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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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