party in a more private area. In general, if a bedroom or
other space is being used for sex it's considered impolite to carry on loud conversations in it that might distract others.
The tradition at some on-premises clubs and party houses is for one of the larger rooms to be for the "group scene."
Depending on the club some rules of etiquette may be slightly relaxed here; it might be assumed OK for someone to touch you
unless or until you say no. Again, this completely depends on the club. Opening closed doors to bedroom areas and then just
staring at whatever is going on is usually considered pretty rude, and men will have more fun in ANY of the party's play areas
if their female partner is with them (some clubs actually have rules about men going into the"group scene" area
without their female partner). If at some point during the evening you decide to wash up, be careful not to use somebody else's
towel or washcloth on your eyes or genitals (this should be common sense).
Using alcohol to excess is a poor idea, especially
if you or your partner are just getting into swinging. Many non-swingers have their first quasi-swinging experiences when
thery are heavily intoxicated, and then regret what they did the next day or blame the alcohol for what they freely chose
to do; try to make your experience different from this.
But without question, the most important suggestion I can offer
is to always keep track of where you're at, and only do what you want to do. If you don't want to swing with someone, just
say no tactfully and courteously. You always have the right to say no to anything, and if someone doesn't take no for an answer
you should tell the party host immediately. In swinging,sometimes you will be told, "No, thank you." When this happens,
just accept it graciously and don't inquire as to "Why not?"
DEALING WITH JEALOUSY
"The swing community
has noticed another prevalent dynamic in couples where one partner, more often not the man, has more enthusiasm than the other.
He has had terrific fantasies about freewheeling sex and plenty of it, and he finally convinces his initially reluctant partner
to give swinging a try. When they get to the party, she has a great time and is high demand, while he thinks the party's a
dud....Before you pack up your sexy outfit and fistful of condoms, take some time to consider and negotiate how you will deal
with the chagrin of less popular partner if such a dismaying event happens to you."
In other words, some jealousy
may spring from insecurity: if I'm worried that I'm valuable enough to keep my primary partner's interest and love, or that
fewer people will be interested in playing with me than with my primary partner, I may be more apt to get jealous. For the
latter case, some of these fears may be alleviated by choosing, at least initially, to only swing together as a couple; this
way neither partner can be left out sometimes jealousy may spring from feelings of scarcity rather than feelings of insecurity;
the fear is that "there's only so much love and so much pleasure and so much intimcy to go around." With this in
mind , I'd like to quote from the NASCA Guide to swinging,
"The myth of the scarcity of love is the popular belief
that 'love is scarce,' which encourages hoarding, in turn , created the very scarcity that was feared to begin with. The myth's
premises are that each of us has a very limited amount of love to give, spend, or sell; that if this is divided among several
people, each will get less; that love can be saved; and that in order to be valuable, true love must be exclusive."
To end this section on a more practical note, many couples find that the secrets to dealing with jealousy tend to revolve
around good communication, keeping agreements, reassuring each other as to your love and commitment before and after playing
with someone new, and listening to each others emotional concerns and taking them seriously whenever they arise. If jealousy
becomes an issue for you and your partner, you might try working on some or all of these things.