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Psychology of Swinging (The Lifestyle)

Uploaded 11/15/2013, approx. 4 minute read

My name is Sam Vaknin and I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.

The lifestyle involves sexual acts performed by more than two participants, whether in the same space or separately. The lifestyle is also known as swinging, wife or spouse-sharing or swapping, group sex, and where multiple people interact with a single person, gang banging.

Swinging can be soft, engaging in sexual activity with one's own intimate partner but in the presence of others, or hard, having sex not with one's spouse or mate.

The psychological background to such unusual pursuits is not clear and has never been studied or established in depth. Still, thousands of online chats between active and wannabe adherents in various forums reveal ten psychodynamic strengths.

One, latent and overt bisexuality and homosexuality. Both men and women adopt swinging as a way to sample same-sex experiences in a tolerant, Italian's anonymous and permissive environment.

Then there is the Slut-Madona complex. To be sexually attracted to their spouses, some men need to debase and humiliate them by witnessing their sluttish conduct with others. These men find it difficult to have regular intimate sex with women to whom they are emotionally attached and whose property is beyond doubt. Sex is dirty in their minds, it is demeaning and should be mechanical, the preserve of boorish and promiscuous partners.

Voyeurism and exhibitionism are both rampant and satisfied by swinging. Oftentimes, those who partake in the lifestyle document their exploits of video and share photos and saucy verbal descriptions with each other. Amateur porn and public sex, known as dogging, are fixtures of swinging.

Then there is the issue of vicarious gratification.

Cuckolds are typically male swingers who must masturbate to the sight of their partner having sex with another, usually without actually joining the fray. They derive gratification from and are sexually aroused by the evident pleasure experienced by their significant other with another person. Her vocalizations, body language, body fluids, enraptured movements, orgasm and abandon.

Masochism is a prime motive for a minority of singers. They relish in their own agony as they watch their spouse hooking up with others. Feelings of envy, pain, anxiety, a sense of humiliation, an overpowering feeling of worthlessness and inadequacy, sinfulness, debauchery, depravity and decadence all conspire to thrill the masochist and delight him.

Swinging is also a form of legitimized cheating. It spices up the stale sex lives of the players and neutralizes the emotional and financial risks and threats associated with flirty extramarital escapades.

Many swingers adopt the lifestyle in order to alleviate boredom, counter routine, feel desirable and attractive again, learn new techniques and cope with discrepancies in sex life.

They insist, swinging saved my marriage.

Some swingers use the lifestyle to display or exhibit their partners, casting them as desired and desirable trophies or status symbols. Others present may sexually sample my wife but never own her, says the swinger.

It's a form of restricted access, which causes her suitors much envy and frustration. I am the one who ends up going home with her, these swingers brag, thus reaffirming their own irresistibility and attractiveness.

The lifestyle is a rollercoaster of serial relationships mostly with strangers. It is therefore thrilling, risky and exciting and provokes anxiety, romantic jealousy and guilt for having dragged the partner into the lifestyle or for not having restrained her in time.

There is also a recurrent fear of losing the partner owing to a growing emotional or sexual bonds with one of her casual f-buddies or friends with benefits.

Swinging results in an adrenaline rush, a high, and in addictive periods of calm after these self-inflicted psychosexual storms.

Swinging calls for the objectification of the sexual partner.

Many swingers prefer to remain anonymous in settings like lifestyle retreats or group sex and orgies.

They are thus reduced to genitalia and erogenous zones enmeshed in autoerotic and narcissistic acts of masturbatory gratification, using other people's bodies as mere props.

Other practitioners of swinging actually prefer to swing only with close friends, using sex as a form of intimacy-enhancing recreation.

Finally, nudity has a pronounced aesthetic dimension.

When multiple naked bodies intertwine, the combination can amount to a work of art, a flesh and blood-throwing sculpture.

Many swingers find sex to be the most supreme form of artistic experience, an interconnectedness that enhances empathy and communication and provides extreme central pleasure.

It is also great fun, the ultimate in entertainment, where novelty and familiarity merge to yield a unique journey with each new entrance and new experience.

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