The Art of Swinging
What is it? Swinging has formally been defined as “engaging in sexual activity with someone other than one’s spouse/primary partner, with the full knowledge and consent of that spouse/primary partner” (Friend, Pearlmutter & McGinley, 1989), and “recreational social-sexual sharing among consenting adults” (McGinley, North American Swing Club Association Membership Guide, 1980). So, what does that mean in practical terms? It means that married couples and those people in committed and casual relationships are engaging in social-sexual activity with people outside their relationship. It is different from cheating, however, because everyone involved knows what is going on. In other words, a couple In a relationship has openly discussed and agreed that such social-sexual interaction is ok. It is primarily an activity of couples, but the marital status is rarely of importance.
How does it work? There are many forms of social/sexual interaction. Some would fall into the classification of swinging, others would not. A single person who dates several people individually, whether sexual activity is occurring or not, would not be engaging in swinging unless the dates are for organized swing activities. A person who is married or otherwise committed to a relationship doing the same thing with the full knowledge and consent of his/her partner, could be considered engaging in swinging. We say “could” because this is a borderline activity as far as many swingers are concerned. They see both partners being involved as the thing that makes it swinging.
Getting together with others People interested in getting together with others for swinging activities can do so in several ways. They can bring up the subject with their current friends/acquaintances, and see how they react. A positive reception could lead to a swinging encounter. Many people see this as risky, and choose a socially safer method.
Advertising Placing an advertisement is one way of meeting others. An ad can be placed in the personal section of the local paper or in a publication specifically for swingers. Swingers’ publications take the form of magazines and newspapers (sometimes referred to as “rag sheets”). They can be bought in adult bookstores and, in many cities, in street vending racks. Each publication has its own system for placing and answering ads, so follow the directions given in the one(s) you choose.
Telephone and Computer Services There are several telephone, voice-mail (such as The Lifestyles Network) and computer systems across the country that specialize in helping swingers contact each other. To find out about these, consult your local adult bookstore operator, look for advertisements in adult publications, or refer to the listings In the International Directory (of) Swing Clubs And Publications published by NASCA, Inc.
Organized Activities – Off-Premise At off-premise events, no space is provided for engaging in sexual activity. In other words, those who wish to go further than strictly social interaction must find someplace else to do so. off-premise activities take three forms:
- Socials put on by local swing organizations;
- Bars/discos that cater to people interested in swinging; and
- Swing or lifestyle associations/discussion groups.
Socials are usually held at hotels. In this way, rooms are easily acquired if people choose to swing. Bars/discos are just meeting places. They may or may not be conveniently located to hotels/motels or other places where sexual activity can safely take place. Associations/discussion groups are usually organized educational functions. They may be in the format of conventions or people gathering in a home to discuss issues in swinging. Each of these may admit couples and singles or couples only.
Organized Activities – On-Premise At on-premise events, space is provided for engaging in sexual activity. In other words, those who wish to go further than strictly social interaction may do so there. on-premise activities usually take place at party houses. Party houses may be private membership or open to the public. They may admit couples and singles but usually are for couples only.
Private Parties Private parties are swing parties put on by individuals. They are usually held in private homes and can be attended by invitation only. Most are for couples only, but some may invite singles as well.
Activities At off-premise events there may be food (from a buffet snack table to a sit-down dinner), drink (bring your own bottle or a cash bar), and dancing (to a juke box, disco or to a live band).
On-premise events may offer the same array of food, drink and dancing. Additionally, space for engaging in sexual activity is provided. This may take any form from private rooms with one bed to open areas with mats on the floor.
