Swingers – Happy, Safe,
Healthy, Well Adjusted, Mainstream Americans
research report "Related to Bigotry: The Repression
of Swingers in Early 21st Century Britain at 1. http://www.libertarian.co.uk/lapubs/socin/socin028.htm
Swinging is a safe, international, middle class and increasingly
popular leisure choice for married and courting couples.
Swinging is an enthusiasm that crosses social, economic,
political and religious boundaries. The existence of a Christian
swingers organization in the USA is not as surprising as
one might suppose (though they seem aware of the irony of
their position). See http://www.libchrist.com
) American research has consistently found that swingers
are, as Bergstrand & Williams say "surprisingly
mainstream, even conservative, in their characteristics."
says Bergstrand & Williams (2000) para 7 www.ejhs.org/volume3/swing/body.htm
90% of swingers identify with a religion and up to 47% regularly
attend their place of worship. (Ibid. para 7 citing Friendship
Express 1994 & Miller 1994.)
More recent research (Bergstrand & Williams (2000) has
suggested lower levels of religious attachment that nevertheless
are still higher than the norm. US swingers tend to be Republicans,
middle to upper-middle class, middle-aged and (over 90%)
white. They are less racist, less sexist and uphold traditional
relationship roles less than the population at large, though
they place the same importance on marriage and family life.
The incidence of disturbed family backgrounds (a charge
levied by critics of swinging) is lower than average.
Bergstrand & Williams (2000) justify their academic
interest in swingers by recounting American rates of admitted
affairs (37% of husbands, 29% of wives), divorce, family
instability and neglected children. In the light of this
"any attempt to redefine "love" and strengthen
the marital bond is worthy of our attention. If swingers
have found a way to stabilize relationships, prolong family
ties, and enrich the lives of couples we would be remiss
if we did not take their lifestyle and their redefinition
of monogamous love seriously."
It is not claimed for swinging that is appropriate for every
relationship or even a large percentage of them. What is
claimed is that it benefits or at least brings harmless
enjoyment to a proportionately small but numerically large
minority of couples. Estimates for the proportion of couples
in the US who have included something that can be described
as swinging at some point in their relationship vary from
1% to 15%.
Although sexual promiscuity is posited as the antithesis
of emotional fidelity in the western romantic tradition,
swingers maintain that joint experiences of recreational
sex enhance their sexual and emotional bonds. By openly
acknowledging their individual desires for sexual variety
and pursuing these needs together, swingers claim to obviate
the usual sources of deceit, betrayal and guilt in relationships.
These destructive impulses, they say, are replaced with
a deeper understanding and a higher plane of trust.
Some have argued that because of the very high degree of
mutual knowledge and trust, this mental bond displaces sex
from its status dictated by Judeo-Christian tradition as
the central mystery of a relationship. Anne Terrien, a student
at George Washington University, elucidated this point in
a precocious conference paper delivered in 2002: "At
the heart of a strong swinging relationship is not sex at
all; rather, there is the openness, trust, and communication
necessary to both talk openly about desires and fantasies
and to act on them within the bounds of commitment."
Scientific Studies quoted and referenced from http://www.feverparties.com
Scientific research on swingers in the USA has consistently
found that swingers have better pair-bonds than monogamous
couples. The most recent and most thorough research found
swingers are happier in their relationships than the norm.
60% of swingers said that swinging improved their relationship
and only 1.7% said it made their relationship less happy.
Half of those who rated their relationship very happy before
becoming swingers maintained it had become even happier.
90% of those with less happy relationships said swinging
improved them. Almost 70% of swingers claimed no problem
with jealousy, around a quarter admitted to some jealousy
but only 6% said it was very much a problem.
Swingers rate themselves happier (59% against 32% very happy)
and their lives much more exciting (76% against 54% exciting)
than does the rest of the population, by surprisingly large
margins. There was no difference between the responses of
men and women.
Hard to believe? This study - Bergstrand & Williams
- was carried out in 2000 by a private Catholic university
in the USA with an upper middle-class conservative reputation.
Read it here. http://www.ejhs.org/volume3/swing/body.htm
Earlier research going back over 30 years broadly confirms
the same conclusions. So far no published research has validated
popular misunderstandings about swinging or the prejudices
of the bigots.
Authoritative estimates place the rate of serious relationship
problems caused by swinging at between 2% and 6% of participants.
