Swinging In America: 2.5 Million Couples Contribute to a $9.5 Billion Global Industry

The “swing” lifestyle, also known as partner swapping or consensual non-monogamy, is a practice where committed couples engage in consensual sexual activities with other couples. While exact figures are difficult to determine due to the private nature of this lifestyle, various studies provide insights into its prevalence:

United States:

smart happy couple.
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   – 2.35% of American adults identify as swingers, translating to approximately 2.5 million couples actively participating in this lifestyle.

   – Between 2% and 10% of American married couples have engaged in swinging at some point in their relationship.

   – 15% of U.S. couples have experimented with swinging, and 25% have expressed interest in trying it.

Global Perspective:

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   – 7% of married couples in the Netherlands have tried swinging.

   – 10% of couples in Australia have engaged in swinging.

   – In Spain, swinging is more common in urban areas.

   – Japan has a lower prevalence of swinging due to cultural factors.

happy couple
Photo credit Samuel Borges Photography

   – Swingers tend to be middle-aged, married, or in committed relationships, with above-average education and income levels.

   – Marriage increases the likelihood of being an active swinger by 32% compared to other relationship types.

   – The swinging industry is worth an estimated $9.5 billion globally.

   – 49% of Millennials see their ideal relationship as non-monogamous, indicating a growing trend towards non-traditional relationships.

These statistics suggest that while swinging is not a mainstream practice, it is more common than often perceived, particularly among certain demographics and in specific regions.

Couples choose to engage in swinging for various reasons

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There are a variety or reasons couples embrace the Swing lifestyle. They include:

1. To Spice Up Their Relationship:

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Many couples participate in swinging to add variety and excitement to their sexual lives, which can help strengthen their bond and keep their relationship fresh.

2. To Address Mismatched Libido:

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Swinging can be a way to manage differences in sexual desire between partners, allowing each person to fulfill their needs without compromising their primary relationship.

3. To Act Out Sexual Fantasies:

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Couples may engage in swinging to explore and fulfill specific sexual fantasies that do not fit within their existing relationship, such as bisexuality or voyeuristic desires.

4. To Build Trust:

couple holding hands
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Some couples believe that swinging helps build trust in each other, as they are privy to their partner’s actions and desires, and nothing is hidden from them.

5. To Avoid Cheating:

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Swinging can be seen as a way to avoid the negative consequences of infidelity, as both partners are aware of and consent to the activities.

6. For Personal Growth and Exploration:

couple hugging
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Swinging can provide an opportunity for individuals to learn about themselves, their desires, and their boundaries, leading to personal growth and self-awareness.

7. To Enhance Emotional Connection:

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For some couples, swinging can bring them closer together, as they share new experiences and work together to navigate the complexities of non-monogamy.

8. To Fulfill Bisexual Desires:

Polygamy love triangle, cheatingconcept. Bisexual woman couple man with girlfriend or boyfriend

If one or both partners identify as bisexual, swinging can be a way to fulfill their sexual needs without feeling restricted to a single gender.

9. For the Thrill and Adventure:

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Some couples engage in swinging simply because they enjoy the excitement and novelty of exploring new sexual experiences together.

how couples balance swinging with maintaining their primary relationship

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Couples typically negotiate the rules for swinging by engaging in open and honest communication about their desires, boundaries, and expectations. Here are some key steps in this process:

1. Establishing Clear Boundaries:

Couple holding hands.
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Couples discuss and agree upon what activities are acceptable and what is off-limits. This includes setting boundaries for sexual encounters, emotional connections, and interactions with other couples.

2. Defining Comfort Zones:

couple drinking cocktails.
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Partners identify their comfort levels and communicate them to each other. This helps in understanding what each person is willing to do and what they are not comfortable with.

3. Negotiating Consent:

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Couples ensure that all parties involved have given explicit consent before engaging in any activity. This involves ongoing communication and checking in regularly to ensure that everyone remains comfortable and enthusiastic

4. Setting Ground Rules:

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Couples establish specific rules for their swinging experiences, such as guidelines for safe sex practices, communication protocols, and how to handle jealousy or insecurity.

