Swinging: A Different Perspective

by Jason Stotts

I’ve been planning to write a detailed essay on swinging and its moral implications for some time now. Unfortunately this is not that essay. It is, however, a detailed look at one important aspect of swinging and one reason why I think that some people find so much value in it.

For most swingers, one of the values of swinging is a better sex life for the couple. There are the obvious reasons for this like the techniques and skills they can learn from having different partners, but it also arises from some less obvious causes. The one I want to address here is the difference in perspective a couple gets from swinging.

We all remember how wonderful the first days of falling in love are: how new everything is, how much there is to learn, and so much to do. Your first sexual experience with a new partner is very similar and flows from excitement of the yet unknown.

Before I proceed, let me draw an analogy to pretty much anything that can be owned. For my analogy, let me use my iPod Touch. Before I got it, it was the coolest thing in the world and I was pretty sure that it would change my life; hell, perhaps I even thought it would cure cancer. When I first got it, I played with it endlessly and tried out everything that I could think of. After a while, I found out what worked for me and pretty much left the rest of it alone. Then I started to use it less and only used it for things that only it could do, like listening to podcasts in my car, etc. As I became more used to it, my interest waned and my fascination faded until all of my excitement was gone and it was simply a useful device for me. In short, I no longer thought it could cure cancer.

Now, this analogy is great in some respects and horrible in others. It demonstrates the general stages that someone goes through with relationships, but horrible in that this digression is not necessary because humans are not static devices and can change and develop as time goes on.

What changes is your perspective on the device. It’s not that it had functions {a,…,z} when it first came out and now only has {a,…,k}. Rather, through ignorance and excitement, you imbued characteristics that it did not have and could not have had. As you gained knowledge about it and found out about the true thing, and not simply what you wanted it to be, a conflict developed between what you thought it was going to be and what it actually was. While this could perhaps have been avoided by not getting excited in the first place, it’s a typical human response and not one that I think it would be wise to quell. So, how do you deal with this problem?

One thing that always makes me appreciate my iPod is when I realized I have a true need for it. For example, when I go on a drive and can’t listen to podcasts, I get really annoyed and realize how valuable my iPod is. The lack of my iPod changes my perspective on it. We see this too with relationships where people tend to take each other for granted, until there is some threat (like them leaving) and then they realize how important their partner is to them. While this is not psychologically healthy, it is very common.

Another thing that makes me appreciate my iPod is when I am around people who have never seen one before or had the chance to play with one and are excited to play with mine. This makes me remember my own excitement about my Touch and makes me excited about it all over again. It changes my perspective from being used to it and it being passé, to one where it’s novel and interesting again. I am able to use them to gain an outside perspective and thereby rekindle my interest. This, to return the analogy to reality, is exactly what I think happens with swingers.

When swingers “play” with a couple, they are able to experience their partner as a novel partner: they gain an external perspective on their partner that is one of excitement and novelty. They are effectively able to have their first time with their partner over again through changing their perspective. Another person lusting after your partner makes you lust after your partner: you share in their excitement. I think this idea of gaining an outside perspective is one of the major motivators for swinging for most people and the source of their claim that it makes sex with their own partner better.

I’m going to defer until later the issues of whether this is moral or desirable. I’m also going to defer the question of whether this kind of gradual slacking off of interest is necessary or whether it is indicative of a problem in the relationship. I think these are both really interesting lines of questions and I plan to address them some time soon. However, it is always best to understand one’s subject fully before passing judgment and until I come to a fuller understanding of swinging, I’ll reserve my judgment.

1 Response to “Swinging: A Different Perspective”

  1. Erosophia

    […] Swingers” followed by my first attempt at understanding an aspect of swinging called “Swinging: A Different Perspective.”  While researching for this essay, I also found an interesting swinging website […]