Being Open or Swinging
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Being Open or Swinging
I spoke to a swinging couple from RedHotPie recently who confused a non-scene friend by confessing their...
I spoke to a swinging couple from RedHotPie recently who confused a non-scene friend by confessing their recreational sex habits to her. She wasn't so much confused by the concept of her friends having sex with other people, than the fact that they do not play without each other. She couldn't work out how a couple could engage in multiple partner action but not go off and have sexual relations individually. Wasn't it basically the same thing? Their friend's reaction didn't surprise me really; anything that deviates from conventional sexual relationships often gets lumped together and the intricate differences can't be appreciated fully unless you've gone ahead and tried something other than vanilla lovin'.
There is indeed a common misconception that all swinging couples have an open relationship but nothing could be further from the truth. Their relationship may have open lines of communication to be able to fully discuss their desire to have sex with others and similar fantasies but in most cases the couple only engage in sexual adventures together. In contrast to that, couples in an open relationship do their own thing (married but single) and quite often don't get into swinging situations.
So how does a couple work out if they are swingers or into open relationships? Can you be both or do you have to choose one path or the other ultimately? What works best?
Swinging Or Being Open?
Open relationships seem to suit couples where one or both partners prefer one-on-one sex but with the excitement of various new lovers, whereas swinging suits couples who want to enjoy new lovers together and usually in a group setting. Also, while swingers may be complete newbies to the concept of new sexual partners, more than likely an open couple would have dabbled in multiple partner sex at some point in their current relationship (or at the very least in their previous ones) before deciding on having a complete open relationship. In other instances however, the decision to open up a relationship is purely to do with differing sex drives or the desire to experience a new lover in which case they may be total newbies too.
Interestingly, some open couples actually do not enjoy group sex and threesomes at all, and in cases where only one partner does, he or she may seek encounters with swinging couples or groups to get their kicks. Conversely, both partners of a swinging couple have to like group sex and partner swapping to the same sort of degree for things to work properly. Swinging is therefore ideal for couples who want to share sexual adventures together whereas open relationships give a couple permission to indulge in sexual encounters of their individual preferences.
Sometimes, only one partner in an open couple is active in seeking extra fun (which often seems to attract criticism & disdain) in which case it's fairly clear that having an open relationship is the only option. Swinging definitely requires both partners to be equally interested and committed to meeting people for fun.
Can You Be Open AND Swing?
It's not impossible for a couple to be both swingers and enjoy an open relationship. In fact, you'll probably note amongst the many couple profiles on RedHotPie that quite a few people openly advertise that they are able to play together as a couple or meet with other singles or couples individually. You could say that such couples are highly flexible in their playing arrangements but it isn't something that suits everyone.
If a couple enjoys playing together but one or both partners are also open to meeting other people on their own, they need to be very sure about their arrangements and aware of any shortcomings associated with them. If one partner ends up having more fun in the arrangement than the other, then there needs to be some agreement on how to deal with any imbalance of fun. This may happen if the female of a couple is in more demand to play on her own than the male partner OR even the pair put together. Unless the male partner gets his absolute jollies from knowing that his partner is being sexually satisfied left, right and centre, it is the source of most issues in open relationships.
I've seen some amazing arrangements between a few sets of swinging couples with open relationships who systematically lend out partners in a balanced way so as to provide an extra facet to their partner swapping. This seems to suit couples who love MFM or FFM threesomes but haven't had luck meeting singles to do the job. Maybe this is what you would call a conditional open relationship where 'you can borrow my wife if I can borrow yours next time'?
What's Better: Swinging or Being Open?
It's not really a case of one being better than the other where swinging and open relationships are concerned as every couple is different as are their sexual tastes and requirements. Some couples eschew swinging as they don't wish to see or hear their partners engage in sex with other people (which may set off alarm bells for some) but enjoy the idea of having new lovers and may also feel compelled to let their partners enjoy other people too as a fair exchange. Some couples may feel the opposite and would be more inclined towards jealous feelings to know their partners are being touched by and intimate with someone else, well away from them. Jealousy will definitely determine which path you take, if any at all. Swinging may also be thought of more as a social, friendship making activity whereas open relationships are associated more with discrete meet-ups where partners never really meet lovers. There are probably less issues with swinging couples meeting up for non-sexual meets but a partner spending non-sexual time with a lover could be taking the arrangement into dangerous territory unless the open couple has a strict understanding of what is and isn't allowed. The downside of swinging is that it is indeed a team sport and if one player is sick, bored, turned-off or simply uninterested in the game then that ends your illustrious career in the scene. If neither of you are keen on trying an open relationship then it's back to making monogamy hot again. Swinging also involves more people and therefore the potential for more incompatibility both sexually and socially. This usually means a couple has to court a few couples before finding the perfect ones to swing with. In an open relationship, it's only one partner finding one lover (at a time) and as long as she or he is safe from harm, the other partner need not worry too much about liking the spare shags. What both swinging and open relationships require are very solid rules, boundless honesty and an agreement from the get go that your primary relationship is the most important. If those things aren't kept in check, it can spell disaster whatever way you play. If you've got all your ducks lined up perfectly in a row, couples will find much fulfillment from either swinging or open relationships. If it enhances your primary relationship and brings you closer, who can really say if one works better than the other?
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