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Swinging FAQ

These FAQ were written by the female half of a couple fairly new to swinging at the time of writing.

What is Swinging

Put in its simplest form, swinging is enjoying consensual sexual experiences with people other than your regular partner. Most people, who swing and are part of a couple, do so with the full knowledge, consent and, usually the participation of, their partner. Within this, however, there is a broad spectrum of activities. For some, swinging forms a big part of their life, for others it is an occasional "treat". Some people enjoy a wide variety of swinging partners; others form longstanding relationships with one couple. For some, swingers "anything goes", while others confine themselves to limited experiences that they enjoy, for example girls exploring their bisexuality together whilst the partners simply watch.

There are swinging clubs, swinging saunas, swinging holiday resorts, private or business-run parties, individual relationships, internet communities and chat rooms. Some people involved in the swinging community don't actively participate but like to exchange ideas and fantasies to enhance their private lives.

Although these sorts of activities and this sort of lifestyle are most commonly referred to as "swinging", you will come across many different terms for them. Some people dislike the terms "swinging" and "swingers" and alternatives used or suggested include "the scene" or "the Lifestyle".

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Is swinging for us/me?

There are millions of people who enjoy the lifestyle and find that it enhances their sex lives with their partners. Swinging can add variety, excitement, allow you to explore other sides of your sexuality, be a way of meeting new and interesting people, provide inspiration for your fantasies and give you and your partner fabulous experiences on which you can draw in your private sex life together.

The main criterion for successful swinging is that you have no major problems in your relationship with your partner. Swinging will not solve an existing problem in your relationship and is unlikely to provide something that you feel is "missing" from your sex life. If this sounds like you, sort out the problems first before getting involved in the lifestyle. Another recipe for disaster is where one person coerces their partner to get involved against his or her wishes. People who get involved in the Lifestyle for these reasons usually find that it quickens the decline of their relationship rather than improves it.

If you have a solid relationship and you are both keen to try new things with sexy new playmates, then swinging may well be for you. Do explore the issues that might arise with your partner before rushing in. For example, is your self-esteem high enough to avoid destructive feelings of jealousy if your partner is openly attracted to, and maybe making love with, another attractive person? Would you be willing to call a halt to something that was making your partner feel uncomfortable? Finally, keep open the lines of communication with your partner as you experience new things to ensure that you are both happy about the way things are going.

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How to meet swingers

There are many different ways of meeting potential swinging partners and people's approaches vary. One of the most popular is to place an advertisement or creating a profile on a specialist site like SDC, also see Placing an online dating ad. You can also advertise in newspapers and specialist magazines. There are also various social events, swinging parties and swinging clubs (organised privately or as a business) and these are advertised by specialist websites and magazines. They range from purely social occasions such as these Loungeparties Socials to full-on action play parties. Be reassured though that, in swinging circles, the etiquette that "no means no" is widely adhered to and it is very unlikely that someone will try to pressure you into doing anything with which you are not comfortable.

You will find mainly established male/female couples on the swinging scene. It is more common to find couples comprising a straight guy and a bisexual girl than a totally bisexual or heterosexual couple. There are quite a few single men looking for group experiences and fewer single girls. You may also find two or more couples with a regular swinging relationship who are looking for others to join in.

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Placing an online dating ad

Placing an ad (or replying to one) in a specialist Personals area of a website can be a great way to meet people who might interest you as potential swinging partners. In general, the more information you can give about yourselves, the more likely you are to get replies from people who suit you.

Suggested topics for inclusion in your personal ad are: your ages and physical descriptions; if you are a couple, your relationship with each other; where you are located; the distance you are willing to travel and/or whether you could accommodate potential swinging partners; your sexual orientation; your level of swinging experience; and, critically, what sort of experiences are you looking for and what you do not want e.g. "couples only", "full swap", see Online dating abbreviations. The ubiquitous "sexy fun" is so vague that it is not particularly helpful.

Many people find it very useful to include a photograph of each person advertising. This has the following advantages: you are likely to get more people looking at your ad; the replies you get are likely to be more similar to you in standard of looks; and you are then in a better position to ask for photographs in return from those responding to your advertisement. You may find that posting and requesting normal, clothed pictures in regular situations work best. Also see Weeding out the timewasters below.

One of the downsides of placing a personal ad is that it is likely that only a small proportion of those that reply will interest you. Some who reply will even have ignored totally what you have said you want, it seems that a large number of guys do not understand the phrase "No Single Men"... It does also mean that you will be putting your personal information and intentions in a public domain, see Friends, family and privacy below.

