Why We Swing


I’m not going to spend a whole lot of time going into philosophical reasons for swinging, or even anthropological ones (though there are many for both) in this forum, because what I’ve found is that people tend to invent the philosophical and anthropological reasoning as a way of validating their chosen lifestyle. Buncha hypocrites! So instead, I’m focused more on why WE swing, the WE being my wife and myself. And we got into it for all the wrong reasons (according to most websites and books,) because we got into the lifestyle to fix something in our marriage.

WOAH! I know, right? Never become a swinger unless your relationship is perfect because swinging will magnify all your problems and blah blah snore… I’m sure there is a lot of validity to that, I’m SURE of it. Swinging has magnified problems, but again as this is a Why WE Swing story and not a Why THEY Swing, or Why ONE Swings, I can assure you that for us, swinging was the answer to a question that had been nagging us since the beginning of our lives together some 10 years before. Why do we want to fuck other people?

And from the looks of our friends and loved ones, we were not alone in this thought. Look at sitcoms on TV if you need more proof. I don’t think there’s a “fat guy/cute wife” sitcom out there that hasn’t done the “why did you look at that other girl, does she have something I don’t” plotline at some point in its run. We’re dishonest though, as a society, because we want so desperately for this to make him “the bad guy.” But don’t worry, ‘cuz they laugh and love their way through it, mostly giving a resounding assurance that “I love you and don’t need anyone else, honey…” AWWWWW…

It may be true, that’s the thing. It may definitely be true that he doesn’t need anyone else, ever, for all of his life, but WE ALL LOOK. And that bothered me for many years. I agonized over why my “I want to fuck that girl” drive would so quickly kick in when I’d meet a new female friends. Or why I don’t have any female friends I DON’T want to fuck. These are things we’re not supposed to be thinking, right? RIGHT?! So we hide from ourselves and our partners. At least I did. For ten years. Pretended to not think of anyone but her.

But then it all fell apart. Because as we know entropy ensures that the center will not hold, and our feebly constructed fantasies will all come tumbling down around us in the end. Or sometimes well before the end. So one night I spilled my guts. It bothered me that I’d only been with one woman besides her, and that we got married too early, and that sex was more of a chore sometimes than it should be. I piled it on, and unfairly so, because I left Marilyn (my wife) dazed and almost unable to respond. This is why you should most assuredly talk early, talk often.

She was glad I told her. She was hurt I didn’t tell her earlier. She asked questions, was patient, and for the next month tried very hard to hide her certainty that I was going to leave her. But then, through a lot of soul searching, she realized a very similar fact about herself. She was also bothered by the fact that she’d only been with me her entire life, that we got married too early, that sex was a chore, and for the first time since our first anniversary, mentioned a vague concern she had sometimes that she might be gay.

So, rock bottom was there. We felt like roommates who loved each other and very occasionally had sex. Friends more than lovers. It was rough. Despite our friends saying that “you guys have the friendship, many marriages don’t even have that” we even got around to discussing the big D word. But that didn’t last too long. A few days later we both came to each other saying “I don’t want to get divorced, I want to fix this…” looking over our issues and coming to the conclusion that the rotting core of all our problems was this desire to fuck other people. And we BOTH wanted the same thing! So we began to discuss our options. There weren’t many. Taking a break, opening up our marriage so we can see other people, both of these came with the same rather glaring fault, the words: “Yeah, I’m married, but it’s cool, really!” And to this day I’m still not sure how THAT works. But then came the offhanded comment, almost a joke in fact: “Well, there’s always swinging…”

But the next day, that comment came back. “How would that work?” I didn’t know, exactly. My only notion of swingers was hardly modern day, the key party from Ang Lee’s The Ice Storm, and that didn’t exactly go WELL. So we did a google search, and discovered the BRILLIANT site: coupledoingit.com and their 50s style video about becoming a swinger. It was all so cute, and fun, and…friendly. Suddenly this scary word SWINGING looked like something people like us did.

So we did it, pulled the trigger, joined a site, went on a date and officially became swingers. Almost a year and a half ago.

So, the crux now: why we swing?

In the time since those first tentative kisses and gropes, those nights where we needed the ice breaking games to get naked, the days terrified about what might happen if our friends found out, Marilyn and I have grown closer than ever. We talk about anything on our mind these days. I mean, nothing’s really as bad as that initial conversation. It’s no longer scary to discuss sexual needs and wants, to say things like “I want you to peg me,” and “I’d like to be whipped.” We’ve gone from the “we don’t want to be that couple who doesn’t have sex weekly” to the couple who has sex multiple times with each other, and multiple times with our other friends on a weekly basis.

Why we swing? Must you really ask? Because we’ve gotten to meet some of the most genuine and open people we’ve ever met before. We’ve surrounded ourselves with a brand new crowd that for the first time doesn’t have to be held back by society’s decorum and the sexual tension that accompanies wanting to fuck your friend’s wife. We’re on even keel, for the first time in our lives. And now even the problems seem minor.

Do we fight? Sure! Who doesn’t? Has swinging caused issues? Absolutely! The way any new life focus can cause issues that simply couldn’t have been there before without it. Is it worth it? With every fiber of my being, I say YES.

Why we swing? Because we LOVE it. Because we can’t imagine not doing it anymore. It has opened up our lives in so many wonderful ways that we can’t thank enough those who guided us through those first shaky steps. We went in looking for a simple fix, something that might ignite a flame that really was never in either of us. We found a blowtorch.

So now we try to help others. To help them understand why we swing, why they might, or might not be a good match for this lifestyle. It’s not for everybody. The risks are catastrophic. The issues too. Jealousy is a bitch if you don’t know how to manage it. And it’s true, if you have a bad relationship, it very well MAY implode. Perhaps we’re just the lucky ones.

We swing because it allows us to see the best in each other, to see why other people find them attractive, to see that people find us attractive, to constantly wrap ourselves in the warm embrace of people who understand, to quell the questioning inside us of are we normal, to feel the unbelievable highs of new relationships, and to over and over, experience the joys of unique orgasmic delight.

We swing because we can’t not do it.


About Author

About Cooper
Cooper S. Beckett is the co-founder and host of Life on the Swingset: The Podcast since 2010, author of swinging & polyamory novels A Life Less Monogamous and Approaching The Swingularity, and memoir My Life on the Swingset: Adventures in Swinging & Polyamory. He teaches and speaks on swinging, polyamory, pegging, play parties, and coloring outside the boundaries of your sexuality. He is a graphic & web designer, photographer, and voice over artist, has been a guest expert on Dan Savage’s Savage Lovecast, & is the announcer of Tristan Taormino’s radio show Sex Out Loud. He is currently working on two instructional non-fiction books, one about beginning non-monogamy, and another about pegging.


  1. Excellent analysis. Indeed, the question "Why swing?" begs the question, "Why not swing?" Look at how we define sexuality. Take a hetero male, for example: it means he is attracted to women (plural). No one ever says, "I was heterosexual until I got married." Inherent in our understanding of sexuality is that we find others (again, plural) sexually desirable. Why deny what is staring us in the face? Because others might gasp at the thought? To put it mildly, that is no even trade. The risk is tiny compared to the reward. It reminds me of a quote I heard once (which I'll butcher here): Don't worry about how others think of you, because chances are, they don't.

  2. Very enjoyable reading just how this person feels inside reading this gave me an insight into something I have been thinking about doing myself but my wife has no interest. I liked the way this couple found something that made their relationship become new again. The article also justified me being curious about swinging after reading it i don't feel as though i was wrong for thinking about it.

  3. Really interesting article on why "THEY" swing. It is something I have thought about for many years and something we have both talked about but I am a very jealous woman and worry about how I would feel after the first time. I think it is only natural that we are sexually attracted to other people and I seriously wonder if humans are meant to be with just one person for the rest of their life.

  4. George & Donna on

    We enjoyed reading your article as it described our outlook on the subject.We would enjoy meeting you both.or at least being internet friends.

  5. Excellent article – you spoke for me, Cooper, in so many ways! I have been talking to my wife about the same for the best part of last 5 years…. ohm you say 10 years, well, I got to keep going for a bit more 😉

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