Sexual The actual sexual activity engaged in by swingers can be as varied as the people involved. Everything, however, is ALWAYS consensual. Who swings with whom, where and when, is also agreed upon individually by those involved. There are a few standard arrangements however, that can be seen at most parties. They are:
- Threesomes: Three people, two of one gender and one of the other. In this situation, all three people may interact with each other (as is fairly common when the threesome is two women and one man), or two of the people – usually of the same gender – may be interacting only with the third (as is common when the threesome is two men and one woman). Couple-to-couple. one couple pairing up with another couple. They may exchange partners and go to separate areas to engage in sexual activity (called closed swinging as the primary partners are not In the same area). They may exchange partners but go to the same area to engage In sexual activity (called open swinging since the primary partners are in the same area). or they may all participate together (one form of group sex).
- Groups: This is when there is four or more people In the same sexual Interaction. It may be two couples, as described above, or any gender and relationship configuration involving both sexes, of four or more people.
- Bisexuality: People of the same gender sexually interacting. This Is fairly common among women – though not ALL women by any means. Bisexuality among men, however, is rare in swinging.
- Petting: Caressive touching, sexual fondling, kissing and oral sex Is commonly seen among opposite genders.
- Voyeurism: Watching others who are involved In sexual activity. Voyeurism may be acceptable in some situations (in open areas, as example) but not In others (the private areas, as example).
- “Other cultures.” English Culture (canning or spanking), bondage, sado/masochism and watersports (urination) are fairly uncommon, even shunned, at most swing parties. There are groups/party houses who cater to these activities, however.
Social Aspects of Swinging Swinging Is a social activity. Whether attending a party, meeting with another couple privately, or engaging with a single person for a threesome, the participants talk with one another, eat, drink and laugh – all with the purpose of becoming acquainted In order to sexually enjoy one another. Sexual activity may or may not follow however. Many swingers have swinging friends they have known for months, even years, that they have not been sexually Involved with. Private clubs and party houses offer a place to gather to swing. The environment Is meant to be one of social warmth and belonging. It Is pleasurable to meet new people, friends and acquaintances at a party. Pleasant memories come from lounging, perhaps partially dressed or nude, In a group around the fireplace, talking, listening to music, laughing and warming up to another. This may happen In a hot tub, Jacuzzi or pool as well. When these social experiences are complimented by enjoyable sexual experience the appeal of swinging is understood. Though some couples who swing have open marriages and have swinging dates apart, the majority of couples do not date separately. They see swinging as an activity/lifestyle to enjoy together, as a part of their relationship. The social involvement of swinging often extends into the business world as swingers trade and do business with people they have met through swinging. These people feel an understanding and trust exists between them.
Nudity and Dress. The common attire at an off-premise activity is dressy, often sexy. The common attire for an on-premise swing party may be dress or casual, but with the expectation of partial or full nudity. At some clubs and private parties nudity is the general rule, but at others may be confined to certain areas such as the swing areas (bedrooms), pool and spa. It is common for participants to take lingerie, a robe or other slip-on attire to the party.
Etiquette As in any social activity, there are expected rules of conduct in swinging. Following the rules is an effective way to make yourself welcome within the swinging community. Some general rules are:
- Make a reservation. Let your hosts (be it a party house or private party) know that you are coming. If you find you can’t go after having made a reservation, call back and cancel. It makes it a lot easier to plan the proper amount of food and keep track of who hasn’t arrived yet when the hosts know how many guests to expect.
- Arrive on time unless other arrangements have been made. It isn’t fashionable to be late to a swing party. If you will be late, call.
- Arrive and leave a party as a couple, unless other arrangements have been made beforehand with the hosts. It is frowned upon by most hosts and other swingers at a party when a partner, usually the woman, departs, leaving her mate or date at the party as a single.
- Follow parking instructions. Your hosts know the best ways to be on good terms with neighbors. Breach of parking arrange-meets is a good way to set neighbors against the party.
- Attractive but casual party clothes are usually best. H your attending an on-premise party, take a robe, negligee or other slip-on. You may find it more comfortable as the evening continues. Keep money, jewelry and other valuables at a minimum. if they are lost, it’s a problem for you and an embarrassment to your hosts.
- Good grooming is a plus for you and swinging. Be aware of your body and take care of it. Few things kill ardor more quickly than body order. Be aware also of your kisses tasting of cigarettes or liquor.
