Empowered Sex Asks: Variety is the spice of life – but can swinging improve a marriage?

Empowered Sex Asks: Variety is the spice of life – but can swinging improve a marriage? I’ve already voiced my opinion on monogamy in a previous article – it’s not human nature, it’s a choice. So what other choices are there? Last Friday on Renegade Talk, we interviewed a married couple in Denver who are living an alternative lifestyle, and talked about one option.

So what is swinging all about anyway? If you don’t personally know any swingers, the term might initially conjure up some interesting images. Like: flashbacks of B-rated movies from the 70’s of couples in tight polyester and flowered shirts making out in hot tubs or throwing their keys into the center of the room to see whose wife or husband they are going home with. But the swinging couples I’ve met and spoken with don’t fit that image at all. In fact, they are quite normal, happy, intelligent, healthy, attractive couples who come from all walks of life.

Recent studies show that 20% of American married couples are swinging. These couples are middle to upper class, work in professional or management careers, and are well educated. In our simultaneously sexually obsessed and sexually repressed American society however, the swinging lifestyle is certainly not something you’re going to discuss at a PTA meeting or a church social (even though studies show that a high percent of swingers do have a religious affiliation). As a result, I suspect the percentage of swinging couples in this country could be even higher than 20%.

Similar to the behavior of the animal kingdom when it comes to monogamy, swinging couples are socially and emotionally committed to one another. They are not, however, sexually monogamous. They just simply leave the nest together or with one another’s blessing when they decide to branch out sexually.swinging couples
Unfortunately the most recent statistics I could find about swingers were from a survey taken in 2000 by Dr. Curtis Bergstrand and Jennifer Blevins Williams. According to the survey, the number of swingers has increased exponentially in the last decade evidenced by the membership to swinging websites such as Adult Friend Finder and Kasidie. The October 2000 study showed that the happiness quotient of couples who opted into the ‘lifestyle’ as it is called, increased significantly. And based on my own unscientific research, it seems clear to me that these couples are on to something that could solve the problems that tend to crop up in long-term traditional marriages and committed relationships. Problems like boredom caused by routine sex, loss of passion and excitement, and dealing with the issue of physical attraction to others – even same sex partners. After all, it is really not the act of sexual infidelity that breaks up a marriage. Infidelity is typically a symptom of other problems that already exist in a marriage. It is really the lying, betrayal, and cheating that causes the pain when infidelity occurs.

The research study mentioned above indicates that swingers are generally much happier and describe life as more exciting than sexually monogamous couples. While this study also shows that happiness rates increased dramatically for couples who switched from a ‘vanilla’ relationship to a swinging relationship, it would be interesting to know what percentage of today’s swinging couples entered into their relationship with this understanding, versus those who decided to change their marital agreement in order to improve satisfaction in the marriage.

Since the success of the lifestyle depends on the strength of the foundation of the committed relationship, it is impossible to say that swinging is the cure-all for any marriage in jeopardy. But in my opinion, it is certainly a viable alternative to divorce court – being much less disruptive, less expensive, and a whole lot more fun!

For more information listen to our recent interview with a swinging Denver couple on Renegade Talk FM – and stay tuned for more discussions about the swinging lifestyle on future shows!

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4 comments to Empowered Sex Asks: Variety is the spice of life – but can swinging improve a marriage?

  • Roy & Courtney

    Hi Patti! Great article…we agree with everything you said. Thanks for hooking us up with the interview. We look forward to doing more…maybe if some people want to send you some questions, we’d be happy to answer them. It was a lot of fun to do the interview :)

    Thanks and we love your site!

    Roy and Courtney

  • HI Patti,
    Thanks for your thoughtful post about swinging. Actually, I beleive the sexual revolution from the 1960s and 1970s never ended, it just went underground.

    Who are these swingers?

    As I discovered in researching my upcoming novel Monogamy Sucks (out on Dec. 1 on Lazy Day Publishing), they could be anyone. They could be your neighbors, your banker, your co-worker, your PTA president and even someone in your family. They are not freaks. They are just looking to expand their sexual lives due to boredom with monogamy and conventional relationships.

    In fact, I remember a number of couples telling me that if they didn’t decide to swing, they probably would have cheated and wouldn’t still be together. One couple said they still fight sometimes, but it is about money, not jealousy and infidelity.

    My initial motivation for writing my novel Monogamy Sucks was to explore my own growing dissatisfaction with monogamy and conventional relationships in the mid 1990s, and to figure out the deeper motivations that led to my intriguing journey into swinging lifestyle in southern California.

    I also wanted to challenge and dispel a lot common myths about swingers, swinging, monogamy and fidelity. You probably know a swinger right now. They have mortgages to pay, they work, have families, and go on vacations. The only area where they are different is in their sex lives. I was very fascinated with the people I met in the swinging lifestyle even those that I didn’t care for. They were fearless in a lot of ways that still impresses me.

    And if monogamy is so great, why do we hear every other week about another sex scandal involving a celebrity?

    Apparently, I am not the only one that thinks monogamy sucks.

    George Pappas
    author of novel Monogamy Sucks

  • admin

    Thanks for your comments George! I couldn’t agree w/ you more! And I look forward to our interview on Renegade Talk on the 9th of December!

  • The same is true of swingers we’ve spoken with, as well. All ages, all social classes, all sorts of body types, just ordinary people open to celebrating their bodies and having fun – safely, I might add, and with an emphasis on open communication, with each other and with whoever they’re swinging with. Couples consistenly report their relationship and their sex lives are happier and healthier in the lifestyle than before.

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