by Lorne Caplan
Director of Content
It's the lies and secrecy that destroys relationships, not swinging
Swingers, players and swappers will often say that relationships aren't damaged by the sex and philandering (friends with benefits) . Rather it is the lies and secrecy that come with not being honest and communicative about the needs of each partner. Certainly, being caught in a lie and hiding it aren't easy or recommended, so perhaps these people are onto something?
Well, not really, since those who practice these open relationships are a small minority of married couples and other "committed" relationships. It's actually oxymoronic when someone can consider themselves in a committed relationship when in fact they are being intimate with numerous other people over time. While a relationship may survive for a period of time with an arrangement along the lines of swinging, as time passes, human emotions seep in and destroy the relationship instead of the secrecy and lies.
Do a very few relationships survive this lifestyle choice? Sure, but they are indeed the outliers in any analysis. A greater likelihood is the experience of serious consequences, compounded by acrimony and multiple parties to the quick unraveling of most relationships that practiced this brand of sexual promiscuity. It's not difficult to imagine how and why relationships that practice these forms of open lifestyles work for a period of adventure and then fall to pieces so quickly. The fact is that the roller coaster of passion coupled with difficult emotional realities of multiple partners is indeed a lie. People can try to say intimacy doesn't affect their perceptions and commitments, but the human brain, flooded with feel good hormones and adrenaline are enough to confuse and misdirect feelings to the point that some in fact go a little further than divorce after a nasty legal fight.
Dateline NBC was actually covering a story that related to a swinging relationship that ended with the murder of one of the participants. The title is "Mystery of a Murdered Major" and unravels just as most would suspect. Initially, the couple practicing the swinging lifestyle seemed perfectly happy, juggling relationships, arrangements to have sex with members of "key clubs" that meet and drop keys in a bowl, picking up one randomly to go out with the owner of that key. The concepts range from making sure that the sexual promiscuity is as "safe" as possible. Meaning, the arrangements are supposed to be within certain parameters. Not surprisingly, those parameters start to fray and the need to satisfy carnal urges begins to take on significant survival needs and then... well, you get the idea.
I won't get into the gory, sordid details of how a swinging couple ended up murdering one of the participants in their sexual "club". It's easy to see how feelings and emotions can turn what are supposed to be casual, strictly sexual encounters, into possessive, frantic actions of desperate people who don't consider the deals that they had with their spouses or partners. Is divorce easy? In most cases, no. It's a tough choice that takes months if not years to resolve and even then leaves children and spouses mentally and sometimes physically scarred. Unfortunately some people choose these options which may extend the false sense of comfort, sincerity and normalcy, but if I were a betting man, in over 99% of cases where couples opt for the swinging lifestyle, the culture of intimacy with different partners is a reality that only a very few mentally unique individuals can continue to pull-off.