Comparing this with the 70% failure rate of first-time marriages
and the high break-up rates of other monogamous relationships,
it is tempting to conclude that relationship breakdown is
essentially a phenomenon of monogamy.
is an earlier study:
Traditional Marriages and Emerging Alternatives Butler,
Harpe & Rowe 1979 (excerpts)
Being a swinger does not make catching an STD more likely.
There are no public health concerns associated with swinging.
None of the countries that have large numbers of legal swingers
clubs (there are 50 in the Netherlands alone and 400 in
the USA) report any increase in sexually transmitted infections
in the vicinity of swinging premises or in relation to swinging
This is because swingers use condoms for penetrative sex.
All swingers clubs have rules about condom use (ours is
here) and the irresponsible are excluded.
Surprisingly even before AIDS, when sex in swinging clubs
(and everywhere else) was often unprotected, swinging clubs
were not high risk areas for STD transmission. The type
of people who swung were responsible middle-class couples,
usually married and middle-aged, and therefore in the lowest
risk groups for having STDs in the first place.
Some other sex scenes have been associated with high STD
transmission. In particular, of course, the gay scene has
been associated with HIV/AIDS through ‘barebacking’
(unprotected anal sex).
The only ever case of HIV transmission in swinging also
involved anal sex. In 1986 two women in a Minneapolis swingers
club contracted HIV through repeated unprotected anal sex
with two bi-sexual men. Neither woman infected their other
partners. Needless to say, this does not typify swingers'
behaviour in the C21st.
Dave notes, a very active bisexual HIV+ male passed HIV
to two women who belonged to a swing club with whom he had
anal sex. The man was from another city and was not a club
member. The sex took place outside the club so it wasn't
directly swing related. However, everyone in the club was
understandably terrified and the Dept of Health came into
the club and offered HIV testing and almost everyone was
tested. No one else tested positive but the club closed
since everyone was so scared. Now we know that anal sex
is a very dangerous activity and almost the only way it
spreads sexually heterosexuality. . Now we know why from
the huge number of documented studies and CDC data that
show the very low risk to healthy heterosexuals that are
not in any high risk group (needle sharing drug user or
bi male who is HIV+ giving anal sex to a female which is
very high risk). This low risk applies to about 99% of swingers.
For extensive articles on HIV and the low heterosexual risk,
especially for swingers see http://www.libchrist.com/std/2000aidsrpt.html
More recent CDC data confirms these earlier studies.
MORAL PANIC AHEAD!
In 2003 speculation began about why sexually transmitted
infections were rising among the middle-aged. One of the
suggested reasons was swinging and that inevitably grabbed
some media attention despite being the least credible of
the probable causes.
The hypothesis – for there has been no research –
was that older people have never learned to use condoms
because any pre-martial sex in their past was before the
AIDS scare. Unfortunately this contradicts the research
that actually has been done on swingers.
Swinging has always been mainly middle-aged, so a further
explanation is required as to why this condom-shyness has
struck now rather than in previous decades. As we related
above, US research suggests not only that middle aged swingers
tend to be of a social type that makes them very responsible
when it comes to sexual health. It also shows them to be
the strata of the population – married and middle
class with families - least likely to have STDs to pass
on in the first place.
It is true that swinging has grown at an exponential rate
over the last decade. However even if it had grown by 1000%,
1000% of zero infections is still zero.
In fact perfectly adequate explanations for the whole problem
were included in the reports, they were just sidelined by
the sensationalism of blaming swingers. A survey of Good
Housekeeping in April 2003 found that 200 of 500 women (not
swingers) over 40 had been unfaithful to their partner –
a whopping 40%! The National Survey of Sexual Attitudes
and Lifestyles shows not only a relatively high turnover
of relationships among 35-44s (15% of men and 11% of women
had acquired a new partner in the previous 12 months) but
that 10% of men and 7% of women in the same age group have
been sleeping with more than one partner at the same time.
Dave notes, these studies were about the general population,
not swingers. Swingers share with others more honestly,
with their partners vs. the usual "affairs" and
dishonestly that is common in non swingers.
The facts are that the true cause of the rise in STDs is
the decay and breakdown of long term monogamous relationships
of people in middle age. Swingers’ hands, as it were,
are clean. Nevertheless moral authoritarians on the right
and sectarian feminists on the left are capable of using
the flimsiest pretext to demand action against swingers.
Swingers need to be vigilant that misunderstandings, distortions
and downright lies about our lifestyle do not get out of