Let’s assume you and your partner have had that initial conversation, in which you both expressed an interest in swinging. Congratulations, that’s usually the hardest part – talking about sex can be difficult.
Swinging is a brave and exhilarating way to revive your lovelife, and now that you’ve both agreed that it’s something you want to explore together, you might need some tips and advice about swinging itself: where to go, how to act, what to expect. Swinging, like many other forms of non-monogamy, is a roller-coaster ride and you need all the information you can get, because when it’s good, it’s great.
Where To Start The Swinging Lifestyle
For the first time swingers, the internet really is your friend. A lot of experienced couples become very adept at concealing their swinger lifestyles, so it can be hard to meet other swingers naturally. Your best friends could be swingers and you’d never even know it. However, there are masses of trustworthy and reliable swinging websites you can browse, all of which allow you to search for other couples, sex clubs and events by location. Set up joint accounts on multiple swinging sites and see which one returns the most interesting people, then focus on that site.
It’s All About Trust
But here’s one of the most important pieces of advice to remember: swinging is about trust, and that trust is particularly delicate in the early stages. Therefore, when you’re setting up an account, make sure the content reflects both of you, that you both contribute to its creation, and that you both have access to the account. Separate accounts breed distrust due to the ability to send and receive private messages to and from other members, and first-time swingers should have absolutely no secrets from each other.
What’s Your Flavor?
Good communication is key when you enter the swinger’s lifestyle. You need to talk in depth about what you’re both looking for before you start swinging, and you should be prepared to compromise and even make bargains with each other. For example, one of you might have your heart set on bringing another girl into your bedroom, while the other might want to meet another couple. Both of these sexual desires are equally valid, so be prepared to say things like “OK, this weekend we’ll meet another couple, but only if the following weekend we can invite that girl over”. (This makes it all sound very formal and humorless, but in practice, this is one of the most fun aspects of the swinger lifestyle.)
Similarly, you need to set your kink levels up front. Swinging clubs and events are generally quite sensual, vanilla affairs as far as BDSM is concerned, so if you’re looking to go to a club for an erotic spanking, you’ll have to look a little harder. They exist in abundance in most major cities though.
That said, be prepared for your interests to evolve in ways you don’t expect.
Clubs Or Couples?
Now, you face a tricky decision: where to actually start. You might have met a single or a couple online that you’re keen on meeting, but this is your first time swinging, so how do you move the conversation into real life? The first thing you should really do is go to a swinger’s party, or some kind of larger-scale swinger event. There’s a really simple reason for this: safety in numbers.
When there are lots of people around, it’s much easier to get a sense of how more experienced swingers interact with each other, and there is never, ever an obligation to join in any sexual activity if it doesn’t feel absolutely right. Lots of couples attend swinger parties simply to observe, and this is the best way to learn. It’s also the best way to meet other like-minded couples without any obligation.
This approach is a lot easier and more comfortable than agreeing to meet a couple you’ve only spoken to online. It’s standard practice in the swinging lifestyle to meet potential partners for drinks before a more sexual encounter, but even these meetings can be awkward, particularly if the people in front of you don’t measure up to the image they’d created online. At least at a party you can offer a polite refusal and speak to someone else instead. Definitely, definitely do not invite partners to your home before meeting them.
One room might be pitch dark where strangers are encouraged to touch and play without knowing who’s on the receiving end, another room might be for swapping partners, another room might be more for observation. It’s hard to say exactly what will happen, and that’s half the thrill of the night.
Different swinging clubs also use different signals and codes. Sometimes wristbands are used to communicate whether the wearer is available or not, or whether a particular couple is looking for a male, female or couple to join them. Some clubs use different colored drinking straws, while yet others reject the colors and instead encourage people to simply talk to each other to find out what they’re looking for. If you arrive and there’s any confusion at all, just ask someone. Swingers are friendly folk, after all, and it’s a good ice-breaker.
Speaking generally, it’s better to join a swinging club or attend a swinger’s event that requires a reservation beforehand, because it means the organizers personally vet all the attendees and work to make sure there’s a good mix of people in attendance.
And Most Importantly…
We touched on it earlier, but good, open communication between you and your partner is essential for a healthy swinging lifestyle. Jealousy and insecurity are real threats to a relationship when other partners are introduced, and you will both have to work hard with each other to make sure everything feels safe and trusting between you. The more you talk about your feelings and desires, the easier it becomes to talk about your feelings and desires. It’s a virtuous swinging circle.
Laurie Mintz, Ph.D., is a professor at the University of Florida, teaching Human Sexuality to hundreds of students a year. She has published over 50 research articles and is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association. Dr. Mintz also has maintained a private practice for over 30 years, working with individuals and couples on general and sexual issues. She is also an author and speaker, spreading scientifically-accurate, sex-positive information to enhance sexual pleasure.