Swinging is also referred to as partner swapping. Those who participate in the swinging lifestyle are non-monogamous. Typically partners in a committed relationship agree, as a couple, to engage in recreational sex with other people. Swinging can range from informal social gatherings to a swingers' club and internet-based activities.
The phenomenon of swinging may be attributed to the sexual revolution of the 1960s where the invention of the birth control pill and safer sex brought about an upsurge in sexual activity.
As a general rule, swinging couples partake in conventional sexual activities, but with other partners. Sexual penetration is commonly known as a full swap. No penetration, such as oral sex, is referred to as a soft swap.
The mere mention of swinging can definitely lead to a pro/con debate and at the very least, raise an eyebrow or two. There are arguments about the health dangers from having multiple partners or that emotional attachments linked to sexual activity can cause friction in a relationship.
Swingers say they entered the lifestyle while already in secure relationships, and that gives them plenty of motivation to avoid excessive sexual health risks.
As for damaging relationships, some swinging couples maintain their lifestyle and the ability to share it with their partner, has made their relationships stronger. They claim their sex lives are more, not less, intimate and satisfying. In response to moral objections, swingers point out is there is a difference between making love and having sex.
Swingers argue their sexual relations are more intimate because they are with partners who encourage them to fulfill their fantasies. Therefore, the partner is so confident in the relationship that jealousy is not an issue. Swingers also say the lifestyle makes infidelity less likely, as they know they can have sexual contact outside their relationship with their partner's consent.
Certain swinging activities are highly organized. Most major cities across North America and Western Europe have at least one swingers’ club.