Cyber Swing/Polyamory Resource Center
Promoting Intimacy and Other-Centered Sexuality
Click for full What's New Listing
Swingers – Happy, Safe,
Healthy, Well Adjusted, Mainstream Americans
From extensive research report "Related to Bigotry: The Repression of Swingers in Early 21st Century Britain at http://www.libertarian.co.uk/lapubs/socin/socin028.htm
Swinging is a safe, international, middle class and increasingly popular leisure choice for married and courting couples.
Swinging is an enthusiasm that crosses social, economic, political and religious boundaries. The existence of a Christian swingers organization in the USA is not as surprising as one might suppose (though they seem aware of the irony of their position). See http://www.libchrist.com ) American research has consistently found that swingers are, as Bergstrand & Williams say "surprisingly mainstream, even conservative, in their characteristics." says Bergstrand & Williams (2000) para 7 www.ejhs.org/volume3/swing/body.htm .
Up to 90% of swingers identify with a religion and up to 47% regularly attend their place of worship. (Ibid. para 7 citing Friendship Express 1994 & Miller 1994.)
More recent research (Bergstrand & Williams (2000) has suggested lower levels of religious attachment that nevertheless are still higher than the norm. US swingers tend to be Republicans, middle to upper-middle class, middle-aged and (over 90%) white. They are less racist, less sexist and uphold traditional relationship roles less than the population at large, though they place the same importance on marriage and family life. The incidence of disturbed family backgrounds (a charge levied by critics of swinging) is lower than average.
Bergstrand & Williams (2000) justify their academic interest in swingers by recounting American rates of admitted affairs (37% of husbands, 29% of wives), divorce, family instability and neglected children. In the light of this "any attempt to redefine "love" and strengthen the marital bond is worthy of our attention. If swingers have found a way to stabilize relationships, prolong family ties, and enrich the lives of couples we would be remiss if we did not take their lifestyle and their redefinition of monogamous love seriously."
It is not claimed for swinging that is appropriate for every relationship or even a large percentage of them. What is claimed is that it benefits or at least brings harmless enjoyment to a proportionately small but numerically large minority of couples. Estimates for the proportion of couples in the US who have included something that can be described as swinging at some point in their relationship vary from 1% to 15%.
Although sexual promiscuity is posited as the antithesis of emotional fidelity in the western romantic tradition, swingers maintain that joint experiences of recreational sex enhance their sexual and emotional bonds. By openly acknowledging their individual desires for sexual variety and pursuing these needs together, swingers claim to obviate the usual sources of deceit, betrayal and guilt in relationships. These destructive impulses, they say, are replaced with a deeper understanding and a higher plane of trust.
Some have argued that because of the very high degree of mutual knowledge and trust, this mental bond displaces sex from its status dictated by Judeo-Christian tradition as the central mystery of a relationship. Anne Terrien, a student at George Washington University, elucidated this point in a precocious conference paper delivered in 2002: "At the heart of a strong swinging relationship is not sex at all; rather, there is the openness, trust, and communication necessary to both talk openly about desires and fantasies and to act on them within the bounds of commitment." http://www.gwu.edu/~english/ccsc/2002%20Pages/Terrien.htm
Scientific Studies quoted and referenced from http://www.feverparties.com
Scientific research on swingers in the USA has consistently found that swingers have better pair-bonds than monogamous couples. The most recent and most thorough research found swingers are happier in their relationships than the norm. 60% of swingers said that swinging improved their relationship and only 1.7% said it made their relationship less happy.
Half of those who rated their relationship very happy before becoming swingers maintained it had become even happier. 90% of those with less happy relationships said swinging improved them. Almost 70% of swingers claimed no problem with jealousy, around a quarter admitted to some jealousy but only 6% said it was very much a problem.
Swingers rate themselves happier (59% against 32% very happy) and their lives much more exciting (76% against 54% exciting) than does the rest of the population, by surprisingly large margins. There was no difference between the responses of men and women.
Hard to believe? This study - Bergstrand & Williams - was carried out in 2000 by a private Catholic university in the USA with an upper middle-class conservative reputation. Read it here. http://www.ejhs.org/volume3/swing/body.htm
Earlier research going back over 30 years broadly confirms the same conclusions. So far no published research has validated popular misunderstandings about swinging or the prejudices of the bigots.
Authoritative estimates place the rate of serious relationship problems caused by swinging at between 2% and 6% of participants. Comparing this with the 70% failure rate of first-time marriages and the high break-up rates of other monogamous relationships, it is tempting to conclude that relationship breakdown is essentially a phenomenon of monogamy.
Here is an earlier study:
Traditional Marriages and Emerging Alternatives Butler, Harpe & Rowe 1979 (excerpts)
Being a swinger does not make catching an STD more likely. There are no public health concerns associated with swinging.
None of the countries that have large numbers of legal swingers clubs (there are 50 in the Netherlands alone and 400 in the USA) report any increase in sexually transmitted infections in the vicinity of swinging premises or in relation to swinging generally.
This is because swingers use condoms for penetrative sex. All swingers clubs have rules about condom use (ours is here) and the irresponsible are excluded.
Surprisingly even before AIDS, when sex in swinging clubs (and everywhere else) was often unprotected, swinging clubs were not high risk areas for STD transmission. The type of people who swung were responsible middle-class couples, usually married and middle-aged, and therefore in the lowest risk groups for having STDs in the first place.
Some other sex scenes have been associated with high STD transmission. In particular, of course, the gay scene has been associated with HIV/AIDS through ‘barebacking’ (unprotected anal sex).
The only ever case of HIV transmission in swinging also involved anal sex. In 1986 two women in a Minneapolis swingers club contracted HIV through repeated unprotected anal sex with two bi-sexual men. Neither woman infected their other partners. Needless to say, this does not typify swingers' behaviour in the C21st.
Dave notes, a very active bisexual HIV+ male passed HIV to two women who belonged to a swing club with whom he had anal sex. The man was from another city and was not a club member. The sex took place outside the club so it wasn't directly swing related. However, everyone in the club was understandably terrified and the Dept of Health came into the club and offered HIV testing and almost everyone was tested. No one else tested positive but the club closed since everyone was so scared. Now we know that anal sex is a very dangerous activity and almost the only way it spreads sexually heterosexuality. . Now we know why from the huge number of documented studies and CDC data that show the very low risk to healthy heterosexuals that are not in any high risk group (needle sharing drug user or bi male who is HIV+ giving anal sex to a female which is very high risk). This low risk applies to about 99% of swingers. For extensive articles on HIV and the low heterosexual risk, especially for swingers see http://www.libchrist.com/std/2000aidsrpt.html More recent CDC data confirms these earlier studies.
MORAL PANIC AHEAD!
In 2003 speculation began about why sexually transmitted infections were rising among the middle-aged. One of the suggested reasons was swinging and that inevitably grabbed some media attention despite being the least credible of the probable causes.
The hypothesis – for there has been no research – was that older people have never learned to use condoms because any pre-martial sex in their past was before the AIDS scare. Unfortunately this contradicts the research that actually has been done on swingers.
Swinging has always been mainly middle-aged, so a further explanation is required as to why this condom-shyness has struck now rather than in previous decades. As we related above, US research suggests not only that middle aged swingers tend to be of a social type that makes them very responsible when it comes to sexual health. It also shows them to be the strata of the population – married and middle class with families - least likely to have STDs to pass on in the first place.
It is true that swinging has grown at an exponential rate over the last decade. However even if it had grown by 1000%, 1000% of zero infections is still zero.
In fact perfectly adequate explanations for the whole problem were included in the reports, they were just sidelined by the sensationalism of blaming swingers. A survey of Good Housekeeping in April 2003 found that 200 of 500 women (not swingers) over 40 had been unfaithful to their partner – a whopping 40%! The National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles shows not only a relatively high turnover of relationships among 35-44s (15% of men and 11% of women had acquired a new partner in the previous 12 months) but that 10% of men and 7% of women in the same age group have been sleeping with more than one partner at the same time. Dave notes, these studies were about the general population, not swingers. Swingers share with others more honestly, with their partners vs. the usual "affairs" and dishonestly that is common in non swingers.
The facts are that the true cause of the rise in STDs is the decay and breakdown of long term monogamous relationships of people in middle age. Swingers’ hands, as it were, are clean. Nevertheless moral authoritarians on the right and sectarian feminists on the left are capable of using the flimsiest pretext to demand action against swingers. Swingers need to be vigilant that misunderstandings, distortions and downright lies about our lifestyle do not get out of hand.
Back To Liberated Christians
Main Menu Page
Copyright © 2004, Liberated Christians, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.