There are many myths and misconceptions around swing lifestyles (or simply "swinging"). Just what is swinging about and who are the so so-called swingers?
Swinging can be defined as the act of sharing yourself and your spouse with another couple, or other couples, with the full knowledge of all involved. It is the participants of this lifestyle who are referred to as swingers.
There quite a few myths and misconception about swinging and swingers. One common misconception is that swinging is the definition of swinging as "wife swapping." This definition is inaccurate in that it does not explain to explain the full range of sexual activities that swinging encompasses. It also gives the impression of a male-favored activity, which too is inaccurate as swinging involves full participation of both partners.
Another common misconception is that swingers are older couples who are bordering on being perverted. The swing lifestyle is composed of people of all ages, including ordinary next-door types who exemplify marital happiness.
In fact, one of the requirements for people seeking to join a swinger's group or party is that the couple must be reasonably happy in their marriage. The reason for this is that swinging should not be used as an escape from or alternative to an unhappy relationship.
Most people find it inconceivable that one would allow his/her partner to have casual sex with another person, stranger or not. But to swingers, this is an acceptable form of social recreation.
Swing lifestyles and activities are as broad and varied as are swingers. They include:
1. Soft swinging: Also known as soft swap, this is doing everything with another person except sexual intercourse. Usually they will stop at the last minute and switch back to their original partner. At this point they might choose to have sex with their own partner in front of the other people. Most first-time swingers begin this way.
2. Open swinging: This is when the couples swap (know as full swap) and actually have sexual intercourse in the same room or on the same bed. This includes threesomes, orgies, exhibitionism, voyeurism and anything in between.
3. Closed swinging: Usually a full swap, but sexual intercourse takes place in separate rooms. This is for those who feel the need for more freedom or don't like interruptions. This type of swing is mainly practiced by the more experienced couples, as a higher degree of trust is essential.
Why do they do it? Why would anyone want to be a swinger? Well, the reasons are as varied as the couples themselves.
One reason is the need to explore sexual fantasies without having to "cheat" on one's partner. Maybe they just want variety in their sex lives, or good old fun. The couple may have married too young and never had a chance to "sow their wild oats." And so on.
Does this mean that the couples never feel any jealousy? This is the biggest hurdle to overcome, especially in the beginning. Not all couples go through with it. A number of those who stick with it say that jealousy actually makes them even more sexually charged up, as well as creates deeper interest in their mates.
Some swingers claim that it is the actual giving or "letting go" in order to make the partner happy that is the essence of this lifestyle.
Obviously, not all couples can be swingers (this writer is not one) and this article is not about asking you to become one. As with anything else, swing lifestyles do carry certain liabilities and risks, which are subject of another article.