Swinger (from English to swing , "to swing back and forth") is a term that has become popular in the 20th century for people who - in the broadest sense - may live out their sexuality with different partners or display it. Swingers do not live in a monogamous partnership, but have (by mutual consent) sexual contact with other, possibly strangers. Swinger clubs and swinger parties or private get-togethers have established themselves as meeting points - places where the general sexual morality widespread in society is of no great importance and where like-minded people meet to swap partners and practice group sex or with their own partner in the company of others Engaging in sexual intercourse.
Promiscuous sexual behavior has existed at almost all times and in all cultures ; H. Sexual intercourse with (often) changing partners. However, swinging must be distinguished from other similar forms such as B. polygamy as an institutional or socially recognized form of marriage (plural marriage ) or polyamory as an actual love relationship between several people. Swing is characterized in particular by the exclusive focus on sexual experience, without submitting to personal relationships or social structures or norms . In this respect, it is a form of interpersonal encounters such. B. comparable to the one-night stand .
There is no doubt that swinging has always been present as a sexual behavior (literally, for example, the orgies in ancient Rome or the concubines and mistresses of the Baroque era ). As an established and widespread social trend (albeit under special conditions, see above), it did not emerge until the middle of the 20th century in America, as the common English term swing suggests. According to Terry Gould's " The Lifestyle: A Look at the Erotic Rites of Swingers, " this movement began in the U.S. Air Force, whose pilots assured each other in the event of death during World War II that they would take care of their comrades' wives, whatever apparently included the sexual. American media soon dubbed this practice wife-swapping, thus giving the idea to the public. In the 1960s, the first organization, the " Sexual Freedom League " was founded in Berkeley, California . Soon after, the North American Swing Club Association (NASCA) was formed, an umbrella organization that brought together information about swinging across America.
Soon after, the widespread swing in other countries and has found a following especially in the Western world today.
In (West) Germany, swinging began to spread in the late 1960s. The oldest swinger magazine still out is Happy Weekend . It was first published in 1972. There were swingers in the GDR as well. The swingers in the GDR established contacts through advertisements in the magazines Das Magazin and Wochenpost . There were texts from “tolerant couples” who were looking for “like-minded couples interested in nudism and photography ”. In the 1980s in particular, there were more such advertisements.
The individual preferences are very broad and include all sexual practices in which third parties can be involved in any form. This can also be exhibitionistic and voyeuristic acts without physical contact (“seeing-showing”, mutual observation or photography of sexual acts).
Since swinging is not currently one of the generally accepted forms of behavior in society, the swinger scene mainly moves in specific rooms such as clubs and the like. The discrepancy between social norms and the swingers, who generally practice and represent free love , is particularly noticeable here; although in this respect too, social acceptance (including homo- and bisexual practices) is growing and moral concepts are gradually changing.
The basic motto of the swinger scene is "Everything can, nothing has to". This means that all types of sexual activity are basically possible and tolerated, but nobody is pressured or even forced to do anything. Most swinger clubs explicitly refer to this motto in their websites and house rules in order to make it clear to the guests that although complex sexual contact with other people is possible and desirable, a guest - unlike in a brothel - has no right to sexual contact Has. A “no” from another guest, which the guest can express non-verbally by corresponding physical rejection, must always be accepted.
Since the beginning of the 1990s, the swinger scene has developed as a subculture in Europe and the United States, and especially in Germany . This development intensified with the advent of the Internet, as many Internet forums and numerous virtual communities represent a very important meeting point. On the one hand, the latter often serve to arrange meetings for sexual contacts. On the other hand, these virtual communities are sometimes the starting point for round tables and scene get-togethers in which sociability and community are more in the foreground than sexual contacts.
No general statement can be made about the social environment of swingers - the swinger scene includes both workers and academics. When swinging, the focus is on sexual contact with other partners, which clearly distinguishes the scene from the very small polyamory movement, in which the development of a life model with several sexual relationships is attempted. In parts of the swinger scene, on the other hand, connections beyond sexual contact are often not desired. The formerly very strong rejection of friendly and closer emotional relationships has been weakening in recent times, and there are gradually increasing overlaps with the polyamorous subculture. As a collective term for both subcultures without strict distinction, the term responsible nonmonogamy is used in the English-speaking world .
In contrast to anonymous encounters in swingers clubs, meetings in the private sphere are becoming increasingly important. This is presumably facilitated by the Internet, as it makes contacting a lot easier. This often creates friendly relationships between two (or more) couples that go beyond the purely sexual. In the Internet forums, such contact requests are often combined with the phrase “friendship plus”.
Motivation and Interpretation
From a sexual science perspective, “the 'problem' of decreasing sexual activity and satisfaction arises in longer couple relationships.” In contrast, “a polygamous way of life could be an alternative. From an ethological, sociobiological point of view and attachment research, however, there is the need for attachment. ”Swinger couples encounter the danger of“ decreasing sexual activity and satisfaction ”through shared sexual activities with third parties while maintaining their relationship.
While the subject of "swinging" is dealt with en masse in the erotic trivial literature, the German-language scientific literature apparently does not deal with it or only deals with it in passing. That fits into the picture of sexology, which is currently considered a "research desert". Insofar as the subject of swingers is deepened in writings beyond practical advice, it is apologetically emphasized and at the same time asserted that, according to biological knowledge, monogamy is not inherent in humans and dangerous for a couple relationship.
But there are also purely literary-psychological lines of reasoning, whereby the triangular relationship has been treated literarily under "love for three" since the middle of the 20th century, without the sexual component being openly described against the background of criminal restrictions at the time.
- Terry Gould: The Lifestyle: A Look at the Erotic Rites of Swingers. ISBN 1552094820 , (English).
- Oliver Schott: Praise the open relationship. About love, sex, sanity and happiness . Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-386505-704-4 .
- Stephan Dressler, Christoph Zink: Pschyrembel Dictionary Sexuality , pp. 386, 527, Gruyter, 2003, ISBN 3-11-016965-7 .
- Paint or Love (Original title: Peindre ou faire l'amour), French comedy film, 2005. Directors: Arnaud Larrieu, Jean-Marie Larrieu
- Swingers - An Immoral Weekend , Dutch feature film, 2002. Director: Stephan Brenninkmeijer
- Swinging with the Finkels, romantic comedy USA 2010, directed by Jonathan Newman
- Affair with friends, feature film Germany 2016, director: Markus Herling 
- Swinger - Desire, Lust, Passion, feature film Great Britain 2016, directed by Colin Kennedy
- Do your doctorate in the swingers club. wdr.de , March 31, 2015
- Lisa Kurth: Germany united in pain. Seitenblick, Königswinter 1997. ISBN 3-9805399-5-4 , p. 291
- Stefanie Bohnstädt: Gender- specific sexual discordances in long-lasting relationships. Osnabrück, 2011, full text online ( memento of the original from October 6, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. PDF, 188 pages 2 MB)), p. 14 (Dissertation University of Osnabrück 2011, 188 pages (
- Stefanie Bohnstädt: Gender- specific sexual discordances in long-lasting relationships. Osnabrück, 2011, full text online ( memento of the original from October 6, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. PDF, 188 pages 2 MB)), p. 1 f (Dissertation University of Osnabrück 2011, 188 pages (
- Claus P. Cleber: New ways in partnership. The mutual affair. 2010, ISBN 3-83919-282-X , p. 11.