If you’re like many guys, you’ve heard of swinging and wondered what it’s all about. And if you’ve ever been in a relationship with someone open to kink, you may even have seriously thought about trying it.
But what’s swinging all about, anyway? How many people are into it? What are the benefits of trying it, and how can you know whether it’s for you before diving in? Let’s look at the answers to all those questions and more.
What Is Swinging?
Swinging is an approach to ethical non-monogamy where two people in a committed relationship explore sexual connections with other people. This is always done according to ground rules and boundaries that both parties agree on beforehand to protect the integrity of the primary relationship.
And although swinging is considered a niche interest, more people do it than you think – about one in every 25 couples or so.
Swinging couples are often heterosexual, but not always. And connections are typically merely physical, as opposed to emotional, although exceptions exist. Swinging often involves mate swapping with other committed couples, but not as a rule.
Are There Different Types of Swinging?
As with any sexual practice, there are a couple of different approaches to swinging. That said, it’s essential to know which is which before you grab your partner and start exploring options together, the better to know what you’re actually getting into. Here are some terms to keep in mind.
Many younger people don’t care for the term “swinging” and consider it outdated, so you may sometimes hear it referred to as “the lifestyle” instead. Regardless of which term you prefer, partaking in the lifestyle can be about lots of things and often varies greatly from couple to couple.
Couples who are new to swinging or want to try it to see what it’s like usually engage in soft swaps to start with. Soft swapping can involve lots of sex play – including kissing, hand jobs, or oral sex – but it doesn’t involve intercourse or penetrative anal sex.
A hard swap is, of course, a swap where anything and everything is a possibility – everything you’d get in a soft swap plus full-on intercourse. Naturally, there are some people out there who are comfortable diving straight into hard swapping, but most prefer to work up to it.
Why Try Swinging?
Swinging definitely isn’t for everybody, but if it does turn out to be suitable for a particular couple, it can bring many benefits to the table beyond the simple novelty of getting to be with other people. Here’s a look at some of the possibilities.
Your communication improves
As with many non-vanilla approaches to sex, swinging virtually requires people to become master communicators, starting from the moment you first bring the idea up for discussion with your partner.
Over time, the two people involved become increasingly comfortable talking about their needs and listening to their partner talk about theirs. And if you partake in swinging across more than one relationship in your lifetime, you learn how to talk about these issues with different types of people, as well.
Your sex life gets better
Yes, part of the fun of being in any type of open relationship situation is getting to explore your sexuality with different people. But so is the fact that opening things up may drastically improve sex between you and your partner.
Swapping on any level can foster a new level of appreciation for the unique intimacy you share with a partner you’re connected to on a much deeper level. And the sexual freedom you both get to enjoy can reduce the chances of infidelity or an eventual breakup, as swinging helps couples redefine how they think about such things.
You get closer as people
Many couples report that their relationships outside the bedroom improve when they start swinging. The level of communication and honesty swinging requires can lead to a dynamic where both people are comfortable being their authentic selves.
They don’t judge their partners, and they don’t worry about being judged in turn. Their chemistry and intimacy grow as a result. The sexual variety can help bring elements like passion and novelty back to their relationship, as well.
Is Swinging Right for You?
Chances are that if you’ve always been curious about practices like swinging and polyamory, you’re probably already the type of person wired for non-monogamy. But your partner needs to be 100 percent on that same page, too, because swinging only works when both people are really into it.
If you suspect they might be, you can start by opening up a dialogue about why you’d like to try it and what you hope it might do for your relationship. Go slowly and decide from the get-go that if either of you doesn’t like it, you’ll stop, no questions asked. Then take it from there.