There’s only one thing wrong with wife swapping. You get another wife. - Scott Roeben
The accepted and more politically correct term for it is of course “swinging”, but frankly I prefer the older term, and it isn’t just because I’m sexually submissive and it’s a lot more descriptive than the rather vague, bland “swinging”. No, the main reason I prefer “wife swapping” is that it’s a hell of a lot more honest. Blah blah blah “sexist”, blah blah blah “objectification”, blah blah blah “ignores the woman’s experience”, blah blah blah. The fact is that, with a few exceptions, most women who swing do so to please their husbands, and so become whores whose price is exactly equal to that of all other women in the “swinging” community. Rather than exchanging cash, a “swinging” wife accepts as her price the other woman’s services to her husband. It is a barter arrangement, so “wife swapping” is both accurate and to the point in a way the mealy-mouthed “swinging” could never be.
The line between the two is narrower than you might think. I’ve known a few married hookers who started out as swingers and then realized that if they were going to do strange men anyhow they might as well get paid for it, and I’ve also known a few retired hookers whose husbands missed the turn-on of their wives with other men and so suggested swinging. Despite neofeminist obfuscation to the contrary, the real mental line which has to be crossed to become a prostitute is the barrier against having sex with strange men; once one has made that mental adjustment, being paid comes naturally. Yes, there are sluts who will rant and rave and fume that they’re “better” than whores because they don’t take cash in hand, but since most of them expect gifts, vacations, spending money, etc their posturing is either denial or excuse-making. And just let one of them get pregnant (because she was too stupid to take precautions, too scheming or fearful to take Plan B and too whatever to get an abortion) and watch how quickly she starts negotiating her price.
There is, of course, one other difference in the United States: Except in locations where adultery is against the law, swinging is legal while prostitution isn’t. Wrap your head around that, now: Both involve women having sex with strange men in return for something, both are often arranged via internet or alternative newspaper ads, both usually involve male infidelity, both are considered shocking by prudes, and both could result in spreading venereal disease if appropriate precautions are not taken. Yet the one which allows a woman sex completely on her own terms and enables her to directly fund her chosen lifestyle is illegal. Let the prohibitionists make whatever excuses they like, because they have no clothes on.
Obviously, most women who swing will never officially become hookers; they aren’t brave enough to go solo, they don’t need the money, they don’t want to risk arrest, they like being picky about whom they see, they enjoy the “club” social atmosphere of swinger groups, etc. And since swingers can be found among all types of people, most swapped wives are average looking just as most of the population is, so even if they wished to turn pro they probably wouldn’t really be able to make much of a living at it. And it’s probably for the best they don’t or can’t; the professional community doesn’t need a bunch of enthusiastic but completely ignorant amateurs glutting the market and undercutting our prices!
But beside the few swinger/whores, the communities intersect in another way: couple calls. A couple call is one way for a husband to ease a reluctant wife into swinging; it also eliminates one potential human factor, and if the wife becomes upset at the sight of her husband with another woman the only consequences are financial rather than social. Even experienced swingers might occasionally hire a call girl, since this allows them a freer (and usually higher-quality) choice of play companions with no strings attached. In couple calls the woman’s reaction is usually the “X” factor (though I did have one experience in which it was the other way around), but in swinging trouble can go either way because both parties have to deal emotionally with “competition”. I daresay everyone who has ever known swingers has heard horror stories of jealousy, drama and the like; there is no way to tell how often such things happen among neophyte swingers, though they would have to be rare among experienced ones or else they would never have gone that far. The biggest potential cause of problems among established swingers isn’t jealousy but rather rules violations.
In an escort-client relationship, the rules are clear and firmly enforced by the professional, but when everyone involved is an amateur motivated only by emotions there is a great deal more potential for drama and even disaster; it is therefore absolutely imperative that everyone is on the same page and the expectations, etiquette and ground rules are firmly established from the beginning. Like BDSM, swinging requires a high degree of trust between the partners, and either activity can intensify a strong relationship or destroy a weak one. And though I do not know this for a statistical fact, I strongly suspect (from personal observations and anecdotal evidence) that in swinging it is the woman who is more often than not the weak link. The reason should be obvious; while most men have no problem separating sex from emotion and can enjoy shagging strange women for the pure carnal joy of the act, many women have a tendency to become emotionally attached to men with whom they have sex (even some escorts have to wrestle with such feelings on occasion). If her own marriage is strong this might present no problem as long as they avoid too many encounters with the same couple, but if her marriage is weak she may attach to her lover more strongly than to her husband, with serious consequences for both marriages. And if she still harbors some resentment for being talked into wife swapping in the first place, those consequences might be catastrophic.
As I’ve mentioned before, I was rather a wild child in university; I experimented, was frequently invited into threesomes and became for a while (at her invitation) the mistress of an older girlfriend’s husband. So as you might expect, I knew a number of sexually unconventional couples, and among them three with “open marriages”. I think these are rarer now than they were in the ‘80s, probably because they don’t usually work. An “open marriage” is essentially swinging without any rules; both parties are allowed to sleep with whomever they want, whenever they want, and as you might expect one invariably does it a lot more often than the other. In all three cases I knew, the wife “wore the pants” and eventually became involved with a shy, easily-dominated boy in his late teens for whom she eventually left her weak husband; I discussed the aftermath of one of the cases in my column of August 19th. The reason I mention this is because it demonstrates the need for mutually-acceptable rules to which both partners strictly adhere; obviously these marriages were all “flawed from the forge”, but even a good marriage can be harmed by swinging if the rules are unclear and feelings get hurt.
One final difference between swinging and “hobbying” is demonstrated by two news articles I recently read; the first reports that swinging clubs’ business is way down due to the bad economy, while the second claims that prostitution has actually increased. Assuming both statistics are correct, I think we can pretty safely guess the reason for the disparity; while swinging also involves the wife (who is liable to nix money being spent on sex when times are tough), visiting whores only involves the husband, who may be no less prone to “let the little head do the thinking” when money is tight than otherwise.