1. A person who engages freely in promiscuous sex.
2. A member of a couple, especially a married couple, who exchanges sexual partners.
Who or What is Swinging?
Swinging, sometimes referred to in North America as the swinging lifestyle, is "non-monogamous sexual activity, treated much like any other social activity, that can be experienced as a couple." 
The phenomenon (or at least its wider discussion and practice) may be seen as part of the sexual revolution of recent decades, which has occurred after the upsurge in sexual activity possible due to safer sex practices that became prevalent during these same decades.
Swinging is sometimes called wife swapping, but this term is now considered relatively archaic, as it is androcentric and does not accurately describe the full range of sexual activities that swingers may take part in. A more common term amongst swingers is simply The Lifestyle, as it is becoming increasingly referred to in contemporary culture. Though there are certain key differences in the implication of the two terms, "The Lifestyle" and "swinging" will be used interchangeably within the scope of this article.
Swinging activities can include (but are not limited to):
Exhibitionism: having sex with a partner while being watched.
Voyeurism: watching others have sex (perhaps with the above mentioned partner).
Soft Swinging or Soft Swap: kissing, stroking, or having oral sex with a third or fourth person. This may be in the form of a threesome or group sex, or partners may literally be swapped.
Full Swap: having penetrative sex with someone other than one`s partner, which is the commonly understood definition of swinging (though not necessarily the most common type).
Group Sex: An all inclusive term for activities involving multiple partners in the same vicinity.
Typically, swinging activities occur when a married or otherwise committed couple engages with either another couple, multiple couples, or a single individual. These acts can occur in the same room (often called same room swinging) though different or separate room swinging does occur. Sex on these occasions is often referred to as play.
While the vast majority of swingers are heterosexual couples, a major part of Lifestyle activities are bisexual in nature. A large portion of female swingers, while they may or may not identify as bisexual, are interested in female-female sexual contact. Male-male contact is very rare, and usually never allowed in at a Swing Club/Party.
Some subjective scientific research into swinging has been conducted in the USA since the late 1960s. The most recent study, based on an Internet questionnaire addressed to visitors of lifestyle-related sites, 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 controlling jealousy, around a quarter admitted "I have difficulty controlling jealousy when swinging" to be somewhat true but only 6% said this was "Yes, Very Much" true.
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, although more males (70%) than females completed the survey.  This study, while enlightening, is of limited accuracy of the swinging population as a whole, due to its self-selected sampling technique. Internet-based sampling procedures create a substantial potential for bias. It is likely that those swinging couples who had stronger relationships were more motivated to complete the questionnaire. Alternatively, the stress that swinging may place on a marriage means that only those with higher than average levels of commitment to their partners are able to remain married whilst swinging. Couples that have jealousy or strife issues caused by swinging will not usually stay in the swinging lifestyle and thus would have been unlikely to respond.
ABC News reporter John Stossel produced an investigative report into the lifestyle. Stossel reported that over 4 million people are swingers, according to estimates by the Kinsey Institute and other researchers. He also cited Terry Goulds research, in which Gould concluded that couples swing in order to not cheat on their partners. ?When Stossel asked swinging couples whether they worry that their spouse will find they like someone else better, one male interviewee replied, People in the swinging community swing for a reason. They do not swing to go out and find a new wife; while a woman interviewee asserted, It makes women more confident -- that they are the ones in charge. Stossel interviewed 12 marriage counselors about the lifestyle. According to Stossel, not one of them said do not?do it, though some also said getting sexual thrills outside of marriage can threaten a marriage. Nevertheless, the swingers whom Stossel interviewed claimed that their marriages are stronger because they do not have affairs and they do not?lie to each other.
Certain Lifestyle activities are highly organized. There are over 3,000 swinging clubs worldwide. Most major cities in North America and western Europe have at least one swingers club in a permanent location although they often keep a low profile to avoid negative attention. Swingers also meet through lifestyle magazines, adult swinger personal ads, swinging house parties, and swinger Internet sites.
Swinger Clubs can refer to a physical location or building. In this context, clubs are typically divided into on-premise clubs, where sexual activity may happen then and there at the club, and off-premise clubs where sexual activity is not allowed at the club, but may be arranged at a near-by location.? Clubs also may refer to the group that organizes the Lifestyle-related events in a particular area.
In the USA, many swinging clubs follow a bar or nightclub format, sometimes renting an entire existing bar for scheduled events, frequently termed a venue takeover. This is normally done to avoid interaction with non-Lifestyle segments of the population, and once again to avoid unwanted negative attention. This often relegates these activities to suburbia on the weekend, where bars in large industrial parks which attract a mainstream clientele during weekdays would otherwise sit empty or closed on weekends when offices shut down. On-premise clubs usually have a similar format. One notable exception to this is that most on-premise clubs do not serve alcohol, asking participants instead to bring their own because of the restrictive laws commonly in place regarding sexual activity and the presence of alcoholic beverages. Concordantly, the vast majority of swinging clubs do not advertise as such due to the strict moral climate in the United States. Another format is the swinger party. Usually in a home where parking may require a shuttle from another location if the home resides within a suburban area. A home that is usually suitable may have a hot tub, a pool, several bedrooms, and an assortment of sex furniture such as a sex swing, a stripper pole, a dance floor, or a BDSM dungeon. Within the party atmosphere condoms, lube and breath mints may be readily available throughout the house. Sometimes the host may hold events such as a striptease or dance contest, a flogging or other BDSM demonstration.