- A Good mental attitude and emotional health will make you popular In the swinging community. (it will also be a plus in your daily life.) No one appreciates the negative person with nothing good to say about the party, other persons or swinging. The man or woman with the smile, ready laugh and obvious Interest in others is the person others like to be around.
- Everyone has the right of refusal. You shouldn’t swing with a person unless you want to, and they don’t have to swing with you. Be honest with yourself regarding your feelings and desires, and expect that others will do the same. only ask those you want to say “yes.” If they say “no,” take it graciously and don’t try to coax, pressure or persuade them to change their mind. When you say “yes” to others, be hones-l and enthusiastic. When you say “no,” be tactful and courteous. But don’t say, “Maybe later” when you really mean “no.”
- Don’t take a “ticket” to a swing party. A ticket Is someone who has no intention of swinging but Is willing to go along to get someone else In. No one must swing at a party, of course, but if one person swings, it is expected that the other is willing and free to do the same.
- Don’t take someone to a swing party who is not fully Informed as to the nature of the party and their expected behavior.
- Don’t eat, drink or smoke In any bedroom or other swing area. Besides the obvious fire hazards and potential mess, these areas are reserved for other activities. This is one of the most violated rules of swinging etiquette and one of those most likely to make you an unwelcome guest.
- Don’t disturb the swinging enjoyment of others in a bedroom or other swing area with loud or prolonged talk.
- The group room is for group swinging. If you want privacy, don’t go to the group room. If you take your partner or any other person to the group room to swing, you can expect others to ask to join you and your partner. (The right of refusal always applies, of course. Swinging in the group room doesn’t automatically give others permission to join you.)
- Club swing parties have party dues or donations. It is your responsibility to present it upon being checked in for a party. Don’t make the hosts remind you. If attending a private party, take a gift, cheese or other snack – or make a donation to help with expenses.
- Don’t be a bedroom “cruiser.” Quietly opening a door to see if there is an available bed for you and your partner to use is all right. However, looking into bedrooms, pulling back curtains, turning on lights and going into private swing areas as a stag to see if you can get involved in something, are major breaches of swinging etiquette. If you become known for such behavior you may find that swing party invitations become few and far between.
- Illegal substances, including marijuana, are prohibited at responsible swing clubs and private parties. Swinging is its own pleasure, don’t dilute it and don’t subject yourself and others to legal problems. Going in and out of the party to your car will be suspect. Don’t do it.
- If a party is BYOB (bring your own bottle), only drink what you bring. Never help yourself to what others have brought without their permission. This is another of the much violated rules of swing etiquette, and one that causes anger among the party guests.
- Tell the hosts if another guest causes a problem, won’t take “no” for an answer or is objectionable in any real way. They sincerely want to know so they can correct the problem or alleviate it in the future. Keeping problems and bad feelings to yourself only contributes tension to the situation.
- If you like a club or party, say so. If not just isn’t your thing, leave. To speak disparagingly of a party to the other guests is simply poor manners.
- If you don’t intend to go with the theme of a theme swing party, don’t go. You’d only be a wet blanket. Theme parties may call for costumes, special party wear or a special activity. Examples are Halloween, pajama or baby doll, nude, “everyone swing” and bisexual parties.
Hints for enjoyable swinging Couples new to swinging may be at a loss as to how to fit in, and may be nervous as well. This is common and quite natural. It is the responsibility of the club, hosts, or the person or couple bringing the new couple to acquaint them with the structure of the party. They should also introduce them to others and help them to become involved in conversation. Beyond this, the responsibility for fitting into and enjoying the party is the new couple’s. Suggestions for a new couple:
- Stay together until you feel comfortable about being apart, but don’t cling to one another as it will work to prevent others from approaching you.
- If there is general disrobing, slip into a robe, negligee or go nude yourself. Though you may remain fully clothed and be accepted, changing into something more revealing will help you to become involved. It serves to make you more accessible physically and socially.
