Swinging, it’s a lifestyle
Swinging is an American concept that originated at U.S. airbases during the Second World War. Because pilots led a very dangerous life, they more or less gave their wives permission to live a non-monogamous life. In addition, many pilot widows were ‘consoled’ by other (sometimes married) pilots. When the pilot society moved off base to the nearby, richer suburbs, the media quickly picked up on the subject. They characterized what was happening using the not very flattering word ‘wife swapping.’
The term ‘swinging’ was first used by a minister, who told his congregation that there were people who had the strange custom of swinging from bed to bed, like monkeys.
However, an increasing number of couples see swinging as a new lifestyle, where respect, openness and honesty play central roles. SFC spoke about this with Louise and Jacques. By their own description they are ‘naturally born swingers.’
Louise (38) and Jacques (42) have been married for 13 years. She is head of human resources at a government agency, he is the import/export manager at a large trading company. They have three children, aged four, ten and twelve. Three years ago Louise asked whether their marriage could be ‘opened up.’ “Jacques was my second boyfriend. When I met him, he had gone through a lot of girlfriends. I was a real late-bloomer. It was only with Jacques that I learned to enjoy sex."
“To be honest, I was shocked by Louise’s proposal. I was afraid to loose her to another man. On the one hand, I had expected this. Louise wanted to know what it would be like with another man. Although I assured her she was a good lover, she had misgivings about it. Initially we chose an open relationship. For us polyamory was out of the question. That is a lifestyle where people acknowledge, they love more than one person. In the most literary sense of the word, with all the accompanying emotions. Infatuation occurs within an open relationship, too, but when you start talking about ‘love,’ that’s beyond the pale for me. I want emotional exclusivity.”
In an open relationship, you agree with each other that you can have sex with others. But here, too, it’s all about openness and honesty. Even though Louise was the one asking for an open relationship, initially she found it very hard to actually express her wish.
“I hadn’t the faintest idea where I should look. After all, most people in our surroundings have a monogamous relationship, at least towards the world outside. Of course, I knew some people who had many affairs. I confided in one girlfriend and she pointed me towards a number of dating sites. I came into contact with a number of men and after an e-mail exchange I met one of them in a hotel. I was extremely nervous, but my girlfriend won me over. After all, this was what I had asked for, hadn’t I?! The man I met managed to make me comfortable, we opened up a bottle of champagne and I had a wonderful night. At first, Jacques didn’t want to know anything about this, but later he wanted to know everything.”
“I found that I was concerned, that my wife was lying in bed with another man. Although I didn’t begrudge Louise her experience, I didn’t like it that a strange man was usurping ‘my’ time. We both have high-pressure jobs and the children demand lots of attention. I wanted to be together during what little time we had, not share it. So I started looking for an alternative. I found it in swinging.”
Swinging is a lifestyle, where you, as a couple, have a sexual relationship or an erotic contact with another (straight) couple. It is also called recreational, social sex. You can swing at a swing party, in a couples club, but also during a home date.
“Louise and I plunged into the Internet to find more information about swinging. We found out that you can find swingers in all age categories, in all levels of society and at all educational levels. It became clear to us that swinging only succeeds if you have a stable relationship and that communication and honesty are paramount. Swinging is something you must both want. You should never do it to please the other person, that is a recipe for disaster. We talked extensively about our fears and uncertainties, our desires, but also about our fantasies. We found the Swingers Funclub site through the Internet. We were immediately attracted by the ease of access, the serious approach. To keep the number of fakers to a minimum, moderators were appointed who use WebCams to ‘check’ couples for a certificate of authenticity, as I call it. For a small fee you can become a VIP member and that entitles you to all kinds of extras. It was wonderful to find likeminded couples and we soon had a nice e-mail and chat contact with a slightly older couple. We arranged for a senseo date (senseo = coffee). That is a kind of date to get to know each other, where in theory nothing happens yet.”
“For this first time, we chose neutral territory, somewhere in a small bar, halfway between us. We clicked right away. The other couple had been active in the swingers’ world for a while and we learned a lot from them. It turned out there was even a special language. Full partner exchange is called a full swap and partial partner exchange, a soft swap. I was also put at ease because there is an unwritten code, which says that swingers have to follow three ‘rules:’ respect, hygiene and safe sex. After all, you are responsible not just for your own health but also that of your date partners. Jacques and I quickly agreed that we wanted to take the next step with this couple. And we were going to take that step in a Swingers club.”
