Swinger

Swinger

Reviewed by Dr. Laura McGuire
on November 23, 2021

A swinger is a person who lives the “swinging lifestyle,” or just “the lifestyle.” Swinging, in the context of social relations, means having multiple sexual partners with the aim or improving the quality and quantity of sex.

Swingers feel they are sexually free spirits who refuse to be bound by social norms. They embrace sexual expression and attraction and want to explore it beyond the bounds of relationships.

A swinger can be in a committed or casual relationship or unattached and have any gender or sexual identity. Couples who swing are more common than swinging singles. As single, non-coupled swingers are relatively rare, other swingers call them unicorns.

The sexual activity swingers engage in also varies. Swingers who engage in full-swapping or hard swinging have penetrative sex with people outside relationships. Soft swappers enjoy sexual activity outside relationships but do not have penetrative sex with swinging partners. Instead, they may enjoy oral sex, analingus, or heavy petting, according to the rules they have set out with their partner or spouse. Many people start out as soft swappers and become full swappers once they feel more comfortable with non-monogamous sex. Others never explore beyond soft swapping.

A swinger can swing anywhere, including in private homes and in swinger clubs where recreational sex is the norm. Swinger parties in private homes let swingers connect with other people in the lifestyle in an informal setting.

Sex typically occurs at these parties, although people should not attend these events expecting sex and must be mindful of everyone’s boundaries and preferences. Couples often attend these parties with other couples they want to have sex with, forming a quad. When people do this, they often only have sex with the other couple, and do not engage sexually with the other party guests.

Some couples attend swingers and sex clubs and only have sex with one another. While these people are in a swingers’ environment, they are not classed as swingers because they only have monogamous sex. They are more likely to be exhibitionists.

You also shouldn’t confuse swingers with polyamorous people. While both kinds of people have sex outside their relationships, swingers don’t seek multiple romantic partners. They seek sexual connection, rather than emotional connection. Swingers typically look for sex with little to no strings attached.

While it was popular in the 1960s and 1970s, the term swinger is a little dated today. While some young people still engage in swinging, they may not identify as swingers. Instead, it is more common for millennials to say they are in an open relationship.

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