Nudism and Nudists vs Swingers and the Sexy Swinging Lifestyle

| October 1, 2014 | 23 Comments

Swingers and The Swinging Lifestyle Contrasted By Nudism and the Nudist Lifestyle

The Swinging Community and Swingers Vs. The Nudist Community and Nudism

We all know that nudism is not about sex and that swinging is mostly about sex. But what is swinging really? What does it have to do with nudism? In this post we will discuss how swinging is defined, its history and how it relates to nudism.

What is swinging and who are swingers – the basic terms and what they mean:

Swinging is basically described as a non-monogamous relationship in which people engage in sexual activities with others as a recreational or social activity. Please note that swingers can be in a committed relationships or single individuals.

The swingers relationship is also referred to as an open relationship. This is due to the fact that they metaphorically leave the door to their bedroom open to let others enter.

The term “lifestyle” is also a synonym for swinging, as in swinger groups = lifestyle groups.

The Swinger Community:

Based on estimates by the Kinsey Institute in 2005, swingers made up about 2% – 3% of all married couples in the USA (which, at the time, would have encompassed about 4 million people in North America). Recently, some experts estimate that those numbers have grown to about 15 million people who engage in swinging on a regular basis.

Swingers and the swinging community are often misunderstood by the general public. “Normal” people tend to see swingers as freaks and deviants who are unhappy in their marriages and regularly attend wild orgies with complete strangers.

nudism naturism myths misconceptions nudists naturists sex sexuality YNA

Nudists and Sex

Monogamy is allegedly the ideal norm in our culture. This is despite the fact that a national survey suggests that as many as 60 percent of marriages involve cheating in one form or another. But in our society, deviation from that “monogamous” norm is treated with apprehension and / or outright disgust.

However, the swinger community seems to be growing and even getting younger. The advent of new apps dedicated to sexual encounters and the internet may have something to do with that. It is now easier than ever to meet potential new partners. That said, it could be that society is becoming more tolerant, more sex-positive and more open about ethical non-monogamy than it has in the past. After all, swingers aren’t that different from anybody else; they just happen to be non-monogamous.

A Brief History of swinging and swingers in the United States:

It is probably impossible to know when people started swinging in the United States. People are sexual beings, and people have been non-monogamous either openly or behind closed doors throughout history. Some societies have historically advocated for having multiple sexual partners. Royalty and nobles in many cultures had concubines. Let’s not forget Ancient Rome and its enthusiastic and widely accepted practice of orgies as well as alternative sexual practices. That said, practice of modern-day swinging in the 20th century began quite differently.

Nudist Swingers and Nudist Sex Sign YNA

Sign For Nudist Swingers – No Nudist Sex Allowed In Public!

It is thought (according to Terry Gould’s book The Lifestyle: A Look at the Erotic Rites of Swingers) that swinging as we know it today started among military couples during World War II, especially among Air Force pilots. Pilots during this time faced a high mortality rate, and it was expected that pilots who were close to each other would care for each other’s wives should either of them die in the line of duty.

Swinging was thought to have moved into the suburbs in the 1950’s, once again primarily among military couples. The practice was primarily called “wife-swapping” back then, although that term is still used in some circles today, particularly in British tabloids.

The swinger community became a little more visible in the 1960’s thanks to the “free love” movement. The Sexual Freedom League was formed in 1963 in Berkeley, California as the first organization for swingers. The North American Swing Club Association, or NASCA, was ultimately formed to organize swinger groups and to educate people about the lifestyle.

By the 1990’s, swinging became a fairly organized activity. Couples could meet in clubs and be invited to exclusive parties. Many of these clubs and parties had rules and guidelines to ensure the safety of everyone involved. Naturally, these clubs have moved online in recent years. People meet and communicate with each other in online communities and through dating sites, not unlike everyone else in the world.

A Swinger Nudist or Just A Nudist Swinging? by YNA

A Swinger Nudist or Just A Nudist Swinging?

Rules, Communication, Safety and Trust in The Swingers Community

The one thing that needs to be stressed about the swinger community is that communication and trust are very important. People tend to see swingers as sex-crazed maniacs who will sleep with anybody, preferably in groups. Those people definitely exist, but to characterize all swingers in this way is not fair.

Most real non-monogamous couples are very open and trusting with each other. They establish rules and boundaries regarding what is, or is not, okay when it comes to dating and having sex with others and they are expected to follow them closely.

Nudism and Sexuality

Too Sexual For Nudists?

When couples go to parties for the “infamous” orgies that everyone hears about, they go together. These parties are usually invitation-only and everyone makes sure that everyone else is comfortable with what is happening. If someone isn’t comfortable with a certain activity, they don’t have to participate. Consent is crucial, and no always means no.

Swinging is obviously not for everybody, but it really doesn’t deserve the harsh reputation it has in some circles. Real responsible swingers do their best to be as safe as possible. They communicate with their partners, they never deceive others and they respect those both in and outside of the community. Most importantly, swingers are just like anybody else in their day-to-day lives, and they should be treated as such.

No Naked Beach Sex Allowed Sign by YNA

No Naked Beach Sex Allowed !!!!

Swinging should not be done on a whim, especially if it is a couple in a committed relationship. Like in any type of relationship, an open line of communication is key. Many couples who thought they were able to live in an open relationship have discovered that it is not as easy as sex-it and forget-it. It can lead to a quick end to the relationship.

Unlike polyamory, swingers are mostly interested in the sex aspect and for the most part, do not forge long-lasting committed relationships with their sexual partners.

Here are some general rules that guide a majority of swinger clubs and swingers events:

The first and foremost rule: consent is mandatory. NO means NO – Everyone has the right to refuse and there is no compromise here. If you want to touch, kiss or grab someone, you need to ask permission first.

Ladies tend to rule the situation at the parties to make sure they feel secure and are okay with what is going on.

Be courteous and treat others, like you want to be treated.

It is best to talk to couples as couples – Let people know what you are into and looking for.

If you are new to the swinging lifestyle, let them know.

Make the effort to talk to people and be friendly. It is a social gathering.

Arrive as a couple and leave as a couple.

If you have a disagreement that cannot be settled within a few minutes, it is best to call it a night and go home.

Never make a scene at the party as this may result in not being invited back.

Touch base with your partner throughout the evening – Communication is vital, so make sure both of you are comfortable with what is going on around you as well as between you.

Cleanliness is a must – It’s a social situation so be aware.

Dress to impress – Swinging is sexual so you want to look your best.

Do not drink too much at a party – This is not the general rule but is a common practice with many swinger venues.

If you see something, say something. If at any point, someone or something is making you feel uncomfortable, tell your host immediately. Please note that hosts truly want to know so they could take care of the situation before it becomes a major issue.

Privacy is of the utmost importance – what happens at the parties, clubs or get-togethers, stays there.

A Swinger or Nudist - You Be The Judge

A Swinger or Nudist – You Be The Judge

Swinging and Nudism

Due to the strong association between nudity and sex, the nudist community tends to distance itself from these groups. Since nudism is not about sex, many nudists believe that the topic of swinging (or sex for that matter) should be considered taboo within the nudist community.

While there seem to be a good number of swingers who are nudists and nudists who are swingers, it is important to understand that there is a time and place for everything. While we at Young Naturists America believe that whatever happens behind closed doors, between consenting adults, is none of our business, there are people within the nudist circles that that disagree with our approach and deem such people as unworthy of being part of the nudist movement.

Oftentimes, the issue with swingers at nudist resorts is that they try to pick up new sexual partners in inappropriate ways. A single swinger or couple may come off as creepy, too strong in their advances, or don’t want to take “no” for an answer. The targeted person ends up feeling very uncomfortable as a result. Especially if they’re a newbie. This sort of behavior should be unacceptable and reported to the management (or those in charge).

While it is permissible to flirt with someone or ask if they are into the lifestyle, it should be done with a little bit of caution and sensitivity. And of course, no means no. It’s important to keep in mind that many people are already feeling quite vulnerable in a nudist environment. Unwanted sexual advances can be enough to ruin their experience. It can even make them uninterested in returning to a nudist event or resort ever!

While the issue of nudism and sexuality is a hot-button topic, it is important to understand that swingers, for the most part, are not breaking any laws. As long as people respect their social surroundings and abide by the rules of the place or group, we do not see any issues with this sort of lifestyle.

Just like nudists, swingers have their own battles to fight as far as becoming socially accepted. The fact of the matter is that the same religious doctrine that looks down upon nudists will do the same to the swinging community as well (as far as the “mainstream value system” goes).

So in closing, I would love to hear what some of you have to say about the topic of swinging and nudism. Do you think swingers should not be included in nudist events? If so, why? If you think they pose no threat to nudist culture then why do you think so many nudists get all hot and bothered by this topic?

This article, about Swingers and the Swinging Lifestyle vs. Nudism and the Nudist Community, was published by Young Naturists and Young Nudists America YNA

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Category: Nudism and Naturism, Sex Positive

About the Author ()

Jordan Blum is a lifelong nudie and co-founder of Young Naturists America.
  • Nudeyman

    Swinging goes against the non-sexual essence of naturism. In addition, Jordan mentioned a reference to religions going against naturism and swinging. As a Christian, I believe swinging to be wrong but not ethical naturism in any way. Acceptance is key to the naturist movement but there is a line when inviting people in that may be viewing your body differently than someone who is not a swinger. I think that individual clubs should have the right to choose what they allow but that if a club chooses not to allow swingers, that should also be respected.

  • 2015snoopyfan

    I’m new to being a nudist and have yet to visit a social event or club. My wife of 22 years took a short time to get used to me being nude at home but she does not join me on most nights because she finds it less comfortable.

    We had talked about adding sex partners for a while. Last weekend we went to a swingers club. My thought was it would be a safe place to see if I could be nude in front of others without getting aroused since that is frowned upon by nudists.

    I was surprised to be the only guy not wearing clothes in the club who was not having sex. there was only one lady who was also nude the whole time.

    My point is the two lifestyles can coexist. I still plan to visit nude resorts in the future and have no worry about confusing the rules of behavior no matter where I am.

    If we decide to attend more sex parties I will undress as soon as I can whether anyone else does or not. I don’t know if I am a nudist, a swinger or what. I know I like being naked at home, outdoors or anywhere I can be. I still want to try nude  camping and hiking.

    The part about children at family resorts is a concern for me but not because I can’t control myself but because I do a lot of volunteer work with youth groups. I do not want there to be any chance of someone thinking I went to a nude resort to look at the kids.

  • NormaMitchell

    CyndiMartinekPhillips livefyrebob You are spot on, Cyndi. It’s the cheaters, no matter their sexual orientation, who cause trouble. In the nudist or swing lifestyle, there are disrespectful people. 
    It’s an age old story in the nudist parks. Those goofy married guys hitting on women. The problem needs to be recognized and have serious consequences by the management. So the women would have to report the incident and have the guy called on the carpet. The reaction, I’m afraid, is too often that she’s just an uptight trouble making bitch. Who needs that rep? 

    Women need to learn how to handle the hit effectively, which is not easy as sometimes these guys are really persistent.

  • livefyrebob

    CyndiMartinekPhillips livefyrebob 
    thanks for helping me wise up

  • CyndiMartinekPhillips

    livefyrebob CyndiMartinekPhillips Like I said, it’s mostly the married guys, not men in general. At least the swingers are honest with each other about what they are doing with whom.

    Having said that, as a single I want to date nudists so I do want singles to approach me but not just to get laid. We should feel free enough in the bars having a drink to ask someone to dance or whatever we’d ask in a bar outside of the nudist facility. Some clubs make the single men afraid to approach anyone though. 

    Worst of all is when they have the kid’s camps at the clubs. The men are frightened that they will be accused of doing something wrong with them. I’ve heard their comments.

  • gentleyes

    Yes, I think swingers, like any other nudist, should be included in your articles. This was a great article! :)

  • livefyrebob

    CyndiMartinekPhillips livefyrebob 
    It’s worse than I thought.  When will we “men” grow up?

  • CyndiMartinekPhillips

    RoscoeArnold purrsammy Some of the very family oriented clubs have lingerie dances. Even non swingers like to dress up sexy. I am surprised you even know swingers as uptight as you are. Nudists are sexual human beings and should not have to pretend otherwise to suit anyone. That doesn’t mean you harass anyone. It does mean you can be yourself. 

    And you totally misunderstood what purrsammy was talking about when she referred to adults.

