Polyamory Vocab Lessons: Swinging

Swinging | Swinger Therapist | Swinger Counseling in POrtland | Marriage Counseling | Open Relationships Portland

Dear readers, 

I work with so many couples who are considering open relationships and so many of you have asked for some basic facts in polyamory, nonmonogamy and open relationships.  

I decided to start breaking down some of the most commonly used terms in the wide field of nonmonogamy.

Of course, every individual and relationship is different, so it is important to get clear with people about what they mean by these terms (especially if you're considering an intimate relationship with them).  

You could ask any of the following questions:

"Lots of people use that term, what does it mean in your relationships?"

"I know that can actually mean a lot of things, wow does {term} actually play out in your life?"

These conversations will also help you get clear about what to call your own relationship.  

I'll keep adding more terms over time so check back time to time to learn more.  

This week's focus: Swinging

As we know, non-monogamy is an umbrella term that includes lots of different kinds of relationships.  Swinging or swingers are one of the possibilities that falls under the umbrella of nonmonogamy.  

Some basic general information on swinging:

Swingers are most often heterosexual or straight couples who engage in sex with people outside their partnership.

Bisexuality is more welcome in the cisgender female members of the community, and transgender, gay, lesbian, queer identified individuals don't often choose this identity or community space.  Many people with these identities have said they don't feel welcome in swinger spaces.

More often than not, swingers are a part of a community who gathers at parties to connect with other couples for sex (at the party or at home).  The community is often a friendly network of people generally with much flirtation, lightheartedness, and play.

Consent for penetrative sex is an espoused value in the swinger community, but is often less formal than in BDSM, kink, or other sex-positive spaces.  It is not unusual to have friendly touch or attention without invitation or negotiated consent.

Some swingers do not participate in swinging parties at all.  They might date other couples they meet online, or attend swinger parties in an asexual context.

Many of swingers individuals and couples court and date other couples or individuals together or separately in addition to or separate from community gatherings.  

Swinging Resources:


The longest running site for swinger dating, clubs, and events. Visit this site for information and locations of swinging events.  


This site started as an event for swingers to recognize their unique community once each year- and has spread to an international phenomenon.  


This site has a blog with some good information on it.  You can also connect with other couples to chat.


My favorite resource for all my nonmonogamous couples.  This site covers the full range of possibilities in open relationships (including swinging).  


 For couples considering more romantic or emotional connections with partners, More Than Two is my go-to resource to find balance and maintain connection while incorporating other people into the relationship.  

If you are considering opening your relationship give me a call for a consult.  I am happy to help:

Couples Counseling Portland | Portland Poly Therapist | Online Polyamory Counseling

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a sex educator and relationship coach specializing in polyamory, open relationshipsjealousy, LGBTQ issues and infidelity.  

She can help you:

Contact her for a free consultation to see if working with her is right for you.

Click here to download her free guides to strengthen your relationship (monogamous or not).