Swinging, like in swinger sex, sometimes called “partner swapping” or “spouse-swapping”, is a behavior in which both singles, partners in a committed relationship or spouses engage in sex with others as a recreational or social activity.

BOB & CAROL & TED & ALICE 1969 Columbia film with from l Elliot Gould, Natalie Wood, Robert Culp and Dyan Cannon

A swinging lifestyle is by choice. Many see it as an increase in quality and quantity of sex, enjoying the variety of sex partners, fulfilling a curiosity or need to be non-monogamous. The swinger community often refers to itself as “the lifestyle”.

Why do some enjoy this lifestyle? The reasons vary.

While, according to 2010 estimates by the Kinsey Institute “swinging is relatively uncommon in the United States”, the trend nearing the end of the decade is much more common, as younger generations practice ‘polyamory’, the practice of or desire for intimate relationships with more than one partner, with the knowledge of all partners.

  • The couple have an open relationship that allows them to have sex with other people. They believe that a difference exists between love and sex – a clear separation exists between love and sex – they share a love for each other, but sex with other people.
  • The wife or husband or both have always wondered what it would be like to swing. It’s an opportunity for one or both of them to experience with other people while being in a committed relationship, on a short-term or long-term (permanent) basis.
  • The man wants to see his wife or partner with other men or women.
  • The woman wants to see her husband or partner with other women or men.
  • Couples can share their interests with like-minded friends and their open-minded attitude concerning sexuality.
  • One or both are polyamorous. On that, there is a common misconception that a polyamorous relationship is really no different from an open-relationship or open-marriage. But the word “polyamory,” by definition, means loving more than one, having multiple romantic relationships at the same time, with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved.

For couples to enjoy a healthy swinging lifestyle, there need to be rules. Rules mutually agreed up by the partners. Hard fast rules that can also be changed as the relationship evolves. This is achieved only through open and transparent communication with each other, no fear or restraints to express desires, communicate needs and wants.


There also must be no jealousy. There is no place for insecurity, fear, concern and envy in the lifestyle, There must be complete respect for each other, and always be on the same page concerning their activities within the lifestyle. If not, the lifestyle can destroy relationships and marriages.

It is not easy for the average to accept another person sexually pleasing their partner and bringing them to a climax. And sometimes in ways, they aren’t able to, the respond completely unexpected.

“You were really into him/her, ignored me completely,” she says. His/her response has to be frank and honest or this is where trouble creeps in. This is where one has to reassure the other it was a temporary moment, “playing” and now you are back to returning to your life together.

Understanding the lifestyle, keeping lines of communications open, making joint decisions on their lifestyle choices and never allowing others to come between them is the key to making it work.

Some do. Many more are never able to cross the hurdles, retreating to their boring life of monogamous sex that, for some is the answer to a stronger relationship, for others the beginning of the end.

Swinging, lifestyle, wife swapping, partner swapping, spouse swapping, polyamory or whatever you want to call it, isn’t right for everyone.