Would you ever swing?
September 15th, 2011
09:49 AM ET

Would you ever swing?

Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs about sex on Thursdays on The Chart. Read more from him on his website, GoodInBed.

No, I’m not talking about ballroom dancing. This is a sex column, after all.

With buzz-terms like “monogamish” and “negotiated monogamy” making headlines, many couples are discovering that they have a shared appetite for sexual adventure, and that getting it on with another couple may be the golden ticket – not just to thrills, but also to staying together and surviving another day in the life of a relationship.

While the term “swinging” may be a throwback to the 70s and the days of Plato’s Retreat, more and more modern couples are hooking up with other couples, either informally or through networks or clubs.  And, of course, like all things online, the Internet has amplified these opportunities and made it easier to find couples and clubs in a neighborhood near you.

As with most sexual activities, there haven’t been many studies into the prevalence of swinging - and many people who do it don’t necessarily want to admit it - but some experts believe that there could be as many 15 million Americans swinging on a regular basis. Chances are you have a friend or neighbor who is swinging.

As I’ve written about previously in this column, I often run into two “sexual types” in my work as a sexuality counselor: “comfort creatures” and “thrill seekers.” The former takes a “less is more” approach to sexual novelty, while the latter often have a “more, more, more” attitude.  Usually this dichotomy isn’t an issue when two people find themselves at the same end the spectrum.

For two comfort creatures, for example, swinging isn’t probably high up on their sexual bucket list, although it might well be a fantasy.  Exhibitionism, voyeurism, watching a partner have sex with someone else - these are very common fantasies, and, in many cases, sharing a fantasy can lead to an actual exploration of fantasy, especially when one partner is hankering for a bit more sexual adventure.

“My husband and I had some confusion that we had to get straightened out,” a client whom I’ll call Kelly told me. “I feel very comfortable in our relationship, and I have a vivid fantasy life.  I think of myself as a very sexual person. But when I mentioned my fantasy of watching him get it on with another woman, he wanted to make it a reality. At least he thought he did. We perused some sites, which was fun, but in the end, neither of us decided to pursue it. It just looked too sleazy. Luckily, the subject was dropped.”

But for couples with a genuine appetite (and stomach) for sexual novelty, swinging might not be a big deal and might even be a counterintuitive way of strengthening their sense of fidelity and identity as a couple.  It’s monogamy on shared terms. In fact, many couples who swing together paradoxically have even stronger sexual boundaries than couples who do not.

But swinging can backfire, too.  I worked with one couple who liked to swing on a regular basis, but the reason they ended up in my office was because she had major problems with all of the stuff he kept to himself: flirty friendships, porn usage, his enjoyment of strippers.  She had no problem with swinging, but in every other way she demanded more exclusivity from the relationship than many far less sexually adventurous women would require.  From her perspective, swinging was just another way of sharing everything, including sex.

And for many couples, swinging is by no means a replacement for sex; it’s an augmentation, and very different than actual lovemaking with their partner.  Many couples use occasional swinging as an opportunity to jumpstart their sex life and break out of a rut. “Swinging strengthens us,” says Jenny, a mother of two.  “It’s something we do once or twice a year.  We enjoy the scoping out of another couple, the flirtation, the sex, but also the way we talk about it for weeks after and incorporate into our fantasy life.  We love having a secret life together – a whole different community than the ones we see at PTA meetings – although we’re just waiting for those worlds to collide.”

But swinging certainly doesn’t work for everyone, especially couples in which one partner is going along for the ride with another partner, like when a true comfort creature is paired with a thrill seeker.  Then it becomes a form of sexual pressure, and can lead to disastrous results.

And sometimes we think we know what we want, but the process of discovery has unintended results.  Ken, who had to convince his wife to give swinging a go, said, “I was prepared for everything, except seeing my wife kiss another man - out of the whole experience that’s the image I can’t get out of my head: her kissing another man.  The moral of the lesson for me: Swinging is something a couple should work towards in their relationship, not begin with.”

Ken’s wife wanted to give it another whirl, this time with the rule of no kissing.  Meanwhile, Ken wanted to drop the whole thing.

Monogamy: what a concept.

soundoff (1,610 Responses)
  1. semi truck paint shops near me


    May 27, 2021 at 04:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. rv parts and service near me


    May 27, 2021 at 04:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Tembepteriope

    sildenafil 50 mg sildenafil 20 mg tablet sildenafil mechanism of action sildenafil 100 mg https://chloroquinesusa.com/ – sildenafil moa

    May 27, 2021 at 05:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Tembepteriope

    how does sildenafil work sildenafil 50 mg tablet sildenafil citrate side effects sildenafil cost https://azithromycineef.com

    May 27, 2021 at 06:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. truck box repair

    I seriously love your website.. Pleasant colors & theme. Did you create this amazing site yourself? Please reply back as I’m looking to create my own personal site and want to learn where you got this from or what the theme is called. Thanks!


    May 27, 2021 at 06:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Tembepteriope

    https://hydrochloroquinesol.com/ sildenafil 20 https://hydroaralenus.com/ – sildenafil for pulmonary hypertension how does sildenafil work

    May 27, 2021 at 07:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. click here

    Hi there, I found your site via Google at the same time as looking for a similar subject, your site came up, it appears great. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.


    May 27, 2021 at 08:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Tembepteriope

    sildenafil citrate 20 mg hims sildenafil what is sildenafil citrate what is sildenafil citrate https://hydroaralen.com/

    May 27, 2021 at 08:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. RV Windows Near Me


    May 27, 2021 at 08:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Tembepteriope

    buy sildenafil sildenafil reviews sildenafil walmart how long does sildenafil last https://chloroquineef.com/

    May 27, 2021 at 09:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. RV Headlights California


    May 27, 2021 at 10:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. rv cabinets and furniture

    You should take part in a contest for one of the highest quality sites on the net. I most certainly will recommend this blog!


