Why Are Non-Monogamous People Proud To Be Polyamorous but Ashamed To Identify As Swingers?

A swinger couple’s perspective on the stigma placed on swinging vs polyamory

“I’m monogamous, but I’d be far less embarrassed to be polyamorous than be a swinger.”
“Polyamory just seems more respectable than swinging.”
“At least there’s more to polyamory than just sex.”
– Users’ comments on our various TikTok videos

The term “swinging” has long been associated with non-monogamous behavior, specifically, couples engaging in sexual activity with other people outside of their relationship. However, this term has often been looked down upon and carries a negative connotation.

One reason for this negative perception is that swinging is often associated with a lack of emotional connection and a focus solely on sexual pleasure. This can be seen as shallow and superficial, leading to the perception that those who engage in swinging are lacking in some way.

In contrast, polyamory is often seen as a more “respectable” form of non-monogamy because it involves building romantic connections with multiple partners. This is generally seen as a “more mature and fulfilling” way of engaging in non-monogamous relationships.

However, these perceptions of swinging and polyamory are not fair or accurate. Both can be healthy and fulfilling ways of engaging in non-monogamous relationships, as long as all parties involved are fully informed and consenting.

For many couples who practice swinging as their form of consensual non-monogamy, it’s about much more than just mindless pleasure-seeking.

Like polyamory, at its core, swinging is about openly and honestly communicating with one’s partner(s) about their sexual desires and boundaries, and finding like-minded individuals who share similar interests. It’s a way of exploring one’s sexuality in a safe, judgment-free environment and strengthening the bond between partners.

Swinging can provide a sense of excitement and adventure in addition to being a way of fostering trust and open communication within the relationship. It’s a way of breaking free from societal norms and expectations and embracing one’s sexuality in a way that feels authentic and true to oneself.

There is one key difference between swinging and polyamory: the role of romantic monogamy.

Many couples who engage in swinging (typically this is with other couples together) prioritize maintaining a strong emotional bond with one another and prioritize their own romantic relationship. However, swingers often develop deep friendships with the other people they engage with sexually.

These friendships are built on trust, communication, and mutual respect, and having some sort of emotional or intimate friendship connection, albeit not romantic, plays an important role in choosing potential play partners and friends. They are trusting another person to be sexually intimate with someone they love and don’t take that lightly.

Swinging is much more than just meaningless, hedonistic sex with multiple partners. The incorrect stereotype of the label “swinger” has deterred many people, the newer generation specifically, from using the term and identifying as swingers, even if it’s what best describes their relationship dynamic.

Being a young swinger couple ourselves, both 30 years old at the time of writing this and swinging since we were 22, we’re confused why there’s such a stigma of the term compared to polyamory. Both are valid types of open relationships, yet the polyamorous community is proud to identify as poly or polyamorous and the swinging community is scoffed at when using our label. We can use the general term and say we’re “open,” but identifying as swingers defines the type of relationship dynamic we have, are proud of having, and we shouldn’t be ashamed of it.

It’s important for the non-monogamy community to come together and support each other, rather than judging and criticizing those who engage in different forms of non-monogamy. By doing so, we can help to normalize open relationships and reduce the stigma that still surrounds them.

Swinging and polyamory are both valid forms of non-monogamy, and it’s time for us to move beyond the negative stereotypes and embrace them as part of a diverse and healthy community and society.