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Swinging; A Couples Affair by J. Pith


Social unrest and a global pandemic have changed the way most of us live. I've been fortunate that my inner-circle hasn't been face-to-face with the worst of it. My suffering, limited to a year of working from home, could have been much worse. I'm lucky. Still, I've learned to better appreciate the moment. To explore life with intention.

History of Swinging (#historyofswinging)

Swinging, is also called the Lifestyle and its meaning is? Complicated. Sometimes called the modern day version of the Roman orgy; swinging can be traced back to ancient Egypt.

During World War II, American air service pilots engaged in 'wife-swapping' as a way of bonding. Air service pilots would share wives, pairing-off through "hat and key parties". It was a fun and served as a social contract that the families of pilots killed in action would be cared for by the community.

Throughout the 1960's, the birth control pill and new attitudes towards relationships fuelled female empowerment. The period became known as the Sexual Revolution and North American society widely embraced its newfound liberation.

Swinging Language (#swinginglanguage)

Swinging is a cultural phenomenon and advocates swear that it's about more than physical sex. In addition to a social thread, there is a language that accompanies the swinging culture and members use differing degrees of knowledge when communicating. I learned long ago that speaking the local dialect helps. Here are some terms you'll be happy to know if you explore swinging.

Swinging: By dictionary definition, it's engaging in group sex. This means the swapping of sexual partners. So, that threesome you've dreamt about, it's swinging. Swinging is a form of ethical non-monogamy.

Image 1 (above). Path to Ethical Non-monogamy


Ethical Non-monogamy (ENM): Ethical non-monogamy refers to a relationship model that doesn't exclude sexual acts with others outside of the primary group (in the world of swinging, the group is commonly a couple). 'Ethical' means that the couple has mutually agreed to green-light non-monogamous, sexual acts outside of their relationship. This is in contrast to unethical non-monogamy, commonly called cheating. ENM is an umbrella term that refers to a number of relationship models. In all cases, participants are aware and consent to non-traditional relationship rules around sex and possibly more.


Wife Swapping: The World War II, US Airforce example, describes an early form of modern swinging. It paints a picture of two couples, both with a husband and wife. Husbands would switch wives to engage in sex or 'wife-swap'. Since this was a community activity, temporary sexual-pairings were sometimes created with the help of a hat and car keys. Typically, the husbands would drop their car keys into a hat. Wives would then take turns selecting a set of car keys from the hat. The idea was that a wife would leave with the owner of the car keys and engage in sexual activity for a pre-determined period. These social events became known as key parties.


Lifestyle (LS): Lifestyle is a term that describes the culture of swinging. Examples include language and norms of behaviour. My exploration will target ethical non-monogamy.

Pre-Covid19 swinging took place between married couples, engaged couples, dating couples and singles. There were even 'swouples' or singles that connected solely to swing as a couple. I used past tense because we can't quite be sure how post-covid swinging will look.

Swingers come from all socio-economic spaces, cultures, genders, and fill any occupation that you can think of. When exploring, you may even hear talk about mythical creatures.


Single women in the lifestyle are called 'Unicorns'. Don't wonder why; you already know! Unicorns are mythical because they have never been seen. The name aptly identifies your odds of finding one.

No portion of this material may be reproduced or shared. Copyright JPith.

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