A Swingers club is a meeting place where couples go to meet other couples. The major advantage of arranging to meet in a Swingers club is that if you don't ‘click,’ you can go your own way after the meeting and can still make it a fun (erotic) evening, possibly with other people. Only couples (M/F) can enter a Swingers club and usually trios, too. The price is different for each club, usually the price includes everything: entrance fee, use of all facilities, drinks and a buffet.
“The anticipation by itself was wonderful. We visited a lingerie store to pamper ourselves. Of course, I also wanted to buy a super sexy dress. I noticed that everybody was very well dressed. Lumberjack shirts or torn jeans are out. I liked the fact that the evening is divided in two parts. The first part of the evening, you are still in your (sexy) clothes). At a certain time, the dress code changes to lingerie. This gives you a chance to get used to the situation and to relax and chat with other couples. Our second meeting with the other couple was again very nice, but I noticed there was no sensual ‘click’ between me and the husband. Although I found it very difficult, I told him honestly. Luckily it wasn’t a problem at all. We are still good friends. We had a nice evening, even though we didn’t meet anyone that first time. The atmosphere, the respectful way people treat each other, I found it all wonderful. The golden rule is that ‘no’ really means ‘no.’ I even felt more safe than in any bar.”
When you have sex, have safe sex, that is an important rule when swinging. There are many sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). They are transmitted through blood, sperm, vaginal excretions and through contact between mucous membranes. Mucous membranes are found in the anus, the penis, the vagina and the mouth. When you have safe sex, changes of catching an STD are small. However, there are risks and accidents will happen. Jacques and Louise thoroughly researched everything in advance. Says Jacques: “You think you know everything about safe sex, but we found a lot of useful information that made us think. The chance of us catching anything is minimal, because we practice safe sex. We make sure we always carry condoms. Keep the initiative to yourself. In addition, we have ourselves tested once a year. It doesn’t take much effort and it gives us a good feeling.”
“Another agreement Jacques and I made regarding safe sex, is drug use. Or rather, abstaining from drugs. I believe that an Ecstasy pill enhances your senses and fires up your erotic zones. I don’t condemn anyone for doing it, but I like to keep a level head. Jacques smokes the occasional joint, it relaxes him.
Live and act together
Louise and Jacques have been swinging for more than three years. It significantly enriched their life, Louise says. “We agreed from the start that we were not looking for a replacement and we really lacked for nothing with each other. For us, swinging was a way to add something to our (sexual) relationship. It is wonderful to experience your fantasies together. It brought me and Jacques closer. Swinging is always preferable to having an affair, I would rather share the sexual tension and the adventure with Jacques. It is important to set your limits in advance and respect each other's limits. If Jacques doesn’t like a certain man, or I don’t like a woman, then it is over and out. You must continue to talk. That is essential when you swing together. Again, this is only possible if you are well grounded and have a stable relationship. If you are not sure about your partner and what you have together, you should first work on that. Trust me, if you have problems in your relationship, they will absolutely be revealed. That is not good for you and your partner, but it isn’t good for the unsuspecting couple you are dating either. Sometimes people ask us how they can persuade their partner to start swinging. I think you should never pressure anyone. It isn’t worth it if your partner is extremely unhappy and only does it for fear of losing you. Jacques and I grew into this slowly. By talking a lot and informing ourselves extensively. My rule: when in doubt, don’t do it (yet).”
* For reasons of privacy, Jacques and Louise are fictional names.
Facts and figures
The first swingers' organization was called the Sexual Freedom League. It was founded in Berkeley, California (US). It was soon followed by an umbrella organization, the North American Swing Club Association (NASCA). This was founded to enlighten people everywhere in the United States about the swingers’ lifestyle. These days, swinging seems to be a lifestyle that is increasingly accepted, according to swingers’ Web sites. Swingers find like-minded people through the Internet, Swingers clubs or special virtual communities. There are Swingers clubs in almost all countries in the world. Salient detail: the largest number of registered swingers in the world live in the so-called puritan United States.
For swingers who want to go abroad: Canada, Britain, France, Switzerland, Germany and Japan are popular destination countries with many swingers clubs. The number of clubs is increasing in Australia, New-Zealand and South Africa.
We warmly invite you to check out our Web site for more information. Welcome!