"Lifestyle." When used in mainstream culture, most think of the latest fashion trends, but the Lifestyle is a term used to convey the adventurous sexual practices of couples and singles that enjoy recreational sex with other consenting adults, otherwise known as swingers.
Swingers are everyday people. Lawyers, doctors, bankers, writers, athletes, software engineers, computer programmers, marketing executives, CEOs and sales people who are very comfortable in their skin looking for new, exciting ways to explore their sexuality. Some stumbled into the Lifestyle because they were bi-sexual or bi-curious, some for the desire to have sex beyond pro-creation and some through marital issues, which in most cases, ended up enhancing their communication and relationships.
Websites such as iVoyeur.com, AltPlayground.com, SwingLifestyle.com (SLS) and LifestyleLounge.com provide a wealth of information, articles and Q&A components for the sexually adventurous while allowing members to communicate in a safe and private environment.
"It's very important for those involved in the Lifestyle to have the utmost trust of other members and those who run online companies for privacy purposes," says Frank, an active swinger in the Los Angeles area. "Because it's still considered the forbidden fruit and those involved in the Lifestyle are completely comfortable with being swingers, the secret of being a swinger is still somewhat exciting and being able to flirt and romp safely and privately tops the list of importance for those enjoying the Lifestyle."
It is also important for large gatherings, parties and conventions be done in a lavish, plush, chic and fashionable manner. Reputable companies host local and national parties monthly and throw soirees with themes at the most opulent venues, encouraging mixing and mingling., And while it's usually hard to get four opinions to match, the point is to intermingle with those who share common values, those who would be friends inside and outside of the bedroom -- including both voyeurism, arousal by watching others engage in sexual activity and exhibitionism, those who enjoy the thrill of having sex in front of others.
Nagging his wife for sex was the reason Mike and Johanna from Tennessee entered the Lifestyle together. "I asked Johanna for a sex girlfriend and ended up a swinger!" says Mike. "It was the coolest thing I had ever done with my wife. The curiosity factor was off the chart and really opened up our relationship." Johanna adds, "We were excited and a bit nervous at first. I mean, it's something you hear about but don't really know anyone who does it."
Those in the Lifestyle are not looking to replace each other, but stress that they both want each other to experience things they cannot give each other in certain areas of the sexual arena. But jealousy does exist. Most men confessed that at first they resented the fact that their significant other enjoyed the Lifestyle and hook-ups as much as they did, and they had to really work on the ego part of the Lifestyle, especially if one partner starts to keep score of their romps. "This is a choice we make where jealousy and emotions need to be put to the side in order to fully enjoy the benefits of an open relationship. If there is a mutual agreement to enter the Lifestyle with a partner, the benefits for each person are truly monumental. It's essential to separate sex from love making."
Although most Swingers enter the Lifestyle together, there are plenty who enter the Lifestyle as a bull, a single man in the Lifestyle who plays with other people's wives and a unicorn, a single woman in the Lifestyle who likes to play with couples. They can be full swaps, sex with other people where nothing is off limits but rules and guidelines have been previously established by the couple; soft swaps, playing, petting, kissing, touching but stopping sensual play at full-on intercourse; closed swaps, partnering with others where play is initiated in rooms separate from each other; open swaps, engaging in play with others in the same room as their partner; either on-premise, a club or venue that has designated rooms for sexual play; or off-premise, a venue without designated play rooms used as a meet up to flirt, mingle and initiate action to take elsewhere.
On average, most swingers frequent the clubs and parties about 2-3 times a month, whether for a swap or an adult night out. "We use online sites as our main resource with some word of mouth referrals," says Mike. "After all, there's nothing like a five-star recommendation. But it's still great to just get together with friends we've met that we don't play with." And because the swingers community is so tight-knit, even with romps and swaps between partners multiple times, most remain lifelong friends.