If you’re interested in dipping your toe into the swinger lifestyle, or even if you’re already an active member of the community, you may be curious about the possibility of regret and what swinger pitfalls to avoid. Simply approaching your partner with the idea of opening your marriage can be scary, and it’s normal to have concerns.
Swinging is supposed to be fun! Life is never perfect, and that includes swinging, so regrets can happen. But regrets don’t need to be a part of your swinging experience as long as you make sure to frequently check-in and be honest with yourself and with your partner. As with anything, it’s easy to get carried away, make compromises, or decide something at the moment that you find uncomfortable later. To help you avoid these regrettable situations, here are some common regrets of swingers that you can better educate yourself about to avoid experiencing them yourself.
Getting into Swinging for the Wrong Reasons
First and foremost, you want to make sure swinging is about you and your partner. There’s a myriad of situations that can be the “wrong reason.” Themes among those are fear, desperation, and boredom.
For example, if you’re thinking of getting into swinging because you think your relationship is in trouble, I have bad news for you. It won’t be the miracle remedy you want it to be. Many swingers talk about how joining the lifestyle made their relationship more robust, and it absolutely can and does for millions of people! But the key to that strength is a solid foundation and a lot of communication. Swinging does not fix cheating. If you’re desperate to try and save what’s left of your marriage after dishonesty or cheating, walking into an open relationship is most likely going to make matters worse.
If you’re interested in the swinging lifestyle because you and your partner are happy together, have discussed the fantasy, and both find it to be a significant turn-on, then by all means – proceed!
It’s essential to be conscious of why you want to explore non-monogamy and be sure your partner is on the same page. Communication is, and we cannot stress this enough, the key to success. This brings us to the next common regret…
Swinging is a team sport! Of course, you’ll have fun flirting with and playing with other couples, but this experience is about you and your partner. Experienced swingers always talk about how going to a club is great, but bringing that energy home is what really breathes life into their sex lives.
Before you take the first steps, you need to communicate. Have a conversation about what you’re looking forward to, ask your partner questions, and agree on what you want the experience to look like. It’s easy to talk about what you do want, but what about what you don’t want? Laying out ground rules is arguably one of the most critical parts of this entire equation. This is true even for the most experienced swingers, but especially for the first time, it’s key to know where to draw the line so that everyone is having a good time. You don’t want to risk your amazing relationship. Swinging is simply a bonus to it, so make sure you clearly communicate to keep the happiness in your relationship the primary focus.
Some things to consider are: will you start with a soft or full swap, is kissing allowed, what about backdoor play, how to handle protection and safety, etc. If you don’t figure these things out in advance, it can be awkward to discuss in front of another couple on the spot, and you might feel pressured to make a response that pleases everyone else in the room, even if you’re not entirely comfortable with it. Cover as many topics as you can think of in advance to avoid confusion in the heat of the moment.
It’s wise to create a safe word and give each other the ability to veto anything at any time. Again, this is about your primary relationship, so your partner should be your priority. Emotional boundaries are just as important as the physical ones, maybe even more so. Talk about what happens if one of you notices an emotional attachment, how much you want to disclose/hear about, or what to do if you’re not as into the other couple as your partner. Even if you don’t think they’re topics you’ll encounter on the first go, it’s important to have an overall shared vision for where the lifestyle might take you so that no wires get crossed.
Changing Rules Mid-Play
Another common regret is making a snap decision mid-play to forego your pre-approved boundaries and do something you haven’t discussed or agreed to do. This mistake can open up an entire can of worms and throw off the whole balance of your swinging arrangement. When passion is running high, one of you (or both) might not be thinking clearly and make an unfortunate decision.
Let’s say you set a rule that you only want to go as far as a soft swap (a pretty reasonable first step!) but then, in the heat of the moment, the couple you’re playing with suggests a full swap. By changing your mind(s) and agreeing to dive into something you weren’t previously ready for, one or both of you might walk away feeling dirty, unprepared, and regretful. Even if you’re feeling good about it at the moment, your partner might not be and might feel pressured to compromise so as not to be the one to kill the buzz.
You can always change your set of rules/boundaries after you’re home and rehashing your night. You may very well decide that next time you’re willing to take things a step further. And the couple you’re playing with should always be understanding of that. The swinging community prides itself on its openness. Everyone is in a similar situation, and everyone knows (or at least should know) that boundaries are fundamental and probably has experience rebounding from swinging mistakes.
Drinking Too Much
Drinking excessively or doing drugs to give yourself the confidence to go through with swinging is always a mistake. You’ll lose control and might end up making a fool of yourself or doing something you don’t want to do. For guys, it could lead to trouble getting it up. No good comes from overindulging when swinging, so keep the liquid courage to a minimum. Try some fun non-alcoholic mocktails. Remember, you both want to have clear minds so you can look out for yourself & your partner to keep your relationship safe & happy.
Lowering Standards & Settling
Being picky is okay; it’s not selfish or rigid. You never need to settle for a couple that you’re not into because there are so many options out there! Remember, the worst-case scenario is you play with the sexiest person – your own partner. There is no need to do anything with anyone that you don’t want to do.
If you end up lowering your standards and hooking up with a couple you have no chemistry with just for the sake of it, you may regret it later. You don’t have to wait for your swinger soul mates, but you should be attracted towards them, feel comfortable being around them, and be excited to be together.
This also means not settling for rules your partner lays out if you disagree with them. If your partner wants to meet up with someone alone and you’re not comfortable with it, you don’t have to pretend it’s okay and can politely reject them. Swinging is a journey for both you and your partner, and if you’re not both winning, you need to reassess some things.
You can mitigate the risk of regret with open and honest communication. You’ll never regret giving something a go if you stick to exploring as a team, stay in control, and keep those communication lines open at all times. You’ll get into the swing of things (pun very much intended) as you explore the wonderful world of non-monogamy together.