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11 Things No One Tells You About Being a Swinger

Being a swinger is a different kind of open relationship—and it's really not for everyone.

The night my partner proposed to me, he made out with a green-haired girl wearing a loincloth. People balked and got worried about how I'd react, but I didn't bat an eye.

Actually, I had just finished kissing her myself.

You see, what most people in the party didn't realize was that my partner and I are swingers. We didn't even know who the green-haired hottie was; we just both wanted to kiss her.

Being a swinger is strange, simply because most people don't understand what swinging is. If you aren't sure, it's a special type of open relationship. Unlike polyamory, romancing a third or fourth partner doesn't ever really happen in swinging.

As a swinger, you can swap partners with other couples or possibly have threesomes—but emotions don't get involved. There are no "solo dates" with the people you swap with. There's also no "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Your partner knows who else you're banging.

Speaking as someone who's been swinging for a hot minute, there's a lot of misconceptions that people have about this lifestyle. It's also a type of lifestyle that's shrouded in secrecy among vanilla folks.

Ever wonder what it's like to be a swinger? Here are some things you might be surprised to learn about within a lifestyle that's very rarely lived out in public.

You will get reactions—lots of them—the moment you admit to being in an open relationship.

Have you ever seen someone react to a couple explaining that they're swingers? Speaking as someone who currently is a swinger, it never gets old—nor does it ever become predictable.

Sometimes, people will react by asking a barrage of questions about your jealousy threshold, how we could do that to each other, if we care about our partners at all, or make similar remarks. Other times, people will react with disgust. Once in a blue moon, they'll assume that you're joking.

Then, there are the assumptions that people make.

If you're hot, you'll see single people react with raised eyebrows, a knowing smile, and an invitation to their bedrooms. If you're older, people will assume you're having a midlife crisis. It's a trip, to say the least.

Swinger couples aren't always happy (or sane) couples.

A lot of people have this assumption that being a swinger means you have a stable relationship, but from what I've found, it's actually somewhat rare—especially when you're dealing with younger swinger couples acting like they are experiencing single life in their early 20s. They just might not be sure if they are truly into the lifestyle.

From my own experience, younger couples tend to use the term "swinger" as a catch-all for cheating that their partner knows about and pretends not to care about. That being said, this isn't just a phenomenon of the "under 30" crowd. Older couples can easily and equally have that tension in their "open relationship."

Finding couples or unicorns is rarely as sexy as you think it'd be.

Ugh, if there's one thing I hate about being part of a swinger couple, it's trying to hunt for other couples without it being awkward. Going to meet-ups, swingers clubs, swingers parties, or even cruising for couples in other venues can easily get as awkward as a high school dance—and I'm saying this as a former nerd.

You see, there's this weird, unspoken tension that happens when you know people are trying to size you up and see if they'd fuck you. You have to present yourself well, you get all self-conscious about your body, and of course, you also get nervous about the other couples' emotional maturity.

Before you can swap, you also have to discuss limits, birth control, and STD safety. You might be asked to "show papers," which means to show your STD test results. Couples who have internalized tips for looking for people looking for a swinger partner also tend to grill each other to see whether the couple in question is stable enough to handle it.

That doesn't sound too sexy, does it?

Swingers can be a cliquey bunch, but there's a reason for it.

A lot of swingers tend to stick together, and that's actually for everyone's safety. After all, sex is risky. STD transmission can happen. Pregnancy can happen if you're unlucky. And breakups? Oh yeah, those definitely happen too. 

A single loose cannon couple is all it can take for you to be traumatized by the lifestyle. When you clique up, you have a better guarantee that you won't have to deal with the fallout that comes from someone who isn't used to it or can't handle it.

There's many different types of swingers out there.

Being a swinger can mean a bunch of different things. It can mean that couples are down for threesomes, foursomes, and orgies. It can mean that couples are down for anything but sex. It can also mean you're down for having sex with strangers and other weird stuff.

Then, some swinger couples have a cuckold or cuckqueaning fetish. So, they may end up just having one partner share. Others are just down for sex with others, minus the kissing. The swinging lifestyle is just as varied as the BDSM world—and sometimes it overlaps.

Confusing, much? It's truly a wild trip. That's why the first thing my partner and I do when we decide to seduce someone is ask about their boundaries. Consent and comfort are number one.

Swinging can take a toll on couples that aren't careful.

Swinging is tough for a lot of people—and some just aren't cut out for it. The amount of work you have to do to be a good swinger partner is what makes it so hard.

To keep a relationship healthy as a swinger, you will need to have perfect communication with your partner. You will also have to have more trust in them than you've ever had with a monogamous partner. That's a lot to ask of someone!

You won't always know how you'll feel about seeing your partner have a sex life that includes other people. You might end up feeling neglected, or in some cases, you may also become straight up jealous.

