Imagine a world of complete transparency within relationships.
A transparency that translates to less infidelity, less confinement and fewer insecurities, but more trust, more fun and more freedom.
I'm talking about a world of open relationships. More specifically, I'm talking about swinging.
A couple years ago, ABC News did a special segment about Gen-Y couples who swing.
In an article, ABC News reported, "Forget the notion that swingers parties are full of middle-aged folks who are bored stiff by years of marriage."
And, given the number of young couples I've met in LA who are into the lifestyle, it seems the trend for Gen-Y is getting bigger.
To put it simply, swingers are couples, usually who are in committed relationships or are married, who swap partners.
But the world of swinging is much too vast to define in one sentence.
There isn't just one way for couples to swing. It all depends on a couple's mutual preference.
So what do swingers do exactly? How do they meet? Below is an overview for everything you need to know about swinging:
How Swingers Meet
If you're thinking of going out to a regular bar or club in hopes of meeting another couple that down to swing, your chances are low.
The good news is there are so many resources for swingers.
Swingers clubs are usually labeled as "lifestyle clubs." A simple Google search for "(your city) lifestyle club" or "(your city) swingers clubs" might just do the trick.
If you're in Los Angeles, one popular place is called Club Joi.
Most clubs will charge you a membership fee of $20 and up. That membership can last three months to a lifetime, depending on the club.
When you attend a club, you'll be asked for a "donation." The suggested donation is usually nothing less than $50 a couple.
If you're not ready to go to a club just yet or if you want a more efficient way to explore your options, you may want to join a social network for swingers.
These work very much like dating sites. You and your partner can browse photos of other couples and send messages.
The two sites I listed above also show you events happening near your city.
What Swingers Do
When you and your partner are down for a full swap, it basically means both of you are open to share each other with another couple.
However, most couples do have conditions.
Couples can decide if they only want to do a full swap in the same room (which is usually recommend by experienced swingers) or to be completely open, meaning anything goes, anywhere.
Whenever you meet another couple in the lifestyle, it's common to disclose what you're looking for as a couple to see if there's a mutual interest. One of the first questions couples ask each other is what they're down for. Full swap is one of those options.
Not all swingers are down to have full blown sex with another couple. Some couples are perfectly fine with soft swapping, especially when starting out.
You can think of soft swapping as softcore porn. There's no penetration, but kissing, touching and sometimes oral can happen. You and your partner decide this early on.
Swingers are totally open to being watched by other couples and watching others. If you and your partner ever watched porn together, this is the next level.
A lot of couples love to watch other couples and to be watched in return. If this sounds like something you and your partner might want to try, you'd most likely have to go to a swingers club.
There's no pressure to do anything at swingers clubs, and there are plenty of couples to watch.
The Art of Swinging
How would swinging change the way we date, marry and have sex?
As a thought experiment, let's say everyone arrives at a point of maturity where we are always well-protected and responsible within these open relationships.
What if everyone had an open relationship?
To me, I imagine a more free and fun world, as long as we can get over our insecurities.
The bittersweet irony, though, is that some couples may relieve insecurities by swinging.
Now, surely things aren't so black and white, and chances are, society will never be ideal for all, no matter what philosophy or culture we try to promote. Humans will always make mistakes.
In fact, in monogamous relationships, mistakes happen incredibly often. So often, some of us question whether monogamy is even natural.
Very few living creatures stick with one partner their entire lives. For humans, we've been struggling with this issue since the beginning of time.
So, if full swap, soft swap or even just watching sounds like it might spice up your relationship, I'd say give it a try. Just stay protected, that's all.
Have you and your partner ever tried swinging? Want to try swinging? Share your thoughts in the comments below!