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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).

Why do People Have Open Marriages and Poly Relationships?

Why Open Relationships | Uncommon Love Open Relationship Counseling | Poly Counseling in Portland

People have open relationships for all kinds of reasons. Just like monogamous relationships, people choose non-monogamous relationships for both healthy and unhealthy reasons.  

In my years of working with open marriages and committed polyamorous couples, I have heard quite a range of reasons people choose open relationships. 

Here are some of the reasons I most commonly hear from fabulous individuals in varied polyamorous arrangements:

  • We don’t believe in the status quo.

  • There is greater security outside the confines of a two-person relationship.

  • My partner and my sex drives are out of alignment.

  • I have spent my whole life in polyamorous community and prefer to stay in the community I know and love.

  • I am bisexual and my wife is straight.  She doesn’t want me to lose connection to my queer identity.

  • Why not?

  • I enjoy the communication and honesty necessary for long lasting open relationships.

  • I believe open relationships require higher personal integrity.

  • Having multiple income streams in one household can make for greater financial abundance and sustainability.

  • We enjoy sharing play partners.

  • Polyamorous relationships require greater self development, introspection and have pushed me to grow as a person.

  • I am not willing to sacrifice one relationship for another.  

  • Sex with one person for my whole life would be boring.

  • My partner has a fetish or kink I am not into, and I want to support her in getting her needs met.

  • Trying to meet all of my partners needs on my own would put a lot of pressure on our relationship.

  • I like more than one kind of person.

  • My life is richer with more than one partner fueling my emotional intimacy needs.  

  • I don’t want to limit my partner’s personal expression or have mine limited by her.

  • I enjoy watching my partner connect with other people.

Remember open relationships only work if both parties can consent to their boundaries.

Consider your own reasons for choosing a monogamous or an open relationship.  

  • Which model works best for you and why?

  • How do you define the boundaries of your monogamous or open contracts?

  • How do you communicate expectations about intimacy with others with your partner?

  • How have your beliefs about monogamy and non-monogamy changed over time?

  • What beliefs do you have about other relationship models?  

  • How do you know which model is best for you?

No one is born polyamorous or monogamous, these are relationship models we choose. Neither option is right or wrong when made honestly and intentionally.  

If you are thinking about opening your relationship and want help talking about it with your partner give me a call for a free consult. I'm glad to help.

Five Ways to Stop Jealousy

Stop Jealousy | Uncommon Love | Polyamory Counseling in Portland

The idea of overcoming jealousy may seem daunting to many of us.  When you are caught up in the emotions and insecurities jealousy brings you can feel powerless against its riptide.  

But just like ocean swimming- with some intention action and training, you can learn to ride the waves with skill.

How to stop jealousy:

First, acknowledge the jealousy that is present- honestly.

Before you can begin to get past your jealousy, you need to admit that it's a real problem that is keeping you from loving healthy relationships and self-love.  Jealously can be truly debilitating. Take this quiz to determine if jealousy is a problem in your life.

Then, reflect on your jealousy.

If you’re going to really change the way jealousy shows up in your life, you have to understand why you are having these feelings to begin with. What kind of jealousy is showing up for you?

Most importantly, focus on self-improvement. 

If you’re a chronically jealous person, chances are you are experiencing insecurity-  you don’t think highly of yourself and get caught up comparing yourself to others you admire.  It's time to work on making yourself into a person who has no reason to be jealous because you're so happy with who you are.

Practice gratitude.

When scarcity and fear visit, they are often protecting the things that matter most to us.  Their greatest antidote is gratitude.  Remind yourself that you're lucky just to be alive, and turn your energy to the greatness all around you.

Cultivate self-compassion and acceptance.

Improving and appreciating the life you have will go a long way to resolve your jealousy, but the truth is, nobody is perfect and someone will always have it easier/better/prettier than you.  Learning to accept your imperfections with compassion is key to letting go of jealousy.

Moving forward, avoid jealousy in the future.

Jealousy is a natural emotion, and doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you or your relationships.  Continue to invest in the items on this list as waves of jealousy crash in the future and imagine yourself becoming a surfer instead of kelp in this process.

This post was originally shared on Amplify Good.

portland couples counselor | sex counseling portland | portland sexuality 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).