  • CyndiMartinekPhillips

    RoscoeArnold Your average person on the street has no idea what nudists do and what our clubs are about. Most swingers do understand the differences and don’t cross lines. It’s the married guys who are the problem at the clubs. Most of the general public still call our hangouts “colonies” and laugh nervously about nudism. The nudist associations have had little impact on the world’s perception of us even though they do grant interviews and show a G rated face.

    Most people would never be interested in trying it so they don’t learn about it. Exactly what club are you going to where all these swingers are trying to swing with average family type nudists?

    I would bet that swingers have been at every club since there were clubs. Big deal. What are we doing about the married guys that bother the women? Seriously!

  • purrsammy

    CyndiMartinekPhillips livefyrebob  I have to agree with Cyndi i get hit on a lot … just not as overtly as in club.  But guys come up and chat with me and suggest things.  And most are married men that aren’t swingers   I, for the most part, politely decline.  But  it’s true that most of the plain nudists are in at night and those with other ideas on their minds are out and about in the evening.  Seems the cover of night lets them be even more that way.

  • CyndiMartinekPhillips

    livefyrebob I don’t feel you are being realistic. Being female I was propositioned all the time in family oriented parks. Some were swingers, some were cheating married guys and a very few were single guys. The singles are too scared at the nudist clubs to do something like that since they are considered expendable as it is. I’d say the majority were cheating guys. The swingers tend to let the women do the approaching from what I’ve seen at Paradise Lakes over the years, usually in the nightclub late at night. At least back then, the nudists ruled during the day and then went home, turning it over to the swing crowd. That is why they are the only ones around that allow clothes in their pools. Most of the swingers were not nudists although some converted after being around it.

  • JoeMel

    Good article. I see no problem with people belonging to more than one community, including swingers, nudists, poly people, sports fans, music lovers, equestrians, or anything else. I think getting someone not into swinging to have casual sex is just as unlikely as getting someone who has no interest in sports to attend a game. In neither case is there anything wrong with letting someone know your interest, or any point in going further if the other person isn’t interested.
    I do like the nudists swinging pictures, BTW.

  • BoydAllen

    I can only warn that since the world (specifically the America’s) seem to see nudity as sex, then they will point to the swinger community as proof of their argument, even though Swingers are not necessarily nudists, and nudists are for the MOST part, not swingers.   However, even that can be hard to prove if Swingers hide their lifestyle while in family friendly naturist resorts. 

    What people are failing to see is that there are more “swinging” and “overt sexual activities” going on in movies and TV shows as well as books and magazines under the pretense of family shows, that they are numb to what they see every day to what they imagine it is like for real nudists.   We have a lot of work to do to point out and show the world what naturism is really about.  

    Swingers will still exist, in closets if they have to, while nudists seem to be easier to target and condemn because of our openness and honesty and family orientation (getting kids involved).  Being honest about who and what we are seems to scare people a lot more than those who live up to the worlds expectations.  Nudists do not live up the expectations of the rest of the world. We don’t do those things they expect us to do. That scares them or makes them angry because we are calling them liars. Swingers are doing what they expect, so they are accepted more so.

  • WzrdWizitch

    Excellent to see members of the international naturist community practising some of the tolerance and understanding they hope to receive from the non-nudist world. Well written and well considered article.

  • livefyrebob

    Anyone who is willing to abide by the behavior guidelines at nudist events should be welcome.  Nudist events are not pick-up events.  I would expect that if I attend a nudist event, I will not be propositioned or asked to join in any sexual activity.

  • PeterVernon

    As my friend and company general counsel would put it in all of his writings “for the avoidance of doubt” I’ll start by saying Kim and I have been together for more than 30 years and are not swingers and have no inclination to join that lifestyle, it’s just not something we want to do. That said we know, or know of, some who are and as nudists to ostracise them for their lifestyle choices would be hypocritical to say the least.
    We tend to cop some of “those glances” when people find out we’re nudists. To then inflict this on otheres seems wrong.
    The interesting thing here is that over the years we’ve been “sounded out” by people within this group twice that we’re aware of and possibly more though to be fair we can be a tad slow on picking up on these sorts of things, well I can be. When we think back on these occasions, including those in the not sure category, none of them occured in a nudist setting or involved people we knew were nudists. So I can only assume that if there are swingers frequenting the same nudist venues as us then they have segregated the two areas of their lives well, and we’ve stayed at “that resort” in Pasco County on 3 occasions.

  • purrsammy

    RoscoeArnold purrsammy

    by saying “be  an adult” I meant be responsible for your choices and respectful of others.  Nothing to do with resorts where there are families.  I have been to resorts where there are kids.  Nothing wrong with that.  

    I’m talking about the morons that think “nudity” is about “sex”.  The behave like schoolyard boys… ohhhhh look at the boobies… it’s childish and immature and not adult.  Adults accept nudity as just that… nudity.  

    So my reference to being adult meant to grow up and not be a repressed child about nudity and or sexuality.

  • RoscoeArnold

    Also, when I say crossover activities… I mean like a bar at a nudist resort. While swingers will attempt to pick up vanilla couples at a bar in a textile environment, they should not at a nudist environment at this time.

  • RoscoeArnold

    purrsammy You do not need to be an adult. That is part of the confusion the public and swingers have. I have swinger friends that feel uncomfortable going to nudist resorts because children are present… and they can not comprehend nudity without sexuality. 

    The reason why nudist parks/resorts/etc should not accept being associated with swingers is children ARE in attendance at most. While I agree “what happens behind closed doors is up to adults,” what happens in public areas of a nudist park/resort should not include any “lifestyle” activities. Approaching people that one doesn’t know yet to swing is one of the activities that should be discouraged, as well as lingerie dances, etc.

  • RoscoeArnold

    Swinging and nudism can coexist in the world, but should not crossover with events or locations until their differences are understood by the general public… and by swingers. 

    Many swingers, new and old, are unaware of the differences and go to nudist venues to find others to swing with. If they want to go with other swingers they met in person elsewhere or online, and then have stuff occur behind closed doors, so be it… but at no time currently should they approach those they have yet to meet and even ask. 

    When nudism is accepted by most in the public, like camping at a KOA or going to a dance club, then it may be different. Until then, even though the fight for acceptance is similar, the fight for acceptance should NOT be fought together as it would continue to link the two in public perception.

  • PatriciaBeach

    100% Spot on!  We have friends who are swingers. They are wonderful people. I’ve always found it bizarre that many in the nudist community, who themselves are often viewed as misfits,  cast the evil eye at swingers.  Our friends go to nudist resorts, but they don’t try to “pick up” other people.  They love being naked in the out of doors and they love having sex with like minded couples. They know that we’re not “like minded,” and still we enjoy each others company. 

    The old time nudist organizations continue to lose members and the battle to preserve clothing optional beaches. I think this is because they insist that to enjoy being naked one must subscribe to an ideology. Lot’s of our friends enjoy hot tubbing naked. Yet they don’t consider themselves nudists. I recently wrote an article about our trip to a nudist resort. I used the term naked several times in the article. I was taken to task by a “nudist” for using the term “naked.” He went on about the sexual connotation of “naked.”

    It’s too bad that we don’t have more people in our community like Jordan. Maybe then we would be gaining more clothing optional beaches rather than losing them.

  • MichaelConnolly

    I used to be the type to condemn swingers and thought that it should not be given any coverage by Nudism outlets, then when I was researching swinger website’s while writing my article about “Dogging” (public sex act with people watching) I discovered there was a code of conduct as you mentioned and that a lot of genuine swingers/doggers were against public sex on nude beaches for the same reasons we were.
    At first I went on a witch hunt against swingers/doggers and I was determined to shut down the websites that were advertising most nude beaches as public sex venues but I found that they also have the same issues with “single males” who turn up on beaches and masturbate next to naked couples… from my “undercover operation” into the swingers forums I came away with a different perspective and attitude.

    The policy of a couple of dogging forums was to not allow advertising of public sex venues or “lovers lanes” at nude beaches so as not to upset Nudists and or have the beach closed.

    I don’t care what peoples sexual persuasion or bent is as long as they are not having sex or preforming sexual acts in public, because nowhere is it legal to have sex in public but on designated nude beaches you can be nude and we don’t want to lose them!

    Here’s a link to my article about dogging:


  • purrsammy

    well written and on the money on the nose.  what happens behind closed doors is up to adults.  there is a protocol to nudity and naturism… be an adult to start with.