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Online dating abbreviations

Common abbreviations and terms you will come across are:

  • bi: bisexual
  • str8: straight
  • asl: age, sex and location
  • mmf, "mff", "mmff" etc: different combinations of male and female to describe group sex activities
  • Same room/separate room: Both couples play in the same room (common) or when couples swap partners and have fun in different rooms.
  • Soft Swinging: This is the opposite of a "full swap" (see below). It usually means that there will be non-penetrative foreplay and/or girl-on-girl sex all together but that each couple will only have full sex with their own partner (either in front of the others or alone)
  • Full Swap: This is where each person has full penetrative sex with the other's partner
  • Hardened Swingers: Hardened Swingers, generally means experienced swingers, but often used as a negative, eg “we aren't hardened swingers”
  • S&M Sadomasochism. This can range from light bondage to extreme pain so it is best to specify which you are into!
  • Polyamory or poly" relationships: Generally having a loving relationship with more than one person but might also be a regular foursome between two couples.
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Weeding out the timewasters

As with any other relationship with new people, everything is based on the trust between you. There are things that you can do to help to reassure you however. Generally, the more contact you have had with potential swinging partners before you meet, the more likely you are to work out if they are not who they say they are.

Emails, telephone calls, chatting online and exchanging pictures all help although none give any guarantees. Be wary, in particular, of: only the man in a "couple" making contact with you and not giving you the opportunity to speak to or see his partner; inconsistent personal details; and photos which may have been stolen or doctored. It can be very helpful to exchange pictures of the couple together in normal situations e.g. on holiday, at home (these are not as easy to fake as sexy pics that could have been stolen from the net). Even better can be chatting on a messenger service with a webcam each. Most swingers will also be more than happy to meet socially in a public place such as a pub before taking things further - after all, they will have the same concerns about you! Finally, you can meet a range of couples socially with no pressure at events such as the "Socials" arranged by Loungeparties (see "How do I meet people to swing with?", above).

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I'm new, what will be expected of me?

It is extremely unlikely that you will be pressured into doing anything with which you are not comfortable. Make your feelings and expectations known to potential swinging partners and the overwhelming majority will accept them with no questions asked and without putting pressure on you. Of course, it helps enormously if you are clear in your own mind where you would like to set your personal boundaries. You should also have a clear understanding of what your partner feels about what he or she would like to do and what he or she would be comfortable with you doing! Some couples even have special signs or code words to use in swinging situations to tell each other whether or not they are comfortable with something.

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I feel confused about my feelings, is this normal?

It's not unheard of, especially in the early days in a new lifestyle such as this, to feel nervous or confused. Don't beat yourself up over it! The sorts of emotions that arise are very similar to those that you would experience as a single person meeting a potential new partner and getting to know them. Also, you will have the added complication of more people involved and that you are experiencing these things, in most cases, as a couple. Remember also that you may become intimate sexually quite quickly with people that you don't know terribly well in other respects. It is to be expected that, at least at first, you will have to deal with issues such as jealousy, fear of rejection, self-doubt, questioning yourself and others and swinging is bound to bring up questions about your existing relationship that had not previously occurred to you. However, if you have good self-esteem and a healthy, open relationship with your partner, you will deal with any of these negative feelings successfully and you will probably find that your relationships with yourself and your partner are enhanced.

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Turning down advances

This can be a tricky issue, especially if you have come to like someone and do not want to hurt his or her feelings. The best approach is to be open and honest whilst remaining tactful and respectful of their feelings. Let's face it, we all like different types of people and are looking for different types of experiences. If you know that to tell someone the truth would hurt their feelings, it is quite easy to avoid putting them down by citing practical difficulties like the lack of time in your schedule or geographical distance.

The flip side to this is: don't take it personally if someone doesn't want to take things further with you. You may be simply not their "type" although you would be perfect for someone else. There may even be issues in their relationships or lives that prevent them moving forward but of which you are unaware. Keep looking, and when you find other swingers more compatible with you, you are sure to have better experiences.

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Friends, family and privacy

Some swingers are completely open about their lifestyle with non-swinging people that they know and say that their views and experiences are usually met with interest and fascination rather than disgust. Others, however, would prefer to keep this part of their life separate and don't want, for whatever reason, people outside of the swinging community to know that they are part of it. This is an entirely personal decision and, if you let people know that you would like to be discreet, they will almost always fully respect that.

Obviously, if you are using the Internet, for example to post a personal ad and/or pictures of yourself, you will be putting personal information about you and your sexual activities into a reasonably public domain. We don't imagine though that many people who are not swingers or actively considering the lifestyle are paying to join swingers site!

There are also steps you can take to protect your privacy, such as restricting those to whom you give access to your photos, or even using different names until you have come to trust someone.

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