Swinging

SEASONEDpolyAgain

Well-known member
Thought we could have a general thread about swinging.

Who swings here?

What do you think about swinging?

Are there clear differences between swinging and polyamory? What are they?

What are potential pros and cons about coming to polyamory via swinging?

Why do you think there is contention between the swinging and polyamorous communities?

These aren't compulsory questions to comment, say what you want, just some ideas to get started. I'll pop back with a personal post later
 
Swinging is okay, I know it works for a lot of people. I don't think I would do it myself, but that is not a strong opinion.

As I see it, the main (only?) difference between swinging and poly, is that in poly, there is emotional involvement (falling in love), whereas in swinging, it's "just sex." Swinging often transitions into poly because after having sex (especially if there's multiple encounters), the swingers "catch feels" and swinging no longer works for them, at least in the case of those who have fallen in love with each other.

It should be noted that I believe some people are/can be both polyamorists and swingers. That is, they (can) have romantic relationships with multiple people, but they also like to go to swinging events and participate. To me this isn't a problem. As for someone who is a non-poly swinger, that probably is someone who can easily have sex without catching feels. I do believe that some people have this ability.

I'm not sure why it exists, but where contention does exist between poly and swing, it seems to be mostly because some poly people feel insulted when someone suggests they don't have emotional involvement with their partners. There even seems to be some polyamorists who feel that poly is superior to swing, and maybe some swingers are put off by that superiority complex. Personally I feel that poly and swing are both equally fine.

I think the important thing, is for each person to do what works for them, providing of course that whatever they do is done with mutual consent.
 
We were swingers for years but did develop emotional relationships with some partners. We met a couple through swinging and had a poly relationship which evolved, at their request, into a closed poly quad. We lived together for some years with our children and theirs, but it did not work out. Since then we’ve been monogamous in practice, but still consensual non-monogamists at heart. Looking at getting back into swinging now, maybe. The kids are grown, and variety is the spice of life.

I see consensual non-monogamy as being a spectrum and the “tension” between swinging and polyamory as just a point of view. If a swinger thinks you “shouldn’t catch feels,” it’s just that person’s opinion. To me, the real discussion isn’t about what’s right, but rather, what’s right for the individual.
 
Hi there. I/we swing, but it is such a broad term. I have met dear friends whom I love deeply through swinging that I no longer have sexual contact with, but they come to my family gatherings, etc.

We have friends who connected through us that have varying degrees of relationships between each other. It's actually rather lovely.

We don't necessarily swing together, and don't feel any need or pressure to do so, so we rarely straight swap and are more likely nowadays to be flying solo. We also have no 'rules,' but some boundaries, safety, etc. Many swingers do have a lot of rules, so we may be in the minority there.

Personally, I would like to meet an additional partner to have a romantic relationship with. However, I think I will always need the freedom to be able to swing (whether I chose to or not).

Edit: I guess, for me, swinging does at times bring emotional connection. So far, however, it has just bought me connections on a friendship level.
 
Thought we could have a general thread about swinging.

Who swings here?

What do you think about swinging?

Are there clear differences between swinging and polyamory? What are they?

What are potential pros and cons about coming to polyamory via swinging?

Why do you think there is contention between the swinging and polyamorous communities?

These aren't compulsory questions to comment, say what you want, just some ideas to get started. I'll pop back with a personal post later
I have practiced ethical non-monogamy off and on most of the last decade, sometimes solo, sometimes with partners. While I always considered myself poly, I had never been in a relationship that allowed for me to explore that facet of myself.

Three years ago, my spouse and I entered into the lifestyle (as swingers) together. We intended to enjoy sexual experiences, but also were intentional about wanting to build friendships with like-minded individuals-- folks with healthy marriages, open-minded, great senses of humor, and fun. We have found that tenfold in the swing community. While we have some people we would consider acquaintances we've had sexual encounters with, others close friends, ultimately, swinging, for us, has been a practice in both sex and friendship. We've kept romantic feelings out of our play.

Flash forward to more recent times... We met a couple who changed our entire outlook. We fell in love, and are now in a poly quad (unsurprising to me, but complete shocker for my spouse). But both couples still consider themselves swingers, as well. While our priority is our quad, we still occasionally seek casual play with others.

Sometimes I think we get hung up on terminology (hence, I usually use ENM to "label" myself). I see ethical non-monogamy as a spectrum, as opposed to set definitions. Sometimes where I fall on the spectrum changes for me from day-to-day, partner-to-partner. As long as everyone is consenting and happy, I guess, for me, it doesn't matter what I call myself, or my relationship(s).

It does frustrate me that sometimes there seems to be contention in both communities. (We are also part of the kink/BDSM community.) Perhaps this has to do with a lack of understanding or knowledge, fear, jealousy. But it does make me sad, because sometimes we feel like outliers in ALL of the communities at certain times.

Love to hear what others have to offer on this topic!
 
Right, so I have a minute. I wrote this because there is a semi-private, medium-sized swinging event that isn't too far away. Basically, you need to be vetted to attend. I've never been, but a good few of my friends attend. Some are poly; some are "just" swingers.

