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Essay/Term paper: Swinger's not just on playgrounds anymore

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Sex

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Swinger's Not Just on Playgrounds Anymore

By: Tanya Holt

Dave's marriage had hit the rocks. His wife had lost interest in sex,
and Dave did not know how to deal with it. He did not know whether she was
bored with him or simply bored with sex. In his search for an answer Dave and
his wife attended a swinger's party. This would eventually end Dave's marriage,
but it would also lead him to greener pastures.
"She did not want to share the lifestyle with me, and sharing is an
important part of swinging. Swingers swing to enhance the relationship with
their mate, not to destroy it," Dave said.
Dave met his second wife more than 15 years ago at a swinger's party.
The couple has now turned their lifestyle into their business. For the
past nine years Dave and his wife Dawn have run their own swing club in the
Chicago suburbs.
"We own Couples Choice, and though it's listed as a swing club it's a
lot more social than people imagine," Dave said.
This socialness includes dances, special theme parties, dinners and
vacations. The couples who attend are also interested in learning about
relationships, meeting new friends and for exposure to something new. One of
the most common misconceptions is that people come just to have sex. However,
this is an option at Dave and Dawn's club. Their club is known as an "on-site'
club. This means that Dave and Dawn provide bedrooms for their members'
"Ours is an on-premise club. We have bedrooms where sex does take place,
but only if it is consensual. We do not force our activities on anyone," Dave
Dave adds that having sex is something most people associate with a
swing club, but often this is not true.
Bob McGinley, whose self-given title is the grandfather of swing,
believes many people have misconceptions about swinging. He says swinging
cannot be categorized as mate swapping or as group sex. In fact McGinley
believes swinging cannot be put into a category at all.
"Putting a label on the activity is wrong. People call us swingers
because we have sex with someone other than our mate, but you don't call someone
a tenniser because they enjoy hitting a ball over a net. Someone involved in
swinging is also involved in many other things . . . it's really unfair to label
that person a swinger," McGinley said.
McGinley has been involved in the swinging lifestyle since 1969. He has
since founded Lifestyles Organization in Anaheim, Calif. His organization holds
a swing convention every year and this year he expects more than 3,000 to attend.
This weekend convention offers people a chance to educate themselves, socialize
and make new friends. This is what McGinley thinks draws so many to the
convention. He does not believe most come simply for the sex, and that most
people who attend are not what generally comes to mind as "swingers.'
He believes Americans are uncomfortable thinking about sex, and out of
this uncomfortableness the misrepresentations of swinging adults are born.
"Swingers are not just beautiful, horny and young. Because someone is
more older does not mean, they lose their sexual desire. People's most common
misconception about sex and swinging is that it's for the young and that is
simply not true," McGinley said.
McGinley, who has his doctorate in psychology, conducted a 1979 study on
senior citizens and their sex lives. His study concentrated on the seniors who
travel America in their recreational vehicles. His study found that swinging
among RV people is as common as their mud flaps displaying their names.
"Older people do not lose their sexual desire just because they are
older. In fact, many senior citizens become are more comfortable with their
sexuality than many young people. They tend to lose their inhibitions with
age," McGinley said.
When Bob and Linda met 17 years ago they had both just been burned.
Linda had recently gotten out of an 'open-marriage,' and Bob had just divorced
his first wife. Both wanted to change lifestyles before embarking on another
relationship and swinging helped the couple do this.

