Polyamory vs Swinging Explained


With millions of couples involved in swinging, (including your dear friend Mike Hatcher, lifestyle extraordinaire), it is apparent that many couples find the experience satisfying. It is interesting to note that couples who swing often have stronger, happier, and healthier relationships, despite what critics tend to say. Honesty, satisfaction, and a shared interest are in part to thank for this stronger bond swinger couples share in their relationship. Why Couples Swing There are two main reasons why couples seek out swinging. 1. The relationship has hit a sexual rut. When READ MORE


Open Relationships

“OPEN RELATIONSHIP” is a broad term for couples who are down for seeing other people separately on the side but who tend to keep these relationships mostly sexual.

On a road trip in 2018, Nicole, a 39-year-old artist, told her husband, Brian, a 44-year-old pansexual man who works as head of community for a tech company, that she was asexual. (Asexual people have little to no desire for sexual activity.) Differences in sex drive had always been a struggle, so they looked at ENM as a possible solution. Brian pursues romantic and sexual relationships with other people, and Nicole goes on dates with others as well, though she looks for companionship. For the record, nonmonogamy is not the only solution for mismatched sex drives, Lehmiller says. There are other ways to boost your bedroom satisfaction, like sex therapy.


When friends, family, and coworkers heard about Brian and Nicole spending time with other people, they initially suspected infidelity. To avoid constantly having to explain themselves, Brian wrote a blog post about their ENM arrangement.

“One of the first places I ever ‘came out’ with this was at work, so that I didn’t have to constantly be cautious of what I said around others,” he says. “If people think you’re a cheater, that can have a direct effect on your career.”

“Radically open communication,” as Brian puts it, is essential for an open relationship to work. In order to maintain trust, Lehmiller explains, “it’s important to establish an agreement that specifies ground rules and boundaries, and to recognize that the rules may need to be renegotiated over time. It can be hard to determine all of the rules up front if you’re completely new to this.”

Brian and Nicole check in with each other and ask how their arrangement is working out for them. Whenever Brian becomes involved with someone new, he asks Nicole how much she wants to know. It’s also important to them that all additional partners know about their marriage, so that they understand what they’re getting into. Brian says, “The trust is built on the fact that there’s nothing to hide.”


Swinging is a form of social sex. Singles and couples, called swingers, engage in different kinds of sexual sharing or swapping with each other.  The degree of intimacy and sexual involvement differs with every encounter and is determined by clear boundaries and agreements with all parties.  Swinging can be a great way to enhance sexual energy and connection in any relationship.  As with any form of ethical non-monogamy, open honest communication is essential.

What is swinging?

Swinging typically involves a monogamous couple searching together for a sexual partner who isn’t involved in their relationship. As Amy Moors, a sexual researcher at Chapman University, told Insider in 2019, there a few manifestations of swinging, like when a couple has a threesome with someone outside the relationship, or when two or multiple couples decide to swap their partners for sexual experiences.


Swinging can be a lifestyle unto itself. And in fact, many of its adherents refer to it as exactly that: Sex expert Jess O’Reilly told Ask Men that the term “swinging” is somewhat outdated, and its more dedicated practitioners now like to refer to it as “the lifestyle.” While it definitely borrows some aspects from open relationships, swinging is purely transactional and, as a result, naturally thrives within its own particular communities.

“Swingers are typically heterosexual couples and individuals with a variety of forms of ‘swapping’ or exchanging partners,” Courtney Geter, a family therapist, told the website.


While all of these relationship categories are contingent upon the preferences of those involved, there’s one steadfast, overarching theme uniting them: Trust. It’s imperative to be respectful and get the consent of everyone involved in any relationship, no matter how many people are involved.


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