Photographer: Barbara Nitke
Remember stories from the 60s and 70s, when couples went to parties and put their house keys in a punch bowl? The person's keys you drew at the end of the night was the person you went home with.
Few people know this, but swinging as a fad in America actually began in the 1950s with Air Force officers in California swapping wives. Today, though, in clubs and private homes in London, Paris, New York, and many other places, the swinger trend has reemerged. Nightline, ABC News, The Daily Mail and plenty of other media outlets have covered it. Some participants are bored, middle-aged couples trying to revitalize their sex lives. Others are young, sophisticated urbanites looking for a weekend thrill and a way to blow off steam after a stressful work week.
Times have certainly changed since the 60s Sexual Revolution! What was once extremely taboo and only took place behind closed doors now has a website, and researchers are noticing a shift towards younger generations. Once, swingers were generally 35+, but that's changing. Today's 20- and 30-somethings are marrying later and are taking their liberated dating habits into marriage. It's not surprising that they are also more apt to take part in zestier enterprises once there, lacking the urge for secrecy and guilt the older generation faced.
Gen X and Millennials are interpreting monogamy in an entirely new way these days. What's more, women seem to be the ones driving the most recent swinging fad, calling the shots and being choosy with their partners.
So should you try swinging?
That's entirely up to you, your partner, and your shared interpretation of your relationship. Some people can't stand the idea of their lover with someone else. Others find nothing hotter. There are women who allow their partner to kiss and touch other partners, but still keep sex off-limits. Others allow kissing, touching and oral sex, but no penetration. Some couples allow freebies during business trips or when one partner is more than 20 miles away from home. Then, of course, there are plenty of "no holds barred" couples as well. There are endless variations and combinations. Some couples don't want to know anything about the other's escapades; others want to know every detail. Swingers are just as varied and individual as any like-minded group of people, and it all comes down to individual preferences that have been clearly communicated between committed partners.
So how can you get into swinging?
If this is a conversation you've never had with your partner, try to feel them out first with indirect questions and casual conversation. Be subtle at first. Suggest a movie or book where swinging takes place and is portrayed positively, and then see how they react. Then sometime later discuss it with them, and don't just make it sound like you're looking for some guilt-free cheating. Tell them what excites you and turns you on about it, and ask if it excites them too.
Photographer: Barbara Nitke
Never pressure anyone into taking part, and never accept being pressured. Everyone deserves sovereignty over their own body and emotional boundaries. Plus, everyone loves and enjoys sex in their own unique ways. You'll need to discuss at length where each of your boundaries are and establish ground rules about what is acceptable and what goes over the line for each of you.
Start slowly. Perhaps just visit a local event or club and observe. Talk about it afterward: what you noticed, what turned you on, and what didn't. Keep the conversations low-pressure, and try not to take yourselves too seriously. Think of it as a new adventure, and keep an open mind.
If you want to remain in a monogamous relationship, you both have to communicate well, take things slowly, allow time to adjust, be comfortable enough with each other to voice concerns when you are uncomfortable, and support one another throughout the whole process. If it isn't done right, it could damage the relationship, but if both of you are honest, supportive, loving, and understanding, then it can be an exciting, erotic, and rejuvenating experience.
Sandra LaMorgese Ph.D. is an expert in bridging the gap between sexuality and a lifestyle that focuses on holistic health of the mind, body and spirit. She is the author of Switch: Time for a Change, a memoir of her journey from holistic practitioner to professional dominatrix at 55-years-old, and her passion and purpose is to empower others towards healthy authentic living. To learn more about Sandra and receive your FREE eBook "5 Steps for Better Communication, Sex, and Happiness (Did I mention better sex?) visit www.sandralamorgese.com.