Many couples enter swinging while in secure relationships, providing added motivation to avoid excessive health risks. Though some sexual affairs outside relationships may be in “the heat of the moment” without regard to consequences, swingers maintain that sex among swingers is often more frank and deliberative and therefore more honest than unfaithful.
Many swinging clubs in the US and UK do not have alcohol licenses and have a “bring your own beverage” (BYOB) policy. Also, it is not uncommon for experienced swingers to remain sober to preclude any sexual performance problems. This counter-argument suggests that such swingers take a safer approach to sexual health than comparable non-monogamous singles (who ostensibly have impaired judgment from becoming inebriated).
Condoms are often highly encouraged and readily available at many swinging clubs and parties. In addition, many swingers rely on frequent STI testing to ensure their safety. A small portion focus on massage and other activities unlikely to transmit STIs; However, most participants acknowledge they are accepting the same risks that any person does who is sexually active outside of a strictly monogamous relationship.
Although there is a risk of pregnancy, they are the same as monogamous sex and can be minimized. Solutions include a tubal ligation (female sterilization), vasectomy (male sterilization), or having a group entirely made of menopausal women. Other solutions include using condoms or the pill. Proper use of a condom with an effective birth control method minimises the risk of pregnancy and transmission of STIs.
Some believe sexual attraction is part of human nature and should be openly enjoyed by a committed or married couple. Some swingers cite divorce data in the US, claiming the lack of quality of sex and spousal infidelity are significant factors in divorce. One study showed 37% of husbands and 29% of wives admit at least one extramarital affair (Reinisch, 1990), and divorce rates for first marriages percent approached 60%.
According to King (1996) sexual habituation leads to changes in interaction with partners. At three to seven years into a marriage, it takes increased stimulation to produce the sexual excitation previously obtained by a glance or simple touch. A couple receptive to new and different sexual experiences will begin to explore different avenues of shared sexual fulfillment to continue to grow together. At this stressful point infidelity increases and the divorce rate peaks. Couples who find a way to reconnect physically and emotionally are more likely to make it through this period. Swinging may be one solution – it provides sexual variety, adventure, and the opportunity to live out fantasies as a couple without secrecy and deceit.
Many swingers report that their relationships are strengthened through swinging, and say their sex lives are more intimate and satisfying. Jealousy can occur, but proponents of swinging assert that jealousy is mainly couples whose relationships were already unstable. The effect on unstable relationships has yet to be determined.