The Future of Swinging

The Future of Swinging

By Adam Gunn

Recently, a friend asked me for my opinion on what Swinging will look like in the next 20 to 50 years. Here's my thoughts.

Consensual non-monogamy, or the LifeStyle, has been around as long as there have been humans. I have no doubt the real-life characters of the Flintstones and Rubbles swapped occasionally just for fun. Solomon had his concubines. The Romans had orgies. Lord Nelson had a public ménage à trois. Whenever social mores have been accepting, it's easier to find historical evidence of swapping, hotwifing, etc. Whenever society has clamped down, the behavior has gone underground. But I doubt it absolutely stopped in any society, even the most fundamentalist ones.

So, to ask where The Future of Swinging goes is to ask where our social mores are heading.

Our society took a big hit during the Victorian era (mid 1800's tp early 1900s.) At that time all 'improper' behavior was castigated, in England and Europe and in the United States of America and other places around the globe. Then, in the post World War II era, the pendulum began to swing the other way.

First and foremost was the popularity of the automobile. It became relatively easy for girls and boys (and consenting men and women) to get away from prying eyes and do what comes natural. Then came the twin inventions of penicillin and the pill. Once the prevalent diseases of syph and the clap were done away with, and when women could have sex without the fear of becoming pregnant, we were off to the races! Finally, the aura of 'weird' sex lost its forbiddeness in the 'sexual revolution.' (It wasn't a revolution, it just crept out of the closet.) The Summer of Love (1967), the Stonewall Riots (1969) and the publication of Cosmopolitan by Helen Gurley Brown beginning in 1965 brought alternative sexual patterns into the sunlight.

So people had it on their mind. The biggest problem facing a married couple that wanted to swap was where to find partners. The process was made much easier with the invention and popularization of the World Wide Web in the late 1990s. With websites acting as hook-up agents, it was now possible to easily find willing partners.

And that brings us to today, and the future.

Social Mores

At this moment, the social mores of this country (USA) and other enlightened societies are conducive to the LifeStyle. Other than your family and close friends, many people who are interested in opening their marriage are no longer much afraid of other people finding out what they do on Saturday night.

Organized Religion has been losing much of its cachet since the 1960s; there are fewer members of the traditional religions, and even Evangelical churches are beginning to attract fewer people. Reliance on the rules of your particular religion is also slipping; as an example, most Roman Catholics in the United States believe in the Pope, but criticize his stance on a celibate priesthood and abortion. In short, religion is a much reduced check on sexual freedom.

The Media is displaying a more and more positive view on alternative lifestyles. Evidence the swinging-based commercials of Slinger, more articles in mainstream magazines and newspapers, and the appearance of swinging in sitcoms and mainstream documentaries.

In all probability over the next twenty-five years the social mores will continue to loosen, and a larger of percentage of committed couples will consider opening their marriage; more will wind up experimenting. Of this, a predictable percentage will make it an on-going hobby.

But . . . if something occurs that tightens the social mores, we might creep back into the woodwork. Impossible? Oh, no. A catastrophe such as a nuclear war or truly devastating pandemic will do the trick. To see just how close we might be to such a situation, watch The Handmaidens Tale or read If This Goes On by Robert A. Heinlein. It could happen, although I think it's somewhat unlikely.


Sexually transmitted diseases will have an impact on people's willingness to swing. Currently we have three to eight common diseases that can really screw you up.

In the 1960s through the 1980s most people didn't give STDs a second thought. Syphilis and Gonorrhea were the most prevalent at the time, and both could be easily cured by antibiotics.

Then  AIDS and HIV became a real threat in the mid 1980s. (That was a true boom for the condom industry!) Since then, other serious diseases have been added to the mixture.

The fear of disease leads many people to deny themselves extra-marital sex. If cures for the current diseases are found, there will be more swingers. And my prediction is that there will be cures. However, I could be wrong about that, or new diseases could crop up. In my mind, it's a wash.

Birth Control

At this time there are a number of relatively effective methods of birth control, most of them for use by women. It's likely that a birth control pill or other solution for men will be developed. But improvement in this area won't have much impact on the number of swingers.

Getting together with like-minded individuals.

For most people, particularly newcomers, one of the vexing problems is how to find someone to swing with. There are currently two basic solutions.

The first is on-line resources such as Adult Friend Finder and SwingLifeStyle. The usefulness of any particular site depends on developing a large number of clients. Over time, this will get better. Imagine the possibilities if SLS and SDC merged? (And hired professional web developers . . .) This will depend upon market and financial considerations that are difficult to predict.

The other is the prevalence of swing clubs. At the current time, there are relatively few operating clubs. Others will open if and only-if it becomes easier and more profitable to do so. If the number of swingers increases as I predict, more clubs will open.

But, one of the restrictions on a swing club is zoning laws and political influence. Few mayors are likely to get behind a new swing club as committed Christians are much more numerous and likely to vote. And zoning laws are predicated on the whims of these voters. However, I predict that at some point in the future, the denial of permits to swing clubs will be tested in the courts, as the discriminatory zoning of blacks was done. If the courts rule that it is unconstitutional to block swing clubs, there will be a large increase of places to have fun.

In that case, I can see market forces that will impact them, just as there are different bars for different crowds. There will be clubs for the young and pretty, some for empty nesters, and all over Florida clubs will be popping up for the elderly. (They'll open at two for early-bird specials and by 8:00 the action will be long over! The music will be smooth jazz and classic rock.)


But one thing that won't change will be the root patterns of swinging. There will still be foursome swaps, orgies, hotwifing activities. Some people will continue to participate in BDSM and other kinks and perversions. The percentage of people who like each category will probably remain relatively constant,

Of course, it's possible that someone will invent a new way to put Tab A into Slot B, but I doubt it.


Image by danielsampaioneto, digitally altered, cc0