The Pros and Cons of Swinging in a Marriage

In most civil societies around the world, the normative meaning of marriage is based on mutual monogamy on sexual, social and legal levels. However truth is that relationships are far too complex to be straitjacketed in absolute terms and herein lies the scope for fringe sexual practices like swinging. If you too are exploring the idea in your marriage, it would be better to go over the pros and cons first.

Understand what it entails

Swinging is a social and sexual exchange with one or more persons who are not your primary partner, based on the understanding that the encounter does not indicate infidelity.  So if you are married, swinging would entail having sex with someone other than your spouse. Unlike an open marriage or polyamory swinging is more of recreational social sex and not a relationship sanctioned by cultural practice or religious law. Such encounters mostly consist of male/female couples meeting other such couples, in order to engage in sex and or other intimate behaviour. In this way swinging is different from a casual hook-up since at swinging parties, couples go together while in case of one night stand, a married individual may initiate a sexual encounter on his/her own.

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How swinging can help you

Most couples get involved in swinging as a way to enliven their marriage. Years and months of being in a mutually monogamous relationship can leave things a bit dull. At such times, experimenting with the swinging lifestyle can infuse sexual variety and stir things up for the married couple. Many people find the thought of watching and sharing their partner with others or in front of others, highly arousing, as well as sexually freeing. After a few sexual encounters with others, the husband and wife are likelier to enjoy love-making more than before and experience more passion in marital sex life.

One of the main causes of infidelity is bedroom boredom. When mutually two people have been in a monogamous relationship for a long time, their love-making routine also becomes extremely predictable so much so that you and your spouse almost go through the whole thing on auto-mode. It is only a matter of time before you or your spouse begin to look elsewhere to feel alive again and this hankering inevitably leads to an affair. Swinging on the other hand offers a brief release to sexual boredom and ends up enlivening things for the married couple. It does not carry the stress of having an affair or the fear of being found out. Since in swinging, both partners are on the same page, there are no ugly scenes or accusations about cheating. Curiously enough, such occasional jaunts with an outsider may in fact keep the marital couple together by helping them to rediscover and appreciate the delights of their primary partner.

Then again some long married couples find swinging to be a natural evolution in their marriage. Once they have known their mates for a long time and are sure of their marital relationship, they find the transition to a swinging lifestyle both natural and welcome.

Finally swinging offers one the opportunity to experience other sides of sexuality – experimenting with bisexuality, for example, draws many couples to the lifestyle. Likewise swinging allows people to live out sexual fantasies in a guilt-free environment. People can explore their sexuality without being labeled or judged. For example a man or a woman can experiment with bisexuality without being labeled a” fag” or” dike.” A woman can have multiple lovers and not be called a slut. Swinging thus helps couples to explore the realm of bisexuality and fantasies without being thought of as unfaithful.  

How swinging can harm your relationship

The most obvious danger of swinging in a marriage is jealousy. The very notion of marriage – in mainstream culture at least - depends on a mutually faithful and monogamous relationship. Swinging drives a knife through this basic premise of a marriage and thus leaves the relationship open to all sorts of jealousies and complexities. Even though you and your spouse may have joined a swinging club to experiment sexually, at the end of a party one of you may be jealous and angry at the other for having a good time. Again a secret fear that a third person is a better lover to your spouse than you are may crop up during fights which are about entirely something else. Even when you and your spouse are careful not to bicker about these sexual encounters or you may have agreed upon few rules from the start, newer complications may raise their ugly head since partners may change the ground rules of their relationships over time. Thus while the spouses may have agreed to conduct extra-marital sexual encounters outside the marital home, eventually one of the spouses may invite a partner in the house. This implies that the real danger of swinging is not the prospect of cheating – you may have already agreed on that in principle since you are open to swinging – but that it could lead to marital infidelity. There are no guarantees with human relationships and you may find that a swinging partner who you never intended to meet outside the club, is increasingly replacing your spouse in emotional attachment as well.

How swinging could be bad for you

As with any non-monogamous sexual relationship, the threat of contracting sexually transmitted diseases is very real in case of swinging as well. The greater the number of sexual partners, the higher are your chances of being exposed to STDs. Most of the times symptoms of STDs are not easily visible and even if you are careful to use a condom every time, keep in mind that certain STDS can also spread by the oral route or merely in intimate situations.

Again Swinging can help intensify feelings of insecurity or any self esteem issues that you have, especially if your first swinging experience doesn’t live up to your expectations. For instance plus-sized women may find experience some discrimination in advertising if not in actual attitudes with regard to swinging events. Bi-sexual men too have been known to face some difficulties in swinging situations.

Finally, swinging can also involve some legal complications. Find out what the law has to say about casual sexual encounters in your country and culture. The practice of extramarital sex is often illegal in jurisdictions where adultery is illegal, regardless of whether the partner(s) has given their consent. Swinging encounters are not the same thing as polygamy, where sexual relationships are not necessarily contemplated, but rather one can have more than one simultaneous spouse for the ultimate purpose of protecting individual and marital property rights. If you have children, joint marital property or are likely to contemplate divorce at a future date, being involved in swinging can have negative consequences which you need to be aware of right from the start.