5. Regular Check-Ins:

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Partners regularly discuss their experiences, feelings, and any concerns that arise. This helps in maintaining open communication, addressing issues promptly, and adapting to changing desires and boundaries.

6. Flexibility and Adaptation:

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Couples recognize that individual desires and boundaries may evolve over time. They remain open to revisiting and revising their rules and boundaries as needed to ensure that both partners’ needs are respected and fulfilled.

By following these steps, couples can create a framework for swinging that prioritizes mutual respect, trust, and open communication, ensuring a positive and fulfilling experience for all involved.

Common misconceptions about swinging

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There are many misconceptions about swinging and the people who engage in the lifestyle. The most common are:

1. All Women Are Bi, All Men Are Straight:

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This misconception assumes that all women who swing are bisexual and all men are straight. However, in reality, both men and women can have varying sexual orientations and preferences.

2. Swingers Will Have Sex with Anyone:

Cheating woman.
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Swingers are often portrayed as being promiscuous and willing to have sex with anyone. In reality, they are often picky about their partners and choose them based on attraction, chemistry, and compatibility.

3. Swinging Is Cheating:

woman cheating.
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Swinging is often misunderstood as a form of cheating. However, it is a mutually agreed upon activity between partners, which distinguishes it from infidelity.

4. Swinging Is Only About Sex:

couple in bed. Sex.
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While sex is a part of swinging, it is not the only aspect. Many couples engage in swinging to strengthen their relationship, build trust, and explore new experiences together.

5. STDs Are Rampant Among Swingers:

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There is a misconception that swingers are more likely to contract STDs due to their non-monogamous lifestyle. However, research suggests that swingers are just as cautious about safe sex practices as the general population.

6. Women Who Swing Are Slutty:

woman grasping bed sheet.
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This misconception is rooted in societal judgments about women’s sexuality. In reality, women who swing are simply exercising their sexual agency and making choices about their own desires and boundaries.

7. Swinging Is Only for Unhappy Couples:

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   – Swinging is often seen as a way to save a failing relationship. However, many couples who swing are actually happy and fulfilled in their relationships, and they engage in swinging as a way to enhance their connection and explore new experiences together.

8. Swingers Are Not Emotionally Connected:

couple kissing.
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Swinging is often misunderstood as being purely physical, without emotional connection. However, many swinging couples report strong emotional bonds and a deeper connection with each other as a result of their non-monogamous lifestyle.

These misconceptions highlight the need for greater understanding and education about the swinging lifestyle and its complexities.

how swinging impacts the emotional connection between partners

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Swinging can have both positive and negative impacts on the emotional connection between partners, depending on various factors and individual experiences. Here are some key points to consider:

 Positive Impacts

Couple in love.
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There are many positive impacts when a couple are maturely engaging with each other in a swing lifestyle. They include:

1. Increased Trust:

couple holding hands on beach.
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Swinging can help build trust between partners as they are privy to each other’s desires and actions, and nothing is hidden from them. This transparency can strengthen their bond and create a deeper sense of trust.

2. Emotional Intimacy:

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Engaging in swinging can foster emotional intimacy by encouraging open communication, mutual understanding, and a sense of shared experience. This can bring partners closer together and enhance their emotional connection.

3. Shared Adventure:

Couple hugging.
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Swinging can be a shared adventure that couples embark on together, creating a sense of excitement and novelty in their relationship. This shared experience can strengthen their emotional bond and create lasting memories.

 Negative Impacts

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If a couple is either immature, or lacking in essential communication skills, or is using Swinging to replace intimacy and connection in a flailing relationship then these are some of the negative impacts that can arise.

1. Jealousy and Insecurity:

Jealous man.
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Swinging can trigger feelings of jealousy and insecurity in one or both partners, particularly if there are underlying attachment issues or if the rules of engagement are not clearly established. This can lead to emotional distress and strain on the relationship.

