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When you decide to swing, you don’t necessarily have this tidy list of pros and cons that occur in succession. It’s more of a swirling plethora of emotions as you and your partner explore a new terrain of possibilities within the relationship.
What is interesting about this new terrain, at least for most of us, is it is uncharted territory, so the “list” of pros and cons sort of materializes as you explore. This is all part of the joy you may experience in learning and deepening your relationship through swinging.
Swinging can do wonders for your relationship, so let’s start with the good news first — the pros! If you want to jump to the cons, click here.
This is my favorite pro because it brings the topic of sex off the shelf and pushes it to the front of the line.
I can’t think of anything more loving than to be open and honest with your partner about what you desire sexually. Being able to discuss those desires in a loving and nonjudgmental atmosphere only deepens and strengthens the love between the partners.
I love when John and I can sit and discuss fantasies with each other or have deep conversations about how grateful we are to have such a satisfying sex life with each other.
Whether you are in a long-term marriage or just starting your relationship, swinging is a perfect avenue to experiment with different erotic fantasies.
What John and I have found in our swinging experiences is each new partner provides us with a slightly different prism in which to see sex… a kaleidoscope of movements and emotions and positions in which we gain a deeper insight into each other and what we enjoy sexually.
Bringing fears to the surface may not seem like a pro, but believe me when I say that getting them out in the open is so much better than keeping fears hidden.
In order to deal with our fears, we first must admit we have them. If it bothers you to have your spouse kiss a play partner, for instance, being able to talk about the issue with your partner can and will open the door to deeper levels of trust, honesty, and a team effort in dealing with whatever issues arise.
This can be a difficult one for those outside the swinging lifestyle to understand. How can having sex with someone else ever lead to stronger bonds between a couple?
I know before I became a swinger this was a question I had. I also realized how easy it can be to form opinions about certain lifestyle choices based on what we are told, not what we actually go out and try for ourselves.
Once I realized I was guilty of living my life on the foundation of what others said was correct instead of deciding for myself, I was able to cross that line in the sand and see what would happen if I gave swinging an opportunity.
What I found out was, at least for John and I, the swinging lifestyle was a perfect fit. We are both highly sexual beings (which we also believe to be quite normal) and love being in our relationship with each other, but we also love experiencing the bonding that takes place when we share ourselves with others.
Not only does it satisfy what we believe to be an innate need for variety, but it also reminds us of how lucky and blessed we are to have each other. Plus it makes for some fantastic sexually-charged conversations!
I use this word quite often when I talk about the swinging lifestyle because I love the whole concept wrapped up in its definition. Most of the time you will hear that compersion is the opposite of jealousy.
I read recently in “The Jealousy Workbook: Exercises and Insights for Managing Open Relationships” by Kathy Labriola that one way to work toward feeling compersion is to see jealousy as a “constricted” state and compersion being an “expansive” state.
I love this! I know how much better I feel when I have room to move about, to throw my arms out wide and be free. I also know the feeling of constriction, when something is tightly bound, when I am unable to move, the almost panic that can ensue from this constriction.
If I can keep this image in the forefront of my mind when it comes to my partner, then I will be more conscious of when my behavior or response creates a constricted atmosphere or one of freedom.
OK, now what are some of the downsides of swinging?
Granted even though some swingers like the novelty of having a secret, quite a few feel the need to keep this particular part of there life secret due to society’s view of swinging.
Whether for reasons due to family, friends, job, political, or religious beliefs, unfortunately there are still a lot of people who confuse swinging with cheating or immorality.
When we lose our capacity to embrace differences, we lose the ability to understand and see that even if it is something doesn’t work in our relationship, we shouldn’t penalize someone who believes it to be a benefit in their relationship.
When we take away someone’s right to be who they are, we miss out on all the brilliant differences and the opportunity to learn something new.
This is a big one. When venturing into the swinging lifestyle, it is vital that both people within the couple want to swing.
I have seen instances where one partner wants to swing, and the other partner will agree to this only to keep their partner “happy,” or the agreement to swing is uneven. The partners both agree to swing, but the rules they set up will be out of balance due to one partner’s fears.
Instead of enhancing the relationship, the swinging ends up creating resentments between the couple. Remember honest communication has got to be at the core of any (whether you swing or not) successful relationship.
Just because you and your partner have decided to open the relationship by way of swinging does not necessarily mean you will have an endless supply of play partners.
Being able to find four people who all get along, are all attracted to each other, and have similar play rules can be a challenge sometimes, making play planning feel more like work sometimes.
Whether planning to play together or separately, whether playing in a swingers club or house parties, being able to devote enough time can sometimes be a challenge, especially when our time is already divided between work schedules, kids, sports, and family.
We can be in fear of a wide range of possibilities, from fear of our partner leaving us for someone else to fear of giving or receiving to much attention with a play partner to fear of constantly comparing ourselves to others.
If left unexamined, our fears can create a whole array of emotions, including anxiety, resentment, and jealousy.
Most importantly, it’s necessary to remember our fears can be a pro or a con, depending on what you do with the feeling once it surfaces. If we take our feelings and react or fight against them, then they become an enemy, something to protect ourselves against.
If you are able to talk to your partner about your feelings and learn to talk yourself through them, then your fears become an ally to learning.
Either way, we will learn something. It just depends on what lesson we decide to focus on.
I encourage anyone interested in swinging or open relationships to take that all-important first step into the lifestyle pool to explore and see for yourself whether this lifestyle is something you wish to pursue.
For me it didn’t take long after that first threesome to step back from the pool, jump into the air, and yell “cannonball!”