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 Janet Kira Lessin & Sasha Lessin, Ph. D.


Many subcategories crowd beneath the polyamory umbrella but by far the most popular subcategory of folks to squeeze into our umbrella of late is poly swingers.

Poly swingers are those, usually couples, whoíve stumbled onto polyamory by way of swinging but within the swinging scene, they create ongoing emotional relationships and realize they're polyamorous.  They continue in the swing scene, but become polyamorous within it, seeking relationship and continuity with lovers whom they find in that scene.  And they continue to adhere to the prime rule of swinging: honor and preserve your primary relationship, taking care not to let sex outside the primary couple sour that primary committment.

Couples that come this way to polyamory may first open up their marriages at swing clubs where they connect with others who are swingers and having wild sex.  They thought they were seeking just sexual adventure but find they prefer sex with people who become their friends and enjoy their recurrent company.

Sometimes couples who come to polyamory from the swing scene didnít actually engage in sex with others in the clubs.  At the clubs, these would-be swingers just made love with each other or watched others and then went home with each other and had sex while charged with what they witnessed. Whether or not they engaged in sex at the clubs or connected at the clubs with others whom they did make love with, they had a chance to look at and perhaps try swinging as a sexual episode pretty much devoid of ongoing emotional involvement with anyone but each other.  They realized they wanted something different than conventional swinging.

Many couples who initially identified as swingers come to us (weíre relationship counselors) and ask how to find special singles or couples to join them as lovers.  Though they'd identified as swingers, they're really polyamorists.  Though they may not want to live with the man, woman or couple they seek, they seek relationship with them. They want more than isolated episodes in clubs or elsewhere where they donít really know the other people. They don't seek total commitment, living with the lovers they seek or even sharing their daily lives. They want some of the best of polyamorous multiple person loving: sex, romance, intimacy, love, shared recreation, good conversation--but not complicated live-in relationships and marriage-like commitments that get messy and difficult.

These swingers-come-polys want to be able to trust the new lover or couple, to dispense with condoms and feel flesh to flesh. Polys who stay in the swing scene still want to make love, have sex, get off, get down, raunchy and dirty. They want to play with total abandon and do all the sexually things formerly forbidden. They want to walk on the wild side and still have the comfort and security of their monogamous home life.  They want to feel love and intimacy without giving that new person dominion over their lives and power to alter decisions they already have as a couple.

In many instances, such poly swing couples want to fulfill their partnerís wildest fantasies. They enjoy their beloved getting everything she or he ever wanted sexually. They love watching their partnerís pleasure, enjoy his or her orgasms. Poly swingers get their voyeuristic fill, see everything they always wanted to see, live, in person, and not just by watching anonymous swingers in a club, party or one-time date.

Poly swingers get to touch places and things they never thought they would. They have experiences with people of all colors and orientations. When wannabe swingers become poly they can be touched by many hands in many places, simultaneously, which brings them to new levels of orgiastic, ecstatic bliss..

The classic swinger caveat--avoid as a couple any emotional entanglement with outside sex partners and regard emotional involvement with others as a threat to the primary relationship--has validity.  Emotions, especially new relationship energy and the challenges of living with a new lover, can be daunting; so thereís something to be said for "keeping it light" as classic swingers do. If you arenít too involved with new sex partners, you may avoid dysfunctions common with dyadic, often co-dependant couple relationships. Maybe itís enough for two to figure out finances and how to raise the kids and you donít need more people telling you what to do, when, where, how and why.

And privacy, so valued by swingers, is a good thing. Itís nice to share your home for an evening but not romantic having to fight for the bathroom on an ongoing basis. Poly swingers, like anonymous swingers, can maintain their privacy and avoid emotional over involvement.

Polyamoryís about accepting diversity, even variety, in how you make love.  You donít always have to seek live-in, long-term, forever relationships to be polyamorous. If you chose a relationship that fulfills a need or desire and may not last forever, that doesnít make you a swinger, either.  You're a poly if you seek relationship, even in the swing scene.

If youíve tried swinging and want more intimacy but still want your couple privacy, you may chose to move into non-co-residential polyamory. Develop your own intimate network of lovers in the swing scene or through polyamory channels such as World Polyamory Association conventions, mixed swinger/poly venues like our Club Tantra on Maui, poly websites or natural evolution with good friends.  You may not chose to wear any labels (swinger, poly swinger or  polyamorous purist), but rather just enjoy your connections with others who share loving in this new, exciting, intimate way. Polyamoryís diverse enough to embrace all variations of lifestyles. Nowís the time for you to enjoy the flavor of polyamory that most suites your tastes.


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Revised: September 07, 2011


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