- Be open with each other with your feelings. Do not allow yourself to harbor feelings of inadequacy, jealousy or other uncomfortable feelings. Do not berate your partner.
- Don’t be reluctant to ask questions of other guests. Swingers are interested in new people and are generally eager to answer questions about swinging.
- If there is a hot tub or Jacuzzi, use it. Being nude in comfortably hot water in close proximity to others is conducive to making friends and becoming involved.
- Leave your inhibitions home. Sexual and social inhibitions will most likely interfere with your swinging pleasure. Leave them home or park them at the door (so to speak) as you enter the party – you can pick them up again (if you want them) when the party is over and you have had a good time. You can’t expect to get much out of a swing party if you are unwilling to put much Into it.
- Be responsible, friendly and good-natured. Don’t act or pretend – be yourself. A smile invites social experience; a frown repels.
Health Many men who swing have vasectomies, but the overall responsibility for birth control is the woman’s. She should discuss the best method of birth control with her doctor, and be responsible for using it when swinging. Do not be reluctant to ask a man to use a condom if that is your choice – for whatever reason. If he is turned on to you he will not mind. Sexually transmitted diseases are uncommon among swingers. In fact, many couples confine their outside sexual recreation to club swing parties for this reason. STD’s are generally easily diagnosed and cured. If you suspect that you have had an STD contact you should seek medical attention. The local health department is usually the best bet. It is nothing to be ashamed of or fear. AIDS, very much in the news the past couple of years, is difficult to contract. It is very rare in the swing community. Primary methods of transmitting the AIDS virus are sharing needles in drug use and intercourse, especially anal, with a man who shares needles or practices receptive anal intercourse with other men. If neither of these categories fits, you are not going to get AIDS through swinging. Pay attention to your physical, mental and emotional health. Develop good diet, exercise and mental habits. Develop a positive attitude on yourself, your mate, relationship and life in general.
Swinging Through Personal Ads Placing personal ads in swing magazines and other publications can be fun and rewarding. Even if you don’t actually meet a correspondent it is a way to other contacts, and swing letters can be exciting in in their own right.
- Write an honest and sincere ad. Mention any particular requirements that are important to you.
- Use a post office box number in direct ads rather than your home address. If your ad carries a code number assigned by the publication, and mail is forwarded by them to you, you need not be concerned. Your home address is safe with all responsible swing publications.
- Do not publish your home telephone number. You are likely to later regret it if you do. Take out a temporary voice-mail or a TLN (The Lifestyles Network) number for phone messages.
- Photos accompanying your ad provide interest. Use a tasteful photo, clear and without scratches. Do not deface the face. If you do not want your face shown, have the photo taken with your head turned.
- In answering a personal ad be sure that your handwriting is legible, or type. Do not be vulgar and be sincere. Also be honest. Do not claim, as example, to be a couple if you are not, or to be 30 when you are 40. Be yourself.
- Meet the special requests of the advertisers you are answering. If the ad requests a photo or a self-addressed return envelope you should not expect a reply if you do not comply.
- Not everyone is a creative writer, but if you give your ad some thought you are sure to come up with a catchy phrase that will attract the answers you seek.
- Don’t make your ad too long or too short. Forty to fifty words is about right. You should be able to say what you mean in that many words while keeping the cost of your ad down.
Is Swinging All The Fun It Is Said To Be? You bet it is! Swinging can be every bit as erotic, exciting and fulfilling as you imagine it to be. You can explore many of your favorite fantasies — safely. You can engage in private, intimate sexual activity, share with your mate in a threesome, enjoy another couple, or engage in group swinging — all in one evening. You can make new friends and meet interesting people. And, swinging can add poignancy to your relationship and personal life.
Swinging is not for everyone however. A positive feeling about yourself, your mate and relationship is important. People who are jealous, play social games, have a poor opinion of the opposite sex, are deeply religious or have relationship problems are among those who are not likely to enjoy swinging.