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UPDATED: Jan. 5, 2021 —

Most children don’t dream of growing up, meeting their soul mate, marrying their soul mate, and then have sex with other people while letting their spouse do the same. In other words, most of us aren’t naturally predisposed to swinging. Some argue that humans are predisposed to be promiscuous, and sleep with plenty of people. Some argue we’ve evolved to be monogamous. But few people agree we’re meant to be in some in-between area, where we’re both committed to one person and sleeping with plenty of others. But that’s exactly what swinging is. By definition, swinging is a sexual activity in which both partners in a committed relationship sexually engage with others for recreational purposes.

“Getting into a rut in life is NOT fun, but it can be even worse when it’s in the bedroom,” says Dr. Donna Oriowo, sex therapist and founder of AnnodRight. “Swinging allows for a whole different experience and a whole new world of sexual tastes. You get to learn from others, add people to the mix, and maybe expand the sexual acts you’re willing to try!”

If our DNA, our upbringing, and our society don’t prompt the decision for a couple to become swingers, what does? You’ve probably wondered that when you’ve met swingers, or when married friends of yours have told you they’re going to start swinging. If having an open marriage is on your list, just be sure you are open with your partner. In a 2019 study conducted at the University of Rochester, researchers found that “Secrecy surrounding sexual activity with others can all too easily become toxic and lead to feelings of neglect, insecurity, rejection, jealousy, and betrayal, even in nonmonogamous relationships.” The same researchers also noted that the success of open relationships hinges on solid communication between all parties involved. If you think swinging is for you, it’s worth giving it a try.

If you’re exploring an open relationship with your mate, here are some of the top reasons to consider it:

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1. You don’t want to cheat or split up

Sometimes a couple realizes they both have a strong desire to experience other sexual partners, but not for lack of loving each other or still wanting to have sex with each other. They don’t want to have to split up because they sleep with other people, and they don’t want to lie to each other about it, either.

“Often, we are taught that sexuality should be expressed in the confines of a committed relationship or marriage,” says Dr. Oriowo. “For women, especially Black women, there is the added layer of being a hoe which would make someone seemingly unsuitable for life as someone’s wife. This can lead to a lot of missed hoe-opportunities or (heuxpportunities) which then can be regained through a relationship that allows swinging.”

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2. You’re bisexual

If one or both people are bisexual, then the only way they can really be satisfied is by swinging. Some would say it’s unfair for a person who is bisexual to be limited to only sleeping with one gender their entire life. And in many couples, a person doesn’t consider it cheating if their partner is sleeping with a person whose gender is different than their own.

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3. Your sex life is dead, but your bond is not

Some couples just lose the flame, but are still best friends who care deeply about each other, lead a very satisfying life together, and feel very connected on other levels. They don’t see why they should have to miss out on the sexual side of life, nor do they want to break up, so they swing.

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4. You have kids

Some couples swing as a way of staying together but not really staying together. They’re great co-parents and they don’t want their children to grow up with divorced parents. They get along fine, but are no longer in love. They don’t get a divorce, but they swing instead so they can both be satisfied.

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5. Your partner is voyeuristic

Swinging can be a huge thrill for voyeuristic individuals or individuals with sexual fantasies that involve more than two people. These couples may not swing regularly, but occasionally, as a way of fulfilling certain fantasies.

“If you are or suspect that you attracted to other than who you are married to or in a committed relationship with, then swinging can allow you space to further explore your sexuality without feeling like you have to stop your current romantic involvements,” says Dr. Oriowo.

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6. You’re into jealousy/competition

Some couples need a certain level of jealousy and competition to feel aroused. Swinging provides this but within safe and clear boundaries. They get the thrill of feeling jealous, without the anger that can come with being cheated on.

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7. You are a rule-breaker

If both individuals don’t care much for traditional, well, anything, then they may get into swinging. Maybe they even get off on doing things society would see as “naughty” or “abnormal.”

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8. You weren’t meant for monogamy

Some people genuinely feel they aren’t meant for monogamy. They don’t enjoy the pain they bring to their partners by cheating, but they’ve never been able to sleep with only one person for an extended period of time. Swinging gives them an option to live their true nature without hurting anybody.

“No one person can meet all of your needs in a romantic or any other type of relationship,” says Dr. Oriowo. “This is a false narrative that so many people grow up with. However, if you and your beau are into swinging, this gives an opportunity for you to have all your sexual needs met by a variety of people as opposed to feeling sexually trapped in a marriage.”

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9. Sex isn’t emotional for you

For some people, sex and emotions don’t go hand in hand. Sex is just a physically pleasurable act, like getting a massage or eating their favorite food. For this reason, they don’t feel their relationship is enhanced by remaining monogamous.

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10. You need to enhance your trust

Many couples believe that swinging is the ultimate way to enhance trust in a relationship. They think that if you loosen your partner’s leash and let them play near the edge of acceptable behavior and they don’t push it, then you can trust them under any circumstances.

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11. Divorce is on the table

The reality is that for some couples, swinging is just the last stop before the divorce. They think perhaps their relationship just needs some spicing up, or that they’re just not monogamous people. But they find that swinging doesn’t fix their bond and that they, in fact, have fallen out of love.

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12. You’re ready to join the community

The swingers community is about a lot more than sex. There are swingers night clubs, bars, pool parties, cruises, and resorts. Whatever fun you’re looking for, it exists in the swinger’s world. Swingers tend to stick together and become friends, so it’s very common to hang out with other swingers outside of the bedroom.

Part of joining the community is finding ways to meet new people, but also learn more about yourself.

“I am a staunch advocate for knowing yourself in all aspects that one can,” says Dr. Oriowo. “We learn a lot in group environments. Not only do we learn and gather varying perspectives on how to complete the [task], but also learn about ourselves and how we work with others in the process. Swinging provides an opportunity to learn about the sexual styles of others, experience those styles, and in doing so, learn about yourself and what you like in the process. It’s probably the best group project to be in on.”

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13. Uneven sex drives bore you

If one person has no sex drive or a very low one, and the other has a very high sex drive, they may agree to be swingers so that the person with the higher sex drive can be satisfied regularly.

Typically, the person with the higher libido will naturally swing more, but it’s only fair that both people have the option to swing. If you have uneven sex drives, be sure to talk with your partner about your feelings so both parties are fully aware of the issues at hand.

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14. You need to be fulfilled

For some individuals, swinging goes beyond sex. They have dates with the people they swing with and even go on weekend getaways with them. In some cases, their spouse appeals to 80 percent of their personality, and they seek other partners to satisfy the other part of their personality.

So long as this is something both people are okay with, it can actually enhance the relationship and prevent arguments around their differences.

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15. In your mind, marriage and sex are separate

Some people see marriage as an institution that is strictly about raising children in a stable environment, getting tax breaks, and other logistical factors. But they don’t really see sex and marriage as one and the same. If both parties feel this way, then swinging is the natural decision to explore.

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