Swinging Happens

Call it wife-swapping, call it creepy, but no matter what you call it, there’s no denying this alternative lifestyle is on the upswing.

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| September 4th, 2012

Marriage Maker or Breaker?
Observers say this lifestyle won’t save a bad marriage, but it can help a couple through a sexual dry patch. Brian believes that couples who swing well are big communicators: “They are each other's best friend and tend to tackle things, whether recreational or serious, as a true team.”

“I’ve never heard anyone say that swinging improved their marriage,” says relatioship expert and author of "The Breakup Bible," Rachel Sussman. But she’s noticed that swingers tend to begin their relationship with a “open attitude to sex” and may have started swinging early on. The key, she says, is to establish “hard and fast rules” before you go to swinging events: what can each person do? 

Even though many people assume that swinging is a man’s fantasy, it’s often the women who find themselves enjoy it more, Bergstrand says. Men are more likely to feel competitive with other men, wondering if their wives preferred their swinging partners, while women tend to be supportive of each other within the swinging scene, he says.

QUIZ: Are You Sexually Satisfied?

The Bottom Line
Although there’s little research on swinging, Bergstrand conducted an online survey in 1999, speaking with over 1000, self-identified swingers to determine if swinging was a more modern alternative to monogamy. What he found was that those living the swinging lifestyle were predominantly white, semi-educated, 40 years-old on average, nor do they possess any particular history of sexual abuse or any other special psychological profile.

Like Brian, “they see it see it as way to introduce excitement back into their marriage,” Bergstrand says. These couples are “very much in love, and have lots of trust,” he adds. “They separate love from sex when they swing. Sex is just recreation.”

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