February 23, 2018

Q & A: How Common Is The Swinger Lifestyle?

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Hello, and hello, and hello to you, too!

Q. My husband of 12 years and I have recently joined the “swing” lifestyle. We have always talked and fantasized about it but now that we are actually doing it I wonder how common it is. Are there any studies or stats on this topic?

A. According to a US probability survey of sexual diversity that my colleagues and I conducted in 2015, nearly 6% of Americans had attended a sex party or swinger’s event at some point in their lives. Less than 2% had done so in the past year.

However, uncommon doesn’t mean that it’s right or wrong – it just means that not many people do it. In the same study, we found that 2% of participants found swinging or sex parties to be very appealing and an additional 9% found them somewhat appealing. In other words, many more people find swinging and sex parties appealing than the percentage who actually do it. There are likely many reasons for this gap. Among other reasons, some people may have never told their partner that they’d like to try it, others may find it appealing but not actually want to try it, and some may be worried about STD transmission or running into someone they know.

It May Depend On Your Swing Set

Swinging is practiced in different ways. Some swinging takes place in club settings in which people may pay private membership dues. Swinging may also take place at private parties in people’s homes or in privately rented space at a club, bar or hotel.

There are swingers conventions in cities around the world. Some draw as many as a few hundred to a few thousand adult women and men to come to a resort or hotel, to learn about what’s new in the swing lifestyle, and to possibly meet new friends and partners.

Some groups are open to anyone who is willing to sign up, join and/or pay for an entry fee or a membership. Others are highly restrictive and may require that you be invited by an existing member or that you submit photographs or write essays before you are allowed to join. Some clubs or parties do not allow single men into the scene whereas others do. On the contrary, single women are more often allowed into swing events as they are, quite frankly, more often in demand for sex play.

Couples themselves have their own rules on what will or won’t work for them. Some couples decide that they will only engage in sex that occurs together whereas others enjoy splitting up and having sex with other people in private settings at the club or party or in their own home.

Although swinging is uncommon, It is practiced by enough people that there are events that consist of hundreds or thousands of attendees. And while some people find that swinging is not for them, that they are too worried about sexual infection risk or unable to comfortable handle issues related to jealousy or communication, others very much enjoy the novelty and pleasure found in a swinging lifestyle.

Aside from the sex, some women and men appreciate the new friendships that come from being sexual with others. To learn more about swinging and having more than one lover, check out the book Opening Up.

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