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  • Paul Garland

The Stigma Around Swinging

In today’s day and age, where equality and rights are at the forefront of so many movements across the world, and where people are gradually becoming more tolerant of sexuality, race and gender, why is our ‘liberal’ society still so judgmental about polygamous relationships?

It’s drummed into us from a young age, that a ‘good’ relationship consists of two people, committed to each other and forsaking all others. The Bible specifically teaches us that a one-man-one-woman relationship is the godly way and that anything but that will incur God’s wrath. Our Christian marriage vows state this, promising to be faithful to each other until death do us part but does faithfulness really pertain to sexual exclusivity, or is it really just being worthy of the faith and trust that your partner puts in you? Wedding vows often had, until recently, the promise of one partner to ‘obey’ the other, which has been cut out by many, and of course, we’ve seen the extension of marriages to same-sex couples, so why shouldn’t we be more forgiving in other areas of what is allowable and acceptable in a healthy and ‘good’ marriage or relationship?

Our preconception that sexual exclusivity in a relationship comes partially from evolutionary reasons. A female with children benefits from having the father around, to hunt for food and for protection. It does her less good if his time is divided between her and other females, or if his offspring has competition for his protection. While the male might see the benefit of spreading his seed far and wide to give his progeny the best chance of survival, there is an argument that an even better prospect might be to stay with the female and protect his family. But if he is protecting her young, then he would want to ensure that those young are definitely his and that he’s not spending his time protecting another man’s offspring.

So, there are primitive instinctual reasons as to why sexual exclusivity is desirable, and those reasons above still apply today. But in today’s age of stronger and more independent women, improved rights for women, contraception, DNA tests and child support payments, are they really still relevant?

If you think about it, if a person wants to have sex with another person, with their partner’s consent, using contraception to make sure there are no unwanted pregnancies, and protection to ensure their sexual health isn’t compromised, what logic is there that dictates that the practice is wrong? Take away those religious precepts, this ‘in-built’ programming that tells us otherwise, and the primitive instincts that might swell up inside us, and there isn’t any logical reason as to why it’s wrong.

There’s a hedonistic and thrill-seeking element to it, but rather. non-monogamous couples are often presented and seen as being simply promiscuous but it’s more than that. It’s purely religion and society’s cultural influences on us that tells us that promiscuity is bad. But if all reasonable safeguards are being met, why is it?

There is often a view that swinger couples particularly, only have emotionally shallow and unfulfilling relationships, but most swingers will tell you and demonstrate the exact opposite. Having consensual sex is fun and enjoyable, so even if a couple are married; if they have permission from their partner; what harm is there in having fun with others? In fact, there’s compelling evidence, contrary it to causing harm, that intimacy with others can enhance and invigorate even the most vanilla of relationships.

The fact that our society idealizes monogamy makes extramarital sex a taboo topic that always presents an outlet for sexual fantasies. This alone can increase arousal and provide that spark that might have been missing in a stale relationship. The emotional effect of seeing your partner with someone else also plays a part, especially with heterosexual men, with the feelings of jealousy and humiliation present a way of fetishizing and therefore cathartically dealing with those repressed insecurities that might lie below the surface.

Also, the new experiences that the ‘playing’ or ‘active’ partner has with their chosen third party, could teach them new things — tips and techniques that they can bring home to the bedroom and share with their partner.

Many ‘hotwives’ also say that their confidence and self-image get a boost by having new partners. That feeling of being desired and enjoyed by another can do wonders for your ego, and that’s not to mention how good it feels for the cuckolded husband or ‘stag’ husband to know that his wife is desired by other men, and yet she comes home to be reclaimed by him.

A lot of women might have only ever been with a limited number of partners, and can face frustration when their husband doesn’t want to (or can’t do) a certain position, or sexual practice, wants sex at different times, or simply has a lower libido than them. Again, having a ‘friend with benefits’ who is on call to fulfil and dispel their frustrations can make home life less tense, and remove those pressures on the husband.

Communication is absolutely vital in establishing trust in any relationship and even more so when allowing other sexual partners into a relationship. This improvement in communication skills often extends out of the bedroom (or hotel room) and can better communication between a couple in general, leading to a more honest marriage where things can be talked out more frankly and with fewer misunderstandings and guesswork when it comes to emotional issues.

It also lends itself to safely satiating those unexplored S&M desires that someone might be harbouring. For the woman, humiliating and degrading her husband might provide that sadistic kick that she wants to feel, and for the masochistic husband, it’s a method of experiencing those feelings, without there actually being any physical pain involved.

Of course, non-monogamous lifestyles aren’t for everyone, and no one is saying they are. But the fact that if consensually and safely done, introducing a third party into a relationship, whether it be a stag/hotwife type or a cuckolding type relationship, can actually be a positive and intensely satisfying experience, really does make me wonder why it’s so looked down upon and stigmatized.

If a man plays out of the relationship, he’s looked on as ‘just being a typical man’, ‘thinking with his dick,’ or some such saying, and is often shrugged off by everyone, accepted as something that happens, but if a woman goes outside of her marriage she’s a ‘slut’ and castigated as such.

In a world where homosexuality, bisexuality, interracial relationships, gender-fluidity and cultural restrictions on sexual practices are slowly being accepted and even celebrated, surely it’s about time that we changed our view of polygamy? Sex is a natural act, a way of physically expressing ourselves together as people; a way of enjoying life to its fullest, so why shouldn’t we be allowed to do it without being restrained by society’s illogical and unfounded constraints?

If your partner is happy with it, you’re being safe, and you’ve talked it through properly, have sex with who you want. It’s your body. It’s your life. You only get to live it once.

So live it.

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