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Why Be A SwingerI was out to lunch with my boss and a group of consultants working on a project we were doing to try to dramatically expand our business reach. (Unfortunately the business is not swing-related.) One of them brought up how much trouble they'd gotten into recently when he checked out another girl without first being wary of his wife's gaze upon him. The four other men sitting at the table gave their harrumphs in approval and agreement and grumpiness at the very idea, but also the knowledge that should their eyes have been caught wandering, they'd get the same fight.

It's an old story. It's been the basis of a Home Improvement episode, and god knows how many other schlub-with-hot-wife sitcoms. It's the norm, the social contract. Man checks out girl who aren't his wife, wife makes a big deal about it. Only that's not the case for me.

"My wife usually looks too." I surprised myself by saying it. My company is tolerant, extremely in fact, and certainly wouldn't be too terribly concerned about a swinger in their midst. But I hadn't intended to share this, definitely not at lunch with the consultants. I said it, but I said it under my breath, followed by an immediate and long sip of my soda.

The table waited, a beat, then another, all five others staring at me, waiting for more, for a follow up. I looked up, making eye contact with my boss at the other end of the table. "Are you serious?"

May as well go all in. "Yep."

"Does she...ever..." my boss struggled, trying to find a tactful way to ask the next question, the expected one, the thing you ask when someone you know says his wife finds girls attractive, "bring...girls...home?"

And suddenly I had all the marbles. I had won lunch. They may talk big, and spend big, and think big, and be far more important than me, but this business lunch was MINE. So, not wanting to over play my hand, I just smiled and let the conclusions be drawn.

It made me think about those five guys at the table though, all five of them with the same issue, wives and girlfriends getting horribly upset when the eyes wander, as they so often do. Meanwhile some of the most fun I have with my wife is playing the "who you'd like" game. We'll sit in the mall food court, snacking on some Coldstone, gesturing vaguelly toward women walking by with our spoons, trying to pick out the person who the other'll like.

She notices more women than I do now, and boy does she ever know my type.

It's these things we do. There's the obvious one, the swinger one, the having sex with other people's boyfriends/girlfriends/husbands/wives thing. Yes, we swingers do that, but it's the other things we do, the things you may do, that really make our relationship great.

The "who you'd like" game is a perfect example. The vanilla world is often laboring under this bizarre delusion that showing interest in one thing diminishes the interest you have in the things you already have. (Most of the vanilla and non vanilla world also dislikes being called "things" but I digress.) When I sit there with my wife, and she points out the tall redhead and says "yours," I nod in emphatic approval that the woman walking across the food course is indeed one of my type, and Marilyn gets to giggle with the knowledge that she not only won a point, but knows specifically what I like, because she knows me, because we understand.

While I may be 1% more likely to get to have sex with the tall redhead moving across the food court, whom, for my own amusement we'll say is a dead ringer for Christina Hendricks, the very DEFINITION of my type, simply because I'm a swinger, let me make something very clear: this game has nothing to do with the fact that I COULD, should the opportunity somehow in some crazy universe present itself, have sex with her. It's about us, Marilyn and me.

It's not a swinger's game. It's a couple's game, and it encourages communication that you wouldn't otherwise have. Imagine these questions that you may have heard in the past (but subtract the snippy through-the-teeth voice you're probably used to hearing with it) "You like that, do you? Do you like his hair? Would you like it if I looked like her? He's not your type?" There is nothing about the answers to these question that are damaging to your relationship. Again, there's really no situation other than blind luck that would find me being able to pick up Miss Holloway at the mall any moreso than someone, who isn't a swinger, would be allowed to do it.

So why don't you play?

Hypotheticals give us freedom to embrace our sexuality in ways we've perhaps forced ourselves to avoid. Hypotheticals allow us to fantasize. A healthy relationship should be able to survive a discussion of what you're attracted to beyond your significant other. Can your relationship survive this most simple test? Do you even know enough about your partner and your relationship to answer this question?

Don't give me, "the wife would never go for that argument." That is merely an excuse and a weak one at that. It's this thing we say when we don't really know because we haven't bothered to ask. Because it's easier to just look at the girls and then when she says, "what are you looking at?!?" you are programmed to say "NOTHING!" and be defensive because it's clearly something you should be defensive about. Well, guess what, when you're defensive, to her it seems like you feel you should be defensive about it, and why would you be? Only if you're looking to do more than just look at this girl and to be fair, you perhaps are, in your head, because we do this.

Do you see how quickly that bizarre spiral happens? We can thank our religious institutions for blessing us with the concept of thought crimes, that if you think it you may as well have already done it.

Well before we joined the swinging lifestyle, I asked my wife which of our friends she'd fuck, thinking that there was no way she'd play along with this hypothetical, thinking she'd never go for it, because I too believed it was better to assume than ask, and we all know what happens when you assume. She thought about it a while, then gave me two. When I gave her my two, she said "I figured it'd be them."

Maybe I'd not been discrete in my interest for these two girls, or maybe she just knew me better than I thought, and was able to see what turned me on and what gave me pause. She used this information about what I found attactive to our mutual benefit at what she might do to adopt those qualities that I found attractive.

And WHOA THERE, you're saying...does this mean you weren't attracted to her, and wanted her to change to be sexy for you?

Don't interrupt my article, I don't interrupt yours, and quit with the juvenile black and white explanations. It's childish, and about as much in the land of make believe as you can get. Since the institution of marriage is still around (for now) your goal is one person for the rest of your life, right? That's the vanilla American dream. That one person who completes you. (Thanks so much Jerry for that useless 10ยข sound byte that will NEVER DIE!)

You know what though, I don't dispute that. I mean, the odds aren't on your side, but my parents have been happily married for almost thirty-five years. My grandparents for more than fifty. My wife's for more than thirty. We have long term monogamy in the family. So the possibility of long term compatibility is certainly not lost on me.

But lets say you have ten things you're looking for in a spouse. We all have more, but let's just say ten. Then, lets be generous and say the soul mate you find has seven of those things. That's pretty great, isn't it? THE VAST MAJORITY. So you do it, you get engaged, get the flowers and the cake and the dress and the veil and the house and the yard and the dog and the family and the barbecues and the baby showers and the happily ever after.


Ooh, you just knew that was coming, didn't you? Cooper was painting a picture of monogamous bliss and is bound to come in and shit all over it.

Yeah, what about those last three things? Maybe the one that said you want a girl who likes to dance, or a man who can fix a car, or most dreadfully, a partner who can satisfy you sexually and completely. You might say you can do without these things if the love (and the other seven) are there. Maybe you can. Or maybe you'll find yourself watching the girls dancing at a club. Or fantasizing about the rugged man with the grease smudge across his cheek who's telling you why your air filter should be replaced. Or maybe you just want to get fucked, pure and simple, forget this making love crap and pound me into the mattress until I can't even remember my own name.

So, you could just repress these things, or you could suggest going dancing to your girl, give your man a book on engines, and start experimenting with different alternatives to the sex you've been having.

None of us are stuck with the life we're given. Only those who've already given up on themselves can't change things. 

Write the Author: Cooper Beckett

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Kidder Kaper

Kidder has been theorizing and writing about human sexuality since 1993, when he began work on his primary goal: "Teaching the world to be unafraid to enjoy sex."


Laura Rad

Laura Rad has been educating herself and others about sexuality for over seven years. You can find Laura every week chatting with the crew of the Sex is Fun Podcast.


Gay Rick

Gay Rick is an HIV Educator and Co-Host on the Sex is Fun podcast. He is also a certified Hepatitis C Educator.



The in-house audio engineer.


John Stark

John writes a blog titled We Sleep Together. He is in his twenties, and has been in an open relationship for six and some years.



The Walrus is an avid SIF listener, married, and recently became a proud father. He spends his days working in IT, but has always been interested in pushing the boundaries of traditional and conservative thoughts sexually.


Cooper Beckett

Cooper Beckett's life isn't like other people's. When he's not writing or podcasting at Life on the Swingset, he's living it up with his wife Marilyn as evangelical swingers, spreading the good word that "sharing is caring."


Beth Swings

Beth is an English rose, happily married and happily swinging in the UK and abroad. She has a full-time vanilla career which she loves. Beth counts sex and naturism among her many extra-curricular passions in life.


Mari Rose

Mari Rose and her family live in Colorado, love life and do their best to maintain balance and sanity and in this crazy, sexy, beautiful world.



Lorax runs everything behind the scenes at Sex is Fun. If she's not maintaining the website, gathering articles, or directing art you can find her wakeboarding or snowboarding with her husband.