I find that actually having emotional safe words is a good way to stop things from getting out of hand. On a similar note, asking your partner to romance you can really help you feel loved and cared for.

Jealousy is a legit issue that you will need to deal with.

It's only human to feel jealous or territorial with your partner. Sometimes, you'll get jealous when you notice your partner scoping out someone. Other times, it's because the wrong person hits on your partner. Either way, it will come up, and it's important to be able to deal with it maturely.

The jealousy issue recently cropped up with my current partner—and admittedly, we both laugh about it now. What set my partner's jealousy off was seeing his buddy hit on me pretty hard.

His friend, upon hearing that we were swingers, decided to start hitting on me overtly. When it got to the point that he started bragging about his penis size, my spouse got visibly annoyed and changed the subject.

I turned to him, "I think your friend has a crush on me."

"No he doesn't," he said, huffing. "And even if he did, he's way too young for you. You need a man with sensitivity and experience to pleasure you, not a young kid."

Had I acted any differently, he might have thought I was showing signs of cheating that most everyone misses. However, I started cracking up, "Bro, he's two years younger than you. I'm 10 years older than you. Do you have any idea how hilarious hearing this coming outta your mouth sounds?"

After I hugged him and paid extra attention to him, he felt a lot better. He then realized that I wasn't going to sleep with his friend without his permission, and he really started to realize how silly he sounded.

We both laughed. It was a good night.

Some vanilla couples get weirded out by swingers.

One of the things no one expects when they decide to give swinging a try is how vanilla couples react. Some are cool with it. Others will start asking you a ton of questions.  

Then, there are people who get very awkward around you. This happened when my partner and I approached a couple we both found attractive. They seemed like they'd be down, but it ended up that they're vanilla. (Oops!)

We used to be able to chat with them pretty freely. These days, not so much. They both give us warmer smiles because they know we think they're hot, but they're afraid to stay alone in a room with us.

Too many people tend to assume that being a swinger means you'll fuck anything—and this leads to really ugly situations.

If there's one major downside to being a swinger, it's the fact that people automatically assume you'll both have sex with anything and anyone that approaches you. More often than not, this means that you will end up with sexually aggressive creeps hounding you for sex.

As bad as it is, sometimes, people don't get the hint. When this happens, it often ends up with people cutting ties with them—and at times, publicly humiliating them.

Most of the times, it's a sexually aggressive guy who instantly demands, harasses, and begs for sex. This type of guy is never welcome in swinger communities, and often finds themselves surrounded by very angry bouncers if they attend a meet-up.

Unfortunately, this happened with a male friend who decided it was okay to force his hand up my shorts after I kept swatting his hand away. My husband was passed out in the other room, and I kept telling our guest to stop.

After he didn't stop, I let out a shriek, kicked him out of the house, and later explained to him that what he was doing was a form of sexual assault. He apologized, but the damage was already done.

But, it doesn't only happen with male creeps; female creeps exist, too.

Once in a very blue moon, you'll also meet women who fit the bill of a creep. Unlike male creeps, what female creeps want is to date male swingers. In other words, they want your boyfriend and will do whatever they can to get you out of the picture.

This happened with my partner right before we came out about being a swinger couple. We were at a nightclub when it happened, and it got very ugly, very quick.

She was a club-goer that immediately got extremely rude with me, and kept cutting in front of me while I spoke with my partner. She was very visibly flirting with him, and my partner was clearly none the wiser because guys tend to be very clueless.

I pulled my partner aside and told him that if he continues to humor the girl, I will dump him then and there. He was shocked, and then realized that the girl was trying to break us up and leave with him. He immediately cut her out of the picture.

Later on, he admitted to me that he felt uncomfortable around her and that he didn't like how she was grabbing him. He just felt he couldn't say anything because she was a girl.

It all feels like a relationship lifehack.

Considering all the ugly stuff I've told you about being a swinger, it's probably hard for you to believe that it could be fun. But, honestly? It is. It's tons of fun, and lets you explore sides of yourself that you would otherwise lock away.

I love the fact that my relationship has that much freedom to it, and knowing that we'll never be sexually bored. I love the fact that I don't have to worry about being tempted to cheat, or that I don't have to wonder what would happen if I slept with someone else.

All things considered, swinging made my relationship a lot healthier, and it's not something I'd ever trade for the world. For those of us who can handle it, it's a lifestyle that you can never give up.

Read next: Finding the One
Sasha Konikovo
Sasha Konikovo

Born in the Ukraine and currently a citizen of New York City, Sasha Konikovo has become obsessed with makeup, fashion, and anything that keeps her svelte figure looking sharp. She hopes to marry a billionaire and have a lifestyle like Paris Hilton soon enough.

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11 Things No One Tells You About Being a Swinger
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