Why We Swing
I’m not going to spend a whole lot of time going into philosophical reasons for swinging, or even anthropological ones (though there are many for both) in this forum, because what I’ve found is that people tend to invent the philosophical and anthropological reasoning as a way of validating their chosen lifestyle. Instead, I’m focused more on why we swing, the “we” being Marilyn and myself. We got into it for all the wrong reasons (according to most websites and books), because we got into the lifestyle to fix something in our marriage.
I know, right? Never become a swinger unless your relationship is perfect, because swinging will magnify all your problems and something, and buzzing, and a high pitched sound. There is a lot of validity to that, I’m sure of it. Swinging has magnified problems, but again as this is a Why We Swing story and not a Why They Swing, or Why One Swings. I can assure you that for us, swinging was the answer to a question that had been nagging us since the beginning of our lives together some 10 years before. Why do we want to fuck other people?
We All Look
From the looks of our friends and loved ones, we were not alone in this thought. Look at sitcoms on TV if you need more proof. I don’t think there’s a “fat guy/cute wife” sitcom out there that hasn’t done the “Why did you look at that other girl? Does she have something I don’t?” plot-line at some point in its run. We’re dishonest though, as a society, because we want so desperately for this to make him “the bad guy.” But don’t worry, ‘cuz they laugh and love their way through it, mostly giving a resounding assurance that “I love you and don’t need anyone else, honey.”
It may be true, that’s the thing. It may definitely be true that he doesn’t need anyone besides his partner, ever in his life, but we all look. That bothered me for many years. I agonized over why my “I want to fuck that girl” drive would so quickly kick in when I’d meet a new female friend. Or why I never seemed to have any female friends I didn’t want to fuck. These are things we’re not supposed to be thinking, right? Right?! So we hide from ourselves and our partners. At least I did. For ten years. I pretended to not think of anyone but her.
The Night I Spilled My Guts
Then it all fell apart. Because as we know, entropy ensures that the center will not hold, and our feebly constructed fantasies will all come tumbling down around us in the end. Or sometimes well before the end. So one night I spilled my guts. It bothered me that I’d only been with one woman besides her, and that we got married too early, and that sex was more of a chore sometimes than it should be. I piled it on, and unfairly so, because I left Marilyn dazed and almost unable to respond. This is why you should most assuredly talk early, and talk often.
She was glad I told her. She was hurt I didn’t tell her earlier. She asked questions, was patient, and for the next month tried very hard to hide her certainty that I was going to leave her. But then, through a lot of soul-searching, she realized a very similar fact about herself. She was also bothered by the fact that she’d only been with me her entire life, that we got married too early, that sex was a chore, and for the first time since our first anniversary, mentioned a vague concern she had sometimes that she might be gay.
Rock bottom was there. We felt like roommates who loved each other and very occasionally had sex…friends more than lovers. It was rough. Despite our friends saying, “You guys have the friendship, many marriages don’t have that,” we even got around to discussing the big D word. But that didn’t last too long. A few days later we both came to each other saying, “I don’t want to get divorced, I want to fix this.” We looked over our issues and came to the conclusion that the rotting core of our problems was this desire to fuck other people. And we both wanted the same thing!
We began to discuss our options. There weren’t many. Taking a break, opening up our marriage so we can see other people, both of these came with the same rather glaring fault, the words, “Yeah, I’m married, but it’s cool, really!” To this day I’m still not sure how that works. But then came the off-hand comment, almost a joke in fact. “Well, there’s always swinging…”
Our Search into Swinging
But the next day, that comment came back. How would that work? I didn’t know, exactly. My only notion of swingers was hardly modern day, as it consisted of the key party from Ang Lee’s The Ice Storm (and that didn’t exactly go well). So we did a Google search and discovered the brilliant site CoupleDoingIt.com and their ‘50s style video about becoming a swinger. It was all so cute, and fun, and... friendly. Suddenly this scary word “swinging” looked like something people like us did.
If people like us could do it, so could we. We pulled the trigger, joined a site, went on a date and officially became swingers; almost a year and a half ago.
So, the crux now is why we swing.
Why Do We Swing?
In the time since those first tentative kisses and gropes, those nights where we needed the ice-breaking games to get naked, the days terrified about what might happen if our friends found out, Marilyn and I have grown closer than ever. We talk about anything on our minds these days. I mean, nothing’s really as bad as that initial conversation. It’s no longer scary to discuss sexual needs and wants, to say things like “I want you to peg me,” and “I’d like to be whipped.” We’ve gone from the “We don’t want to be that couple who only has sex weekly” to the couple who has sex multiple times with each other and multiple times with our other friends on a weekly basis.
Why we swing? Must you really ask? Because we’ve gotten to meet some of the most genuine and open people we’ve ever met. We’ve surrounded ourselves with a brand new crowd that, for the first time, doesn’t have to be held back by society’s decorum and the sexual tension that accompanies wanting to fuck your friend’s wife. We’re on even keel, for the first time in our lives. And now even the problems seem minor.
Do we fight? Sure! Who doesn’t? Has swinging caused issues? Absolutely! The way any new life focus can cause issues that simply couldn’t have been there before without it. Is it worth it? With every fiber of my being, I say “yes.”
Why do we swing? Because we love it. Because we can’t imagine not doing it anymore. It has opened up our lives in so many wonderful ways that we can’t offer enough thanks to those who guided us through those first shaky steps. We went in looking for a simple fix, something that might ignite a flame that really was never in either of us. We found a blowtorch.
Now we try to help others understand why they might or might not be a good match for this lifestyle. It’s not for everybody. The risks are catastrophic. The issues, too. Jealousy is a bitch if you don’t know how to manage it. And it’s true — if you have a bad relationship, it very well may implode. Perhaps we’re just the lucky ones.
We swing because it allows us to see the best in each other, to see why other people find us attractive, to wrap ourselves in the warm embrace of people who understand, to quell the questioning inside that asks if we’re normal, to feel the unbelievable highs of new relationships, and to over and over, experience the joys of unique orgasmic delight.
We swing because we can’t not do it.
This article is an excerpt from my book, My Life on the Swingset: Adventures in Swinging & Polyamory.