Swinging – The Games Your Neighbours Play

I arrived home late one night to discover a note on the doormat from my wife. She said there had been a message from someone at the local BBC radio station wondering if I would be willing to be interviewed about swinging. Sounded fun so I sent a text to say I would be willing to take part.

The note had also mentioned that they were to interview the author of a new book called “Swinging – The Games Your Neighbours Play” and they wanted another view as part of the show.

I was in meetings the following day so had little opportunity to find out more before visiting the studio in the afternoon. The guys in the office had a go at looking for some stuff on the internet that might be helpful. They was very surprised to see that there was very little they could find that was written about the subject from a Christian point of view.

I have not read the book, but got the mood of it from the author when he promoted it on the radio. It was as I expected from the title and the quote from the promotional blurb on the book, “Your neighbours are doing it. Your relatives are doing it. Even your colleagues are doing it.” He claimed that swinging is more widespread than many realise. Where is his research I wonder? Though the internet has resulted in a growth in the sex industry generally, and regarding promiscuity, it makes access to opportunity easier.

Mr Brendon also claimed, predictably, that the practice could enhance and save a troubled marriage. What rubbish! He admitted that confidentiality is extremely important. Swingers must keep their habit a secret from family, their children, work colleagues, neighbours, etc. They will need to be skilled in deception and dishonesty. What must it be like for a wife to hear her husband saying she is loved and cherished by him, when she already knows that he is schooled in deception and dishonesty? When I tell my wife I adore her she knows I am truthful.

So what can we say about “swinging”?

Swinging is nothing new. I first came across the term “swinging” in the 1970s, but sexual promiscuity and marital unfaithfulness have been around a very long time. It is a new name for an old sordid practice. It is predominantly a male game.

In the radio interview the author mentioned an example of a woman who wanted to get into the experience. I don’t know if he chose that example deliberately, but he may have known that the little research that has been done tells us that most couples get involved in swinging as a result of the male taking the lead in suggesting it or initiating it. In 68% of the cases in the Henshel study it was the husband who made the original suggestion to swing. Followed by 20% “joint decision”.

Murstein (1985) found that major reason for dropping out of swinging to be the “wife’s inability to take it”. This confirms my conclusion that it is just old fashioned male promiscuity, but this time with the permission of the eager to please female partner.

It can be addictive. Swinging often comes to dominate the person’s life1. Surely this is not surprising as sex without love can never fully satisfy and will therefore be a drive to find the “more” that is instinctively thought to be “out there” somewhere if only it can be found.

Murstein2 came up with the following conclusions that do not surprise me.

Swingers sexually active at an Earlier age

Swingers reported engaging in sex at an earlier age, having numerous sex partners, and marrying early.

Swinger Social Attitudes

Swingers compared to a control group (non swingers) were more liberal, anti-establishment, anti-religion, and uninvolved in the community. Emphasised rights as more important than duties and that autonomy in children was important. They reported less happy childhoods and poorer relationships with parents.

Counselling

Swingers more likely to have received counselling than the control group.

Initiation

Wives more likely to initiate dropping out.

Ex Swingers compared with non-swingers

Ex-swinger men compared to control men would report poorer relationships with parents, more autonomy, more anti-establishment attitudes, and more interest in friends than relatives.

Surely there is no harm, some would say?

A proponent would likely defend swinging by suggesting that it is fine if it can be done:

  • discretely, (so as not to harm other people)
  • using protection, (so as not to contract an STD or create an unwanted pregnancy)
  • with all partners wilfully consenting (so that it is part of the marriage)
  • and in some cases would suggest that it would be a way to save the marriage.

He is likely to have statistics to back up these ideas. However:

Doing things discretely
If it is not shameful then why is it done discretely?
What are the effects if your children & family find out?
Are you happy to model this to your kids so they get into it

Marriage
1) A marriage cannot be saved by breaking the marriage vows: “forsaking all others” and “What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.”

2) It is nonsensical to think that a marriage can survive or become better by breaking your vows and creating a bond with someone other than your marriage partner – where this becomes normal practice in a marriage then they are not living within their marriage vows and the marriage has, in form, become something else entirely whilst still being called a marriage in name.

3) Finally people have no idea of their worth. To give themselves away cheaply is to show how worthless they themselves believe they are – but they are precious & valuable – bought at a price.

Genesis 2:24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

1 Corinthians 6:15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! 16Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.”17But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit. 18Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. 19Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your body.

Hebrews 13:4 Marriage should be honoured by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.

Galatians 5:19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

  1. Stinnett and Birdsong, 1978 []
  2. “Personality Correlates of Ex-Swingers” by Murstein et al Journal of Family and Economic Issues Vol8.No.1/Sep 1985 []

4 thoughts on “Swinging – The Games Your Neighbours Play

  1. A strong combination indeed. Having looked at the post again I notice, to my horror, that I appear to have lost a line I thought still there. So here it is: Thanks to John & Matt for looking up info for me!

  2. “In 68% of the cases in the Henshel study it was the husband who made the original suggestion to swing. Followed by 20% “joint decision”.”

    So what are we measuring here? Who made the original suggestion or who made the decision? Aren’t these two different things? Graham, of all the holidays you’ve been on over the years, I suspect many were “joint decisions”, but I doubt that any were joint suggestions. I mean, have you ever been sat having dinner with your wife, and simultaneously you have both said, “Let’s go on holiday to X”?

    You can reach a joint decision, but there’s always one person who makes the initial suggestion. Of this 20% of “joint decisions”, I wonder how many were decisions made by both, but suggested by the man.

    Once the wedding vows have been broken, how can you trust anything else your spouse says or promises again?

  3. I agree with you Tim that the “joint decision” thing is unclear. I included it as I think in the research it still shows that only in a minority of cases was in initiated by the woman.

    To me it is the matter of broken trust and a lifestyle of deception that I believe would be so corrosive to a marriage.

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