As exciting and awesome as the rewards of swinging can be, the lifestyle does come with some real worries & risks. You should talk with your partner to see if you are both comfortable with the risks and share your worries with each other. You want to work together when deciding if the risks are worth the potential rewards of swinging.
To help explain the risks you may encounter in swinging, let’s think of your relationship as a car. Right now, you are driving around in your car on local roads doing the speed limit. Your car might have a few dings in it from small things, like a shopping cart bumping into it. Those are your standard vanilla fights. Most relationships can handle driving on local roads with ease. You are moving at a manageable speed with few road hazards and the occasional pothole that can be handled easily at these low speeds.
The swinging lifestyle is like taking your car onto the highway and hitting the gas pedal. A small pothole can become a big problem when you are doing 70mph sandwiched between SUVs and dealing with an 18-wheel tractor trailer weaving into your lane. you want to do everything you can to spot and avoid these potholes. What potholes might you encounter in the lifestyle?
Even if you always use condoms, you can still become infected with some STI’s. Herpes can be spread from skin to skin contact or even saliva, HPV can also be spread from skin to contact, not to mention crabs or syphilis also can be exchanged from simply rubbing thighs together. Many swingers don’t use condoms for oral sex, so you should talk with your partner about your risk comfort level.
You might be surprised to find out that swingers tend not to have significantly higher STI rates than the general population according this study. It makes sense when you stop and think about it. Swinging is not like those random, late-night, drunken hookups that are common among single people. Let’s be honest, drunk people make bad decisions. Swingers know that alcohol is a nice social lubricant, but it is also a boner-killer – so most swingers avoid drinking too much. Going easy on the booze also helps protect couples from doing something stupid that could hurt their relationship.
Swingers also operate as a couple, so you have two minds and sets of eyes to help minimize the likelihood of bad decisions. The swinging community is a strong network of couples that talk with each other. So when a health scare pops up it, it can be identified and addressed quickly. Even though swingers tend to have more sex and with more partners, we are doing it with eyes open and help from others to avoid bad situations. This does not mean swinging is 100% safe because nothing in life is ever 100% safe. Being informed and avoiding drunken and other misguided mistakes protects you and your partner.
If your relationship isn’t very strong right now, the stress from swinging can ruin it. You probably wouldn’t drive a car with a busted windshield and missing doors on a high-speed highway, so why would you take a damaged relationship into the stresses of swinging?
If you have any trust or communication issues, they can become worse when your partner is sexting or flirting with new play partners. Your partner may not even do anything wrong, but if you are uncomfortable you can become defensive or accusatory, turning a slight miscommunication into a horrible fight. To minimize the emotional risks, you want to have great communication skills.
The lifestyle has helped us to greatly improve our communication skills. Before we entered the lifestyle, we used the swinging fantasy as a conversation starter. We watched and read many things about the lifestyle and then communicated with each other about what scared us, what entertained us, and, most enjoyably, what turned us on. Researching the lifestyle and role playing was driving us closer together. We found ourselves freakishly thinking the same exact thoughts throughout the day. We were fortunate to be close with each other at the start of our journey and to move even closer as we progressed.
Some people are not so fortunate. They are fearful that their partner is going to cheat or leave them for someone more attractive, so they reluctantly agree to enter the lifestyle to keep their relationship together. This is a bad idea. A very bad idea. Most people don’t leave relationships because of sex. They leave relationships due to lack of communication, trust, and shared principles. Not being truthful with your partner about your desires or fears is a good way to sabotage your swinging experience – and your long-term relationship.
What about falling in love? Don’t worry. Swingers love good sex and they love their spouses, but in general we tend to only like our play partners. Admittedly, some play partners we really, really like because sex is fun and who doesn’t really like fun friends? Swingers tend to operate as couples, so they aren’t looking to fall in love. A few hours of fun sex just can’t compete with years of building up a connection and sharing the same values and priorities. Swinging is not the same as polyamory.
You have been spending a long time developing a great relationship with your true love. You know each other better than anyone else. Spending a few hours with a fun swinger friend just can’t compete with that type of deep romantic connection. For argument’s sake, let’s say you find yourself developing romantic feelings for a play partner (which is very unlikely). It is probably safest to find a new play partner. Actually, it is the only thing you should do to protect your primary relationship. Your spouse has to come first. It is also worth noting that once you accidentally – or purposely – voice those feelings, your play partner and their spouse will likely choose to avoid you and that potential drama because they love each other. Swinging is about having fun with fun friends. Swingers aren’t looking to replace their special partner because swingers know they already have found the best person to be their special someone.
Being Exposed as Swingers
This is a big fear of many potential swingers. We will talk later about ways to protect yourself from having your regular vanilla world and swinging lifestyle collide. People have been outed as swingers in the past, and unfortunately more will be outed in the future. Your private life should be your own to do whatever you want, but there are negative people in the world who love to gossip and judge others.
One of our friends has a very colorful past – to put it mildly. He has done crazy things, like snorting coke off a hooker’s body (we presume not a dead hooker’s body, but he never said and we never asked). He has a regular appointment for a dominatrix to peg his bum, and gave us these infamous words of wisdom: “never ask a dominatrix to ‘really surprise you this time’”. Oh, and did we mention he is married and cheating on his wife? You would think that if anyone could be trusted and able to deal with our swinging lifestyle it would be this guy. Nope. He knows all about it, and this swinging thing blows his mind. He is super worried for us and keeps telling us how terrible it is (that is when he isn’t doing drugs, visiting his dominatrix, or cheating on his wife).
You should be careful entering the swinging lifestyle and even more careful about who you share your decision with. You may think friends will be accepting but you just can’t predict who will or won’t understand.
If you are lucky enough to have supportive friends, you still need to worry about family, co-workers, employers, neighbors, your kids’ friends and their parents, people you know from church, and so many more. We have heard too many stories about family members shunning their swinging relatives. You may think it is illegal or impossible to be fired for being a swinger. Unfortunately there are creative ways an employer or co-worker can make your life hellish until you quit or get fired over some manufactured reason.
Neighbors that were friendly may start to worry that you are secretly trying to seduce and sleep with them. We know swingers are picky about who they sleep with, but the vanilla neighbors don’t. Some people may start seeing you as a sex-obsessed freak. It just takes one neighbor to say something in front of their kids, who will then spread the gossip around school. Suddenly, your kids are being harassed and bullied over your private sex life.
It’s not fair, but it’s a real risk, and you should talk it over before charging forward and enjoying the sexy swinging lifestyle. To help minimize this risk, check out our page about privacy safeguards.
Eyes Wide Open…
Swinging is dangerous like alcohol. Having a few drinks is unlikely to ruin your relationship … unless your relationship already has problems. Maybe there are money troubles, or maybe you are having a disagreement, or maybe your schedule is too filled. If you don’t have a strong & stable relationship, then getting drunk at your local bar is more likely to cause big problems. It certainly won’t solve anything. When you work on your relationship and are ready to party & celebrate, then the alcohol & swinging will be waiting but until then you should probably hold off.