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Question: Will this LS put our marriage at risk?

Dear Lounge Advice,

We are very new to this lifestyle, have been to several parties and clubs, and had a couple of encounters with other couples. I have done some research around swinging, my concern being the long term affects of swinging on a marriage. The only thing I have found around this is that while swinging can strengthen a strong marriage, it can be detremental to a weak one. I am concerned about making sure that doing this would not harm my marriage, even though I consider it to be strong. I'm curious if there are studies or statistics around the long term deviorce rate of swinging couples. I (we) are enjoying what we are exploring, but would not do this if I felt it would put my marriage at risk. Any thoughts?



Sincerely,

(Anonymous)

  
Dear (Anonymous),

You should be commended on doing your research.
If there are statistics out there on this sort of thing, I'm not aware of them.
However, statistics will not help you answer your question. Your particular marriage's strength is the only factor you should take into consideration. No statistic will predict whether your marriage can hold up to this.

Here is some general advice I have written in the past, and I feel that this advice is apt for most couples entering the lifestyle:

Swinging in a relationship is like the wind to a fire. If the fire is strong, swinging will be the wind that breathes more life into your fire, making it burn brightly. If your fire is weak, that same wind will eventually extinguish the flames.
The lifestyle is no place for issues. The only type of issues allowed here are the Freudian types. Issues indicate a weak fire, and the aforementioned analogy alludes to the role of swinging to your relationship. The purpose of this lifestyle is to enhance an already fantastic bond. Naturally, there will always be a twinge of jealousy or insecurity. This comes with the territory of loving your mate, and is actually quite healthy. However, excessive jealousy or insecurity are best left outside of the swinging lifestyle. Yes, it takes a lot of trust, love, and acceptance to be involved in our lifestyle. That is why it is best to communicate with your partner thoroughly about your rules and comfort levels before you even entertain the possibility of swinging. If your wife is going to feel threatened by a woman she perceives as prettier than her, you have to work on making her feel secure before you swing. If your husband is going to get jealous if another man comes near you, this issue will make it near impossible to have a friendly swinging experience. Penis envy should be a nonentity in our lifestyle if youíre a couple swapping! If a couple senses that you have these kinds of issues, they will be much less inclined to play with you.
This is the time to look inside the dynamics of your relationship with your mate and determine: Do we have the essential elements needed to make an open relationship viable? This is not a time to rationalize weaknesses by saying that they arenít important; that they will hold up to any challenges swinging will offer. This is a time to be brutally honest and determine, above all is, if your relationship will be sturdy enough to handle any encumbrance that is presented when you and your partner partake in sexual relations with others. You would be demeaning the value of your bond with your significant other if you were to venture into this lifestyle with the goal of sleeping with others above the fate of your relationship. If this is the case, you will quickly find that your misplaced priorities will eclipse the strength of your bond, therefore placing your entire foundation in peril. Place yourselves in certain situations and try to answer hypothetical questions. If you are the woman, how will you feel if your mate hits on another woman at a lifestyle event? If you are the man, how would you react if another man was getting friendly with your wife, with the intention of enjoying sexual relations? How do you think either one of you would respond if an extremely appealing individual invited one of you out alone without the otherís knowledge? Would temptation be too hard to handle, or would your significant other have the strength to say no and inform you of the occurrence? Would you be able to handle seeing your partner engage in mind-blowing sex with another? Or, are you only considering the lifestyle because you no longer feel an attraction to your partner, and are seeking a way to satiate your sexual needs since you are not achieving this at home? Are you doing this because your partner wants sex a lot more often than you, and this is your answer for allowing them to vent some of those sexual urges while you sleep with someone just so he or she can do so?
It is perfectly healthy for one or both of you to determine that your relationship isnít quite ready to handle swinging yet. However, If you feel that you are both in it for the right reasons, and truly capable of withstanding some of the challenges the lifestyle may offer, and believe that you can meet these head-on while still enjoying yourselves and maintaining a strong bond, then you are good candidates for swinging. Now that youíve determined that your fire is strong, read on and get ready for the experience of a lifetime!

After you have determined that you have the proper foundation for entering into the lifestyle, you are ready to talk about myriad things.
Communication is key! If you are going to swing, this is THE most important factor to ensure success in your endeavors. Talk about everything, from possible situations, to feelings, to comfort levels. It is an awful feeling to get hurt when you see a partner do something that you just don't want to see while swinging. Discuss your boundaries up front. If someone gets hurt because you did not express your feelings, the fault lays on you for not expressing yourself. Remember, your mate is not a mind reader, so you must tell him or her what you want and do not want. If this is made known, and they still do it, THEN it is their fault. After every encounter, you will have to talk about it. Ask your partner, "Were you comfortable with what happened?" "Did anything bother you?" This will display your care for their feelings, and will make them more secure upon future rendezvous. Obviously, communication is a key factor in any relationship, but in the lifestyle, it can make or break you. Your sexuality is sacred, and you wouldnít share it with just anyone. After all, sexuality is one of the many important things to bonds you to your partner, so sharing it with others is no light matter.
If you do not feel that the communication in your relationship is up to par, please do not consider the lifestyle until it is. If you or your mate cannot adequately express yourself and your feelings, then you will experience overwhelming difficulties while attempting to swing.

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