2. Emotional Risks:

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Swinging can expose partners to a range of emotional risks, including envy, feelings of neglect, and difficulties in finding honest play partners. If not managed effectively, these risks can negatively impact the emotional connection between partners.

3. Communication Breakdowns:

Woman gesturing while quarreling with her partner in the living room
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If communication breaks down or is not effective, swinging can lead to misunderstandings, resentment, and emotional disconnection. It is crucial for partners to maintain open and honest communication to mitigate these risks.

 Key Factors

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1. Communication:

   – Effective communication is essential in maintaining a healthy emotional connection while swinging. Partners must be able to discuss their desires, boundaries, and feelings openly and honestly.

2. Trust and Respect:

   – A strong foundation of trust and respect is necessary for swinging to have a positive impact on the emotional connection. Partners must respect each other’s boundaries and desires, and trust that their partner will prioritize their relationship.

3. Emotional Maturity:

   – Swinging requires emotional maturity and the ability to navigate complex emotions. Partners must be able to manage their own emotions and respond to their partner’s emotions in a constructive manner.

Swinging can have both positive and negative impacts on the emotional connection between partners. The outcome depends on factors such as communication, trust, respect, and emotional maturity. If managed effectively, swinging can enhance the emotional connection, but if not, it can lead to emotional distress and strain on the relationship.

how couples handle jealousy in the swinging lifestyle

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Couples handle jealousy in the swinging lifestyle by employing various strategies to manage and overcome their feelings of jealousy. Here are some key methods:

1. Open Communication:

Man and woman dating in cafe - couple
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Couples engage in open and honest communication about their feelings, desires, and boundaries. This helps to address jealousy early on and prevents misunderstandings.

2. Emotional Support:

Young gay couple.
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Partners provide emotional support and reassurance to each other, which helps to alleviate feelings of jealousy and insecurity.

3. Self-Reflection:

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Individuals reflect on their own emotions and identify the root causes of their jealousy. This self-awareness helps them to address their fears and insecurities more effectively.

4. Setting Boundaries:

couple talking.
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Couples establish clear boundaries and rules for their swinging activities, which helps to minimize feelings of jealousy and ensure that both partners are comfortable with the arrangement.

5. Trust and Affirmation:

two happy young women embracing or hugging
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Partners work to build trust and provide affirmation to each other, which helps to counteract feelings of jealousy and insecurity.

6. Gradual Exposure:

woman in bed with blanket.
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   – Couples gradually expose themselves to swinging activities, starting with small steps, to help build comfort and confidence.

7. Addressing Past Trauma:

Elder senior man talking with therapist.
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 Individuals may need to address past traumas or emotional wounds that contribute to their jealousy. This can involve seeking professional help or engaging in personal growth activities.

8. Education and Understanding:

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 Couples educate themselves about the swinging lifestyle and the emotions that come with it. This understanding helps them to better manage jealousy and navigate the complexities of non-monogamy.

By employing these strategies, couples can effectively manage jealousy and maintain a healthy, fulfilling relationship within the swinging lifestyle.


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The swinging lifestyle, also known as partner swapping or consensual non-monogamy, is more prevalent than often perceived, with a significant number of couples in the U.S. and globally participating. Couples engage in this lifestyle for various reasons, such as spicing up their relationship, addressing mismatched libidos, and exploring sexual fantasies. Effective communication, trust, and emotional maturity are crucial for maintaining a healthy relationship while swinging. Despite common misconceptions, swinging is not solely about sex and can, in fact, enhance emotional intimacy and connection between partners.

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  • Robin Jaffin

    As the co-founder and managing partner of the digital media partnership Shift Works Partners, LLC through two online media brands, FODMAP Everyday® and The Queen Zone she has played a pivotal role in promoting dietary solutions for individuals with specific needs in the health and wellness industry as well as amplify the voices and experiences of women worldwide.

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