We are socialized each day to embrace monogamy. It’s not only knitted into the culture but also often attached to our personal identity. Societal expectations and our self-image can create an emotional conflict when exploring the swinging lifestyle. This conflict might trigger feelings of guilt and fear of doing something sinful.
So what happens when you are facing this conflict that is bringing up feelings of guilt or sin? It brings us back to our roots, tradition, and cultural norms.
When someone is involved in behaviors contrary to what is culturally approved, a state of emotional conflict, or even crisis, occurs. Dealing with mixed feelings, people tend to question their self-worth. They may even wonder why something that feels good causes grief and sorrow. Swingers may even reconsider their current non-monogamous lifestyle and even try to return to the “right path” that is more acceptable to society. They will think about hiding the urges or pretending they don’t have them. This outcome can turn into a bad downward spiral– leading to repression, potential depression, anxiety, and other forms of distress.
We want to be careful and make sure we choose the right path and not simply the easiest solution, which can cause more trouble in the long term.
What comes with guilt?
The guilt usually sets in the next few hours, days, or months after participating in swapping, most often followed by the sense of shame, a belief they had betrayed their spouse, and a fear of losing them. Another emotion swingers frequently experience is a fear of discovery – by their children, parents, society.
Denying can’t heal the confusion and the guilt because it proves that what’s done is sinful, and a person should hide it. Guilt could also be the mask for other feelings like rage, fear, hurt, or anger, so constant exploration is needed!
So how can we healthily deal with this?
First of all…Talk about it!
Suppose a person is free enough to discuss it with friends or family (besides your partner). Not everyone has this option as they may live in an unwelcome community that does not understand alternative approaches to living your life. You can reach out to fellow swingers for support. There are many swinger forums, including the ones on your online local swinger dating site. This is a good way to reach out to others who have had very similar experiences.
There is a saying that sometimes our thoughts lose weight when we say them out loud. To make it easier, a person should open up about true emotions. Talking with your partner is important – sharing passions and fantasies, checking if they feel the same way and would like to continue with swinging or not. Identification with the partner’s responses will positively help in directing bad feelings, so as the insight that you’re not alone.
In our nature, it is to seek reassurance that we’re not as terrible as we think, whenever we feel like we are doing something sinful! Discussion with other people that share the same experiences can be quite supportive!
Often, talking about it will help calm down the feelings and allow you to become more comfortable with this non-monogamous swinging approach to life. Complete acceptance can take time, and the process won’t happen overnight. Therefore, overcoming the guilt could be a true challenge, and sometimes, even if a person manages to do it, a battle with regret or shame can still be present.
Can professionals help?
Addressing the dilemma directly to a professional therapist could be even more useful! Warm advice from someone who is educated to help us brings relief. It also brings support in understanding if present feelings are okay or not and which coping mechanism should we use to feel better.
Since there are therapists who are not strictly professional and will prefer expressing their opinion instead of objectivity, it is necessary to find the right expert in this field! Therefore, you should search for therapists who are sex-positive and keep in mind that you have the right to interview a few therapists to decide if they’re right for you!
From awareness to action
Some research shows swapping partners can be achieved without jealousy or guilty feelings by avoiding emotional attachments to others and staying emotionally loyal to each other. One of the most effective things is to be as aware of our feelings as possible and say them clearly, without apology, to the man or woman we are with.
Communicating about our sexual needs is an ongoing process. Replacing old sexual values with new ones will also reduce guilt, but the battle is constant – the battle to express ourselves sexually lasts the entire life – from birth to death. To feel good and not guilty, we should feel good in our bodies, explore our fantasies, respect body pleasures, understand what moves us, indulge in sexual pleasure, etc.
People spend a lot of energy denying their sexual feelings as they are taught to be confused or ashamed of them. It is time to learn to express sexuality without guilt and accept it as a normal part of ourselves!
Support of (virtual) friends
The best defense is a strong offense, so before you have these issues, think about building up a swinger support network. Make contact with people who enjoy the swinging lifestyle as much as you do! It could be previous swinging partners or lifestyle people you found on Twitter or met at a swinger party. Regularly stay in touch with them. It is beneficial to remind yourself you are not alone and gain more experience sharing your feelings and hearing other perspectives without the worry of being ostracized.
The stigma of the non-monogamy is always there, but given the fact that the swinging community is expanding, it is thankfully shrinking each day. There are more opportunities each day to grow your virtual support team. Explore the forums and sites that will allow you to express your feelings honestly!
It is very healing to work on discovering yourself! If you aren’t sure if what you are doing is right or wrong, step back and reflect on it. Creating short-term, long-term plans, goals, and a hierarchy of values is a great way to determine if your swinging desires are legitimate or a fad to be ignored.
Give yourself time and space! Breathe!
What really matters?
There is no single “right” path that works for everyone, especially when expressing sexuality. There are no guarantees that only socially accepted patterns will feel good for someone! Monogamy might work great for some people, but swinging might be much better for other people, and that is OK. What works, makes us feel good, connects us to our partners, is what matters.
Our sexual patterns will change throughout our lives. What we do in sex is a matter of personal preferences and ingenuity – who we are with, how much love and understanding we feel, how pleasant it is.
Mutual, often unspoken agreements shape our sexuality. Sexual equality is as important in bed as it is everywhere else. Focus on the positive aspects of your life & your relationship. Be good to yourself.
Stop being your harshest critic, and remember always to be your strongest advocate!