The mainstream and the lifestyle
by Eric Nevski
Is swinging becoming a part of the mainstream sex culture in America? It's probably too early to say "yes", however it is making its way into the mainstream media and even into our every day lives. The fact that alternative lifestyles, whether swinging, gay or any other, are out there is something that people are now becoming aware of even though they may not understand or agree with them.
In the mainstream American culture it is no longer safe to assume that if a couple is committed or even married - they are monogamous in their sexual relationship. As many surveys ( not that you need any of them for this one) show - most people cheat on their loved ones at least once during their relationship. So, it is a reality now that most people, no matter how much in love and committed they are to their partners, have strong desires to experience other people's sexualities. Sex is becoming something that men, and now more and more women, are able to separate from love. Therefore, sex with people other than your husband or wife is becoming more of a recreational activity rather than a deep emotional experience and expression of love.
Of course, cheating is pretty much the opposite of swinging, it is still important to understand that our culture is becoming more aware of human sexuality and is tolerating more and more of different sexual preferences and behaviors. Swinging is not one of them yet, however, it may not be too long until this lifestyle will be taken in an account as part of our culture.
One of the first steps towards the general acceptance of the lifestyle could be traced to the fact that swinging is no longer an underground activity. Even though most swingers prefer discretion while taking part in the lifestyle, you can find thousands of couples participating openly in the lifestyle on the Internet. Swing clubs are no longer the only place where couples go out to meet other couples. More and more media are covering the events and reporting on the alternative lifestyle. More and more swingers are "coming out" to their friends and even families, refusing to hide their sexual preferences any longer. The process is long and painful to some couples, however being different and/or free has never come easy to any group of people in the history of this or any other society.
Of course, a typical swinger is no longer a suburban hippie, but a "couple next door" with children and a mortgage. Swingers now are taking over five star hotels and resorts for their activities and events. Alternative lifestyle organizations are becoming more of a legit industry rather than underground "family operation" network. Swingers are usually in long term committed and stable relationships. They are on average well educated and well off financially. The swinging activities can no longer be dismissed as "trailer trash behavior" of people who don't know what's good for them, as many of the participating couples and singles are respected members of the mainstream society.
Many TV shows have recently incorporated swinging couples into their story lines. Not all of the roles are portraying the real world of swinging, some are still just for laughs; like the appearance of a swinging couple on the "Married… with Children" show years ago. However, more liberal shows and channels are looking deeper into the lives of swingers. "Sex and the City" and many other shows on spicy channels like HBO and Playboy Channel are incorporating their storylines and episodes around the alternative lifestyle couples. Swingers are becoming more of a sex movement rather than a suburban tale that everyone's only heard of from someone else.
Recent publications in such major newspapers as San Francisco Chronicle have dedicated their stories to the exploration of the alternative lifestyle and presenting it to the mainstream readers in the "easy to swallow" form.
Movies like "Consenting Adults" have been out for years and maybe are not always understood, but at least accepted by the mainstream audiences. The recent documentary about the lifestyle "Sex with Strangers" is in movie theaters now. It has gotten some moderate but good coverage even in some major publications like Playboy in 2002.
You can also see the difference in the way the mainstream online dating services have expanded their search criteria and the database coverage. From the initial "Men seeking Women" and "Women seeking Men", most major online dating services have moved up to all kinds of choices including any choice for the group activity like "Couples seeking Couples", etc.
As many changes are happening to the alternative lifestyle in the relation to the mainstream society, many swingers will probably have to wait a while until they will be able to let their guard down and enjoy just being "different, but accepted" and not "weird and wrong" in the American society. However it is up to the swinging community to open up to the rest of the American public and plea their case for the acceptance. It is sad, but yet exciting to live in the community where you can consider yourself to be "ahead of the times". So, enjoy your experiences and live it up to its fullest!