On-premise clubs and the majority of swinging venues allow sexual contact and serve alcohol. There are hree standard formats: the bar/nightclub, usually smaller, in city centres and focused around a dance floor; the spa format which has pools, Jacuzzis, saunas and steam rooms and where people strip on entry; and the country club format, which is out-of-town, usually serves a free buffet and may include elements of the first two as well as offering large play spaces.
A large amount of swinging activity is organised via the Internet, where there are countless different swinger sites with adult personals, listings and local information. To many couples, the swinging lifestyle and the swinger clubs can be as much a social venue as a sexual one. Like many sexual sub-cultures, there can be very much a community atmosphere, and the greater communication allowed by the Internet has fostered this sense.
The prime directive in swinging is no means no. This means that rejection of a sexual advance does not require justification and must always be respected. Respect for one`s play partners is often a hallmark of swinging activity, and violation of this directive can result in immediate expulsion.
Many swingers who participate in penetrative sex while swinging are strict about condom usage, including insisting on changing condoms between partners. However, some members of the swinging community do engage in unprotected sex, in a practice that is commonly known as barebacking. When unsure, it is considered a polite necessity to establish these ground rules before becoming sexually involved.
Some believe that actions such as a woman being flirtatious while their significant other is present, men who offer their wives to dance or couples entering a bar separately and spending the evening apart are ways to tell if a couple swings. Obviously, these signs, both subtle and overt, are difficult to perceive, and swingers are often averse to identifying themselves in public. The growth of many swinging web sites on the Internet is partly due to this, allowing swingers to communicate and meet without public attention or the risk of offending non-swingers.
Female bisexuality and bicurious is extremely common in both the urban and traditional swinging scene and tends to be the norm amongst participants. No studies have been conducted as to what percentage of swinging women who define themselves as bisexual would be open to romantic as well as sexual relations with both genders.
Male bisexuality is less common in the swinging scene, but is becoming more common and more accepted.  More openly bi men and bisexual couples (male-female couples where both partners are bisexual) are appearing on the scene. Whether this is due to increasing acceptance in the scene or greater numbers of men turning bi is open to discussion. Depending on the club or social situation, male bisexuality among swingers may either be frowned upon, or openly accepted.
The term hot wife refers to a married woman who has sex with men other than her spouse with her spouses consent. In most cases the husbands of these women will enjoy watching, hearing, or knowing about their wives adventures. Often the husbands take part, sometimes by engaging in a threesome, or sometimes just arranging dates for their wives.
Polyamory specifically refers to individuals who sustain multiple emotional relationships with other individuals. This allows for some overlap within the swinging community. Polyamorists may engage in activity common to swingers such as group sex and partner swapping. Swingers, through extended sexual engagements with the same partners, may also develop strong friendships with these partners. Deeper emotional relationships, however, are not the norm and are considered a rarity.
Traditionally swinger clubs are accepting of all ages and body types, and the average age of swingers at events tends to be around 45. Younger swingers who wish to swing with their own age group find that this isn`t always possible in swinging clubs.
Many organizations try to elevate themselves from historic swinging clubs by hosting their events in upmarket venues, serving Champagne or cocktails and asking their guests to dress in smart evening attire. Entry to these parties is often competitive and photographs are usually required to demonstrate attractiveness.? This, more than anything else, has given rise to the term The Lifestyle as a way to encompass all swinging activities, due to the fact that younger couples are somewhat averse to the term "swingers" because of its traditional connotations.
Selective swinging events include mostly childless, unmarried young graduates and can have average ages as low as the late 20s, whereas traditional swingers events tend to have average ages in the 40s. Selective parties are often referred to as exclusive or elitist.
Another factor contributing to this situation is the continued upsurge in growth of Lifestyle-oriented Internet sites. These sites provide much more accessible gateways into Lifestyle activities for people who are curious about swinging. By offering greater flexibility when searching for potential playmates, it becomes possible to look for playmates that specifically match certain characteristics, including location, looks, wealth, and age. In the United States, it is still uncommon to find parties where stringent age requirements are in affect, and most groups remain non-discriminatory. However, the acceptance of elite parties continues to be more common, with couples and single females becoming more and more willing to pay an additional premium to spend time with only a select segment of the swinging population.
The critique of selective swinging among traditional swingers is that it is unethical to discriminate. The growing upsurge interest in selective swinging has given rise to a growing rift between the two groups. Couples who identify with traditional swinging may advertise themselves as not Ken and Barbie as an implicit rejection of what they perceive to be a superficial ideal of youthful physical attractiveness.
The acceptance of singles at swinging events varies from geographic area to geographic area. Some swinging clubs have a policy of allowing only couples and females, but most do allow single men on selected nights. Single females are often admitted at reduced admission price. Parties and private events may differ, however, and are often restricted to couples or couples and single females only.
The reasons for this vary. Most (but certainly not all) of the people who pay to participate in swinger events are male-female couples and most swinging couples are more interested in interacting with other couples or with single women than with single men. Thus, swinger events strive to achieve a balance between male and female participants or have a (usually slightly) larger number of females than males.
A common complaint among swingers is that single men change the tone and nature of event. While outright hostility towards single men is rarely prevalent, an abundance of single males is rarely looked upon favourably in any swinging context. When single males are permitted their numbers are usually limited by high entrance fees or stringent membership requirements.
Some swingers oppose the involvement of any singles of either sex in swinging because of the fear that they might split existing couples.? While this might be a fear of some new couples, couples who have been part of the Lifestyle for some time report that the only way a couple can "split" is when one of the couple is looking outside the primary relationship. This is not the norm in a swinger relationship.
Article from: ?Answers.com