Observations from a Shrink on a Lifestyle Cruise: Myths About Swingers

Join me for a few moments as I share with you how my experience with an unlikely group of people -- known as “swingers” -- challenged every sacred assumption I held sacrosanct as I take on the “Myths About Swingers” I had about this growing community.

I recently had an unexpected surprise in my professional life, the kind of thing you just can’t make up. I was asked to be a “contributing content expert” to a swinger dating site that is expanding its reach beyond “swinging” per se with a focus on educating people on healthy relationships and sexuality. I took the gig, which included an invite for my spouse and I to attend an 8-day SDC Lifestyle Cruise for us who are actively involved in the relationship therapy and coaching space.

I’m an unlikely advocate for an alternative lifestyle: a graduate in theology and psychology from Oral Roberts University, a classically trained psychologist with a dual focus in clinical and counseling psychology with a specialization in family psychiatry all at APA-approved university and internship sites with a 3-year post doctorate in Gestalt Psychotherapy. I tell you this not to impress you, but to impress upon you my clinical training indoctrinated me into a very conservatively prescriptive view of relationships in general and monogamy, in particular, filtering all that I was about to experience. Let’s add to this living within a very “vanilla” marriage for 20 years before a divorce, and the irony is made vividly clear.

Join me for a few moments as I share with you how my experience with an unlikely group of people -- known as “swingers” -- challenged every sacred assumption I held sacrosanct as I take on the “Myths About Swingers” I had about this growing community that some believe is going mainstream (over 20% or 1 in 5 people participate in a “consensual non-monogamous relationship” according to Kinsey Institute and Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 2016).


The "failure" of monogamy requires us all to rethink what it means to be in an intimate relationship


Let’s start with a few facts, shall we? Monogamy does not seem to be working very well. That’s true no matter whose stats you use. Here’s what we know:

  • Up to 53% of first marriages end in divorce.
  • Over 60% of second marriages fail.
  • 73% of third marriages also fail suggesting we’re not getting it right even after multiple failures.
  • 1 in 3 divorces are attributed to emotional infidelity (this is due to the advent of social media, the topic of another article … stay tuned).
  • 57% of men and 54% of women admit to having an affair while being in a committed relationship such as a monogamous marriage.
  • The American Psychological Association (APA) reports that up to 40% of divorces are attributable to reports of infidelity (this is likely deflated because most people lie about it and never admit it, and groups like the APA don’t like bad news).

Once you "know" anything, learning STOPS! The scourge of fundamentalism kills learning anything new


Fundamentalism comes in many forms but there are some similar dimensions to the paradigm: An absence of critical thinking (someone else has already done that for you), default to already known assumptions about human nature and “truth” however it’s being defined (‘we have a monopoly on truth’ approach), hubris accompanied by dismissive invalidation of different perspectives (‘you’re ignorant and uninformed’), and an evangelical fervor to be right about a lot of things. It’s comforting to “know” something, but the problem with “knowing” anything is that learning stops. Once you “know” something your mind stops asking new questions and you are left with conclusions about complex issues based on obsolete and prescriptive assumptions.

This was true for me as a classically trained “shrink” where compliance to a type of fundamentalism, the Medical Model, whose purpose is to find out “what’s wrong with people” and how they need to be fixed according to a prescribed standard (e.g. DSM-5).

That was until I met a group of swingers on their own turf in their own village and spent a week with them. Here are the “5 Top Myths About Swingers” that my clinical training taught me, and I believe is representative of how a lot of people think about this emerging sub-culture who seems to be leading the next sexual revolution. (Each myth will be explored in length in articles to follow):

  1. “Swingers are oversexed, amoral counter-culture hippies”
  2. “Swinging is a high-risk behavior exposing a marriage to dangerous and uncontrollable external forces”
  3. “Couples who swing lack commitment”
  4. “Swingers are just trying to hide some deeper psychological problem and don’t respect their partners”
  5. “Swingers can’t possibly value family life and threaten mainstream family values”

Dr. Jay and Liseth

"Dr. Jay and Liseth bring a wealth of seasoned real-world experience to their work of ‘Relationship Mastery’ where together they coach, teach and facilitate programs (public seminars and private retreats) that teach the art and science of “soulmating” (erotic passion + deep friendship = lovers for life). Liseth is a self-made entrepreneur with successful businesses in real estate and international modeling. A Venezuelan goddess who manifested her vision in the United States by becoming a Master Certified Coach (with specialties in wellness, nutrition, life and relationship coaching) and who now works with women to unleash the power of their sacred feminine birthright to live passionate lives of their choosing. Along with her Soul-Mate, Dr. Jay Ferraro, she is co-founder of Soul Mates For Life, an international training, coaching and consulting firm dedicated to couples committed to designing extraordinary relationships of their choosing. The author of the best-selling book, “Surprised by Love” Dr. Jay has appeared on the Today Show, Good Morning America (Australia), The Dr. Drew Show, the Oprah Winfrey Network and is a regular contributor to O Magazine and Psychology Today taking on all the taboo topics others won’t touch. His work is international with celebrities, professional athletes and C-suite utives and their teams as an organizational psychologist and peak performance coach teaching his brand of personal and professional mastery. This dynamic duo bring credentials (licensed clinician/trained psychologist and master certified coach) and proven strategies that work sharing their passionate love story to inspire others to live full out as Soul-Mates For Life!"
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4 Comments
  • Anonymous
GRINGOANDLITINA
May 21, 2020
Here you go! This is a link to our assessment The Lifestyle Inventory Check up which gives you and your partner a FREE assessment to evaluate you LS communication index :) ... there is also an entire program attached to the LIC and it too is free for SDC. Enjoy! https://www.sdc.com/resources/lifestyle-inventory-check-up/
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HONEYCAT
May 20, 2020
we did check out the recommended web site BUT there is nothing about any follow-up on the original article! So what next?
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GRINGOANDLITINA
Apr 20, 2020
No, not at all. They actually have provided SDC more value for free. Check out their series and free assessment on SDC - https://www.sdc.com/resources/lifestyle-inventory-check-up/
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HONEYCAT
Apr 19, 2020
Since the article stops in the middle - are they after money?
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