    May 27, 2021 at 11:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. trailer parts orange county


    May 27, 2021 at 11:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Tembepteriope

    sildenafil 20 mg not working https://hydroxychloroquinebnb.com/ – sildenafil 100mg price sildenafil 30 mg sildenafil 50 mg http://tadarisetadalafil.com/

    May 27, 2021 at 11:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Tembepteriope

    sildenafil and alcohol how long does sildenafil last sildenafil interactions https://tadalafiltrx.com/#

    May 27, 2021 at 12:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Tembepteriope

    sildenafil 20 mg dosage sildenafil generic sildenafil 50 mg sildenafil citrate 20 mg https://cialisfil.com/#

    May 27, 2021 at 13:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Tembepteriope

    sildenafil citrate 20 mg https://chloroquinesen.com/ – sildenafil mechanism of action sildenafil uses sildenafil moa https://hydrochloroquinetrx.com/

    May 27, 2021 at 14:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. How did these companies use Machine learning technology in their work?

    Hello! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any issues with hackers?
    My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing months of hard work due to no data backup.

    Do you have any methods to prevent hackers?

    May 27, 2021 at 14:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Tembepteriope

    sildenafil uses https://tadalafilfil.com/# sildenafil precio sildenafil para que es sildenafil citrate side effects

    May 27, 2021 at 15:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Tembepteriope

    buy sildenafil https://chloroquinervn.com/ sildenafil sildenafil moa sildenafil para que es

    May 27, 2021 at 16:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. EncoxDev

    global rx pharmacy irvine online classes for pharmacy technician canadian pharmacy androgel pump

    May 27, 2021 at 18:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. sofa upholstery repair near me


    May 27, 2021 at 18:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. www

    Great blog here! Also your site loads up very fast! What host are you using?
    Can I get your affiliate link to your host?
    I wish my website loaded up as fast as yours lol

    May 28, 2021 at 00:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. orange county trailer repair


    May 28, 2021 at 01:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. tire stores in orange county ca

    Everything is very open with a precise clarification of the challenges. It was really informative. Your site is extremely helpful. Many thanks for sharing!


    May 28, 2021 at 02:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. RV Parts Los Angeles


    May 28, 2021 at 02:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. orange county tire

    Your style is really unique in comparison to other folks I have read stuff from. Thank you for posting when you've got the opportunity, Guess I'll just book mark this page.


    May 28, 2021 at 05:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Tembepteriope

    how much sildenafil should i take sildenafil warnings sildenafil cost https://cialisbtc.com/#

    May 28, 2021 at 07:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Digital Marketing Company Near Me

    I seriously love your blog.. Excellent colors & theme. Did you build this website yourself? Please reply back as I’m trying to create my very own blog and would love to learn where you got this from or what the theme is named. Appreciate it!


    May 28, 2021 at 09:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. mattress repair service


    May 28, 2021 at 11:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. paint repair shops near me

    Hi, There's no doubt that your web site could possibly be having browser compatibility problems. Whenever I look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine however, if opening in Internet Explorer, it's got some overlapping issues. I merely wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other than that, excellent site!


    May 28, 2021 at 11:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. truck roof repair


    May 28, 2021 at 16:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. progressive repair center

    Pretty! This was a really wonderful post. Many thanks for providing this info.


    May 28, 2021 at 16:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. bowersox truck repair


    May 28, 2021 at 19:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. RV Plumbing California


    May 28, 2021 at 19:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. RV Renovation Riverside


    May 28, 2021 at 20:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Mercedes Benz Sprinter Repair Shops Near Me


    May 28, 2021 at 21:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. free gay vidioes


    May 28, 2021 at 22:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. EncoxGtv

    how much do prescription drugs cost without insurance? canadian vipps certified online pharmacy uk pharmacy no prescription

    May 29, 2021 at 08:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Local Marketing Companies

    I love it when individuals come together and share ideas. Great website, stick with it!


    May 29, 2021 at 08:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. EncoxAni

    pharmacy in vancouver canada https://pharmacyken.com/ – mexican pharmacies online canadian online pharmacy reviews

    May 29, 2021 at 08:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Company Van Repair Shop

    Hi, I do believe this is an excellent web site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I'm going to come back yet again since I saved as a favorite it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to help others.


    May 29, 2021 at 09:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Semi Truck Dent Repair Shop

    An impressive share! I've just forwarded this onto a co-worker who had been conducting a little homework on this. And he actually bought me breakfast because I stumbled upon it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending time to discuss this matter here on your site.


    May 29, 2021 at 14:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Mercedes Cargo Van Repair Shop


    May 29, 2021 at 15:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Technician

    Pretty! This has been an incredibly wonderful article. Thanks for supplying this info.


    May 29, 2021 at 21:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Sprinter Van Mechanic Shop

    This is a topic that's close to my heart... Thank you! Where are your contact details though?


    May 30, 2021 at 02:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. what is loose leaf tea

    Thank you, I've just been looking for information approximately this topic for a long time and yours is the greatest I have discovered so far. But, what in regards to the conclusion? Are you certain concerning the supply?


    May 30, 2021 at 02:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. storm repair near me randolph county

    very nice! Ireally like your blog


    May 30, 2021 at 03:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. MileSwa

    cialis generic cheap prices https://ckacialis.com/ – cialis cialis capsules canada

    May 30, 2021 at 04:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Local Marketing Agencies

    Great post. I'm going through many of these issues as well..


    May 30, 2021 at 04:07 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.