To be accepted as a member, you have to be recommended by a current long-term member, or you can apply. If you don't know anyone at all at the event, they want some things from you, like your real identification and a profile from one of a few sites.

If you're seriously and actively swinging, you will either know someone who can vouch for you, or be on one of these sites. If you really don't know about them, you'll want to join at least one if you're serious. It's like Fetlife, fab, Feeld, SLS, some others I don't know of, but on all sites, you can share your profile or can be searched by username. They want to see a bit about you and yours to decide if you're a good fit.

Anyway, it's come out that the organisers have decided that ENM/poly labels are going to go against people, in terms of vetting going forward.

They have a few reasons for that:

1) Sex-- they found as the poly crowd got too numerous, less sex occurred. More exhibitionist couples who weren't intending to "swing" and wanted to pick who could watch.

2) Drama-- the sex was replaced by intense interactions between couples and metamours.

3) Different wavelengths-- the poly crowd would err towards swapping numbers or inviting others to social events, which the swingers just weren't there for, and many would find totally inappropriate to even ask. (They consider themselves monogamous.)

4) Preference for private play-- some swinging events offer private rooms where you can greatly restrict or even prohibit voyeurs. They found demand for this was becoming too high and the admission of voyeurs was dropping.

So, this place obviously has long-term regulars who are poly, but I suppose they put their "swinging foot" forward when they are in that space. Their first question was whether this meant they were now unwelcome. They were assured they were, because it isn't a "no poly" rule. Just, it's more of a orange flag in terms of newer members.

People raised that they too preferred to only play with people they knew, to some extent, over new strangers they encountered at events. Are they "part of the problem"? Again, they were assured that, no, they weren't, because they made up the balance of people who were looking to enthusiastically play, vs those who were more selective and provided a more voyeuristic opportunity for newer people. It's when all of the newer people tend towards that way of playing, up to and including only playing with people who are long-term intimate partners outside of events.

Of course, in the conversation (I saw it as a group chat on Discord), other members had very strong opinions about poly people and their inability to understand "emotional" boundaries and constantly pushed them vs their almost prudish approach to sexual consent, which a few users found to be ironic.

Examples were people who insisted on privately interacting with one individual of a couple, despite that couple making it clear that only group conversations on WhatsApp were appropriate. Or those trying to overstay their welcome or manipulate their way into interactions that weren't agreed upon (like snuggling or outside-of-sex affection).

The swingers very much saw these as traits as most common in poly people and why many of them actively avoided them on other sites. Some reported how the poly people would feel entitled to levels of interaction that they saw as obligatory if sex were to be shared.

So there were people very happy about this turn of events.

I found the conversation interesting, especially about the sense-of-entitlement part, because I do see some poly people speak as if there are some obvious expectations as intimacy increases. "We've been together a year. Of course you and your spouse should expect I'd start wanting vacations with you now. Didn't you two have vacations after a year?"

On one side, I'm poly enough to sort of agree that evolving expectations should be anticipated with increased intimacy. On the other, I could empathise with how some of the behaviours of poly people would seem intrusive or even predatory to swingers, especially some of what they were describing.

I suppose it's like the swingers are making a stand that their spaces won't be taken over by poly people on some sort of speed-dating-type mission. They want fucking. And the polys don't fuck enough.
 
That is interesting. It’s unfortunate that the events had enough incidents to provoke such a response. It makes me wonder though if there were just a loud few who were irritated about having to enforce their own boundaries or if there were really some problematic poly individuals about. I believe that poly swingers are just as capable of “reading the room” as non-poly swingers, so, was being poly really the issue? Even in a straight swinging crowd, there are those who push limits enough to be a problem. Neat topic to needle.
 
...
What do you think about swinging?

I am quite interested! But have not had the opportunity to attend an actual swingers event, just some "mixed" social events through PARG (Pittsburgh Alternative Relationships Group) and one mixed kinkster event (which I very much enjoyed but highlighted my ignorance as I discussed in my blog at the time: posted HERE)

My understanding is that swinging is very much a M/F couple thing and I have never had a male partner who was interested. MrClean would accompany me if I asked him to (like he did for the kinkster event above) but I think it would be hard for him. I do get the impression that, as a solo (bisexual) woman, I would be welcome.

...
Are there clear differences between swinging and polyamory? What are they?

To the best of my understanding, in their "purest" forms:
Swinging --> Sex (often with Rules to ensure that it remains "just sex")
Polyamory --> Romantic Relationships (ideally withOUT Rules that limit how deep those relationships are "allowed" to become)
But people are complicated, so some swinging encounters may lead to friendship and more and some poly relationships are more sex-focused, or limited in some way. And that is OK, as long as the people involved are all on the same page.

...
What are potential pros and cons about coming to polyamory via swinging?

PROS: Hopefully, experience with communicating expectations around safer sex practices and disclosure and the importance of not ignoring existing partners in favor of the new and shiny.

CONS: Perhaps an unrealistic expectation that Rules will prevent all conflicts? Swinging Rules are focused on preventing feelings from developing by limiting the opportunity for emotions to come into play. Once you open the door for emotions then setting Rules for limiting them doesn't work out so well...

...
Why do you think there is contention between the swinging and polyamorous communities?

Expectations and Shared Values
...as your personal post illustrates

For Swingers, it would seem, the relational (even if that relationship is only friendship) component that many poly folx would see as a "basic requirement" for sexual interaction goes against some of the reasons why there are Rules in the first place. The focus is on recreational sex and voyeur/exhibitionist titillations.

For Polys, the focus on sex and public participation and the enforcement of the Couple's Privilege seems like ultimate caricature of Unicorn Hunting. Objectification to the nth degree. The opposite of intimacy.

If you add the BDSM/kink community into the mix - which may overlap in various ways with the other groups - you have another whole layer of perspective to navigate (such as how "consent" is navigated in a public space - as I learned in my Kinknic experience).

***

For me, personally, I think that I would actually quite enjoy Swinging. I am a hedonist and an exhibitionist and have always enjoyed sex for the sake of sex. I don't need any sort of relationship to be present to really enjoy sexual passion (the opposite of a demi-sexual ?).

... someone who can easily have sex without catching feels. I do believe that some people have this ability.

Feelings and relationships are complicated and a lot of work for me. Sex is easy. When I was young I recognized that and came up with my own "rules" in order to keep sexual partners at a distance:
1.) No virgins (people tend to fall for their first sexual partner)
2.) No more than 3 sexual encounters with the same person
3.) No "romantic gestures" or "mushy" talk - anyone displaying such was cut off

Then I hooked up with MrS, broke rule #2 and...I caught the feels for the first time (although I didn't acknowledge it for months and he studiously avoided breaking rule #3 during that time). The only other time I caught the feels was with Dude - and that ended disasterously, I should have stuck with the rules :rolleyes:

JaneQ
 
Interesting post, JaneQ.

In my experience in swinging, yes, M/F couples hold privilege. However, single women are at the top of the (unicorn) pile, with single men at the bottom. Swinging sometimes puts the patriarchy upside-down. with women calling the shots. However, I have also seen men coercing women into swapping and women playing bi for their men.

I belong to a swinging site and there are so many bi-identifying women within that population (which is a statistical anomaly). On the other hand, a lot of straight-identifying men do enjoy aspects of playing with other men, but keep it very quiet. Biphobia works against men. But the fetishism works for women.

The swinging rules of just couples straight swapping don't always hold. There are a lot of M/F couples who enjoy cuckoldry, hot-wifing, MMF threesomes only, bi only, etc. The dynamics of each couple will be different and there are a lot of FWB couples who swing together with others for fun.

Re kinksters, I've been to quite a few events, but don't really fit in. The rules are stricter in a lot of ways, compared to swinging, with etiquette that I find puzzling. (But I am not good with rules.)

I know kinksters who, for all intents and purposes, would probably be defined as poly. But they don't identify as that. I also know poly people who effectively swing, but again, wouldn't see that as an identification. Think cuddle parties that end as orgies with random people invited.

I am currently seeing someone through swinging who defines as a Dominant, but we seem to be evolving into a more romantic (maybe) relationship, and he is not Dominant with me.

I think there is a huge overlap between all three groups. I don't know where I fit and tbh don't really care. We are all in effect not accepted fully.
Interestingly, in the UK it is possible to be sacked from a job for being a swinger, which I find totally ironic, as you wouldn't be for having an affair. That's why it's sooooo hidden.
 
Thought we could have a general thread about swinging.

Who swings here?

What do you think about swinging?

Are there clear differences between swinging and polyamory? What are they?

What are potential pros and cons about coming to polyamory via swinging?

Why do you think there is contention between the swinging and polyamorous communities?

These aren't compulsory questions to comment, say what you want, just some ideas to get started. I'll pop back with a personal post later
Oooooof. Swinging is cringe to me and I don't mean that as a kink-shame. It is not my thing. And maybe that is because my limited below-the-mason-dixon-line experience with swingers is that most come from a background of patriachal relationship structures in which the wives serve at the pleasure of the husband.

And I will concur that if this is a turn on to these women, I can support it.

Perhaps I'm too liberal and too feminist and too independent to get it.

The swinger parties I've attended all had a similar vibe. Definite goal for fun. But bigger goal for very good looking and sexual females to be the providers of the entertainment, while average looking (potentially very rich) males indulge in real life porn scenarios.

Again, when everyone is on board and it is all consensual fun, cool. Go crazy.

It was a boner killer for me. Maybe I need to be worshiped without feeling like I need to perform? Haha.
 
although this line between swingers and poly is really thin. We have had a female friend who we both love and when she comes to visit we have fun and we love her. We are open and try to be inclusive. I don't think we really fall into any actual label and find it very hard to find like minded people who want to fulfill each other's want and hearts.
I think of swinging as sort of like the dating and the poly sort of the love after, actually I don't like either label and would rather just consider us as open.

Hoping to live happily, with everyone
 
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