Monogamy has for a long time been the norm for sexuality in western culture and indeed it still continues to be so, but for the last decades alternative sexual lifestyles have begun to make their presence more noticed.
- Swinging is now considered as a modern sexual lifestyle. Read more about swinging in general in this Huffington Post article
Swinging or the swapping of partners is one of them and with the help of the internet strong communities and swingers clubs have come to life, as well as an entire subculture with its specific rules and etiquette. Although swinging is a modern concept whose development is hard to track historically, it has been practiced in different forms by different cultures around the globe as we will see next.
It looks like the Americans have swinging in their blood as it was pretty popular even before the European colonisation. It seems to have been a common practice among different Eskimo tribes, although it often had a social meaning and was practiced in certain circumstances and subjected to strict rules.
They did it under the supervision of a shaman in order to attract good weather, to strengthen bonds with neighbouring tribes and as social interaction during the “Bladder Festival”. There are also many other indigenous tribes where spouse-swappig was institutionalised, but because of their isolation most of them gave up these practices under Christian pressure before they could be studied. The Arawete in Brazil and the Bari in Venezuela stand out today for continuing these customs as an integrated part of their tradition.
In the United States the swinging trend is said to have started in the World War II among American Air Force pilots who entrusted their wives to a fellow pilot in case of death, but this view has been contested.
The 1970s hippie movement may also have left its mark, but what we know for sure is that today up to 4% of married couples in the USA practice swinging and, according to research, find it beneficial for their relationship.
There is a variety of swingers clubs across the country most of them associated with the North American Swing Club Association and they have a very strong internet presence as well.
- NASCA actually has a great website where you can join swinger clubs and attend to swinger events as well! Click here to visit the site
In Europe the attitude towards swinging is as open as it is in the USA and you will find many swinger sites and clubs, especially in the Western part. The nude beaches are also an interesting sight to explore as many couples go there to meet potential swinging partners.
In 2010 sex in Vienna got even hotter when an important museum invited a swingers group to express itself openly at night in a Gustav Klimt exhibition. This stands to prove that in Europe sexual inhibitions are getting more challenged and different expressions of sexuality are being embraced by a wider public.
- Even the Telegraph wrote about the Gustav Klimt exhibition and you can read more about it here
As a continent vibrating with sexual energy, there are many sexual tendencies to be found through the myriads of African cultures and swinging finds its place there as well. One example is the Lemda secret society in the French Congo where it is an important aspect of the ritual initiation of a couple.
Although in Asia polygamy is accepted in many countries it is always in the favor of the man and swinging in the modern sense of the word is hard to find and often prosecuted. There are, however, some countries where it begins to gain some ground, such as Japan and Thailand.
Moral views and social attitudes toward sexuality are always changing and people now have the liberty to explore their sexuality in more depth. More often than not this also means having multiple sexual partners and swinging may just be the right option for people who like to be sexually adventurous without giving up their chance at a long time relationship.