The couple who are now in their late 50's have their own swing club, Perfect
Pairs, in Orlando Fla. Their club is an off-site club. No sex occurs at the
actual club, but what people do once they leave the club is up to them. The
club has been going strong for nine years, and their marriage has been just as
strong for the past 17. They believe the strength in their marriage comes from
their swinging activities.
"There is very little divorce in this lifestyle. Most people involved
in it are on their second marriage, but the end of their first marriage was in
no way caused by swinging. Most people choose the swinging lifestyle on their
second marriage as an alternative to what might have gone wrong with the first,"
Linda said.
To have a successful relationship was Alan's goal when he first began
attending swing parties 20 years ago. He was going through a tough divorce, and
he decided to try something new. This something new just happened to be
swinging, and after 20 years Alan couldn't be happier with his choice.
"I've been married to my second wife for nine years now, and if I hadn't
been involved in swinging I would have never met her. The two of us understand
that we are not looking for anything better than our marriage, we're simply
looking for a way to enhance it," Alan said. Alan, who is an owner of The
Tennessee Social Club, believes that anyone who swings must have a very stable
relationship. The people involved in swinging are not interested in finding a
constant sexual companion other than their mate.
Alan's swing club is quite different from the others. During the week
The Tennessee Social Club, in Nashville, is a strip club open to anyone. On
the weekends however, it becomes a private club for swingers only, but no sex
occurs on-premise. Many couples come just to enhance their own sex life, not to
have sex with others.
He says they are looking for a "toy," someone that can add variety and
excitement to their ongoing relationship. Many couples who come to his club are
never involved in any swinging activities. They come simply to go home that
night and have incredible sex.
McGinley agrees with Alan, and adds that a swinging marriage is a step-
above a straight marriage.
"These people have been open enough to talk to each other about their
sexual desires. They're not hiding anything from each other, and they're open
enough to tell their partner of their desires for other people," McGinley said.
While swingers are open enough to talk about their activities with other couples,
they are rarely open enough to talk about their activities with the media.
Most people who swing believe the media exploits their activities and
paints a picture of them that is an abstract one.
"What people see and hear about swinging on television and in magazines
is far from the truth. Television is interested in selling, not in entertaining
or educating," McGinley said.
McGinley's annual Lifestyles Organization convention was the subject of
HBO's Real Sex 16. He feels it was a good representation for that type of show,
but was not a true representation of the swinging lifestyle.
"Real Sex was about what we expected it would be for what it is. They
paid many people who appeared on it for their services, and this is not
something that occurs in swinging," McGinley said.
He says that many who appeared on the HBO special were porn stars, and
not the typical swinger. The typical swinger in McGinley's eyes is the married
couple next door who keep their sex life to themselves.
This is how Bill and Linda describe themselves and the members of their
group. Media coverage has also left a bad taste in this couple's mouth.
"Swingers have been exploited so often by the media that generally they
shut down and don't want to talk to anyone about their lifestyle," Bill said.
In the past two years Bill and Linda have had offers to appear on the
Sally show, Geraldo and other talk shows, but they have refused all invitations.
"We're not crazy, why would we want to get up there and let the audience
throw tomatoes at us without giving us a chance to talk about our lifestyle?
These shows are simply there to exploit the issues, not to understand them,"
Bill said.
Bill believes the main problem is that many times people think that
those who lead alternative lifestyles want their story told. This is not so
however, and was not so when Linda and Bill had their first experience with the
"When we were having our first convention, we were not going to tell
anyone, including our best friends. The couple we were having the convention
with did tell people and the story eventually made it to an area newspaper.
Here we are just a group of people who want to be left alone, but because we
don't live just like everyone else they do not grant us this courtesy," Linda
This is not the only run-in with the media the couple has had. They
have also experienced the modern technology of hidden cameras. A news director
at TV 6 in Orlando came to one of the couple's Saturday night parties and filmed
everything without their knowledge. When the couple learned of TV 6's plans to
air the party on their Monday newscast, they quickly spoke to their attorney and
had the showing blocked.
"Our clients' faces were going to be on television. People would have
seen their dentists, teachers and anyone else who was involved in our club.
Here we were just minding our own business doing our own thing and look what
happened," Linda said.
McGinley says the media portrays swinging as something dirty, something
wrong, and this isn't the case. It's just a lifestyle choice no different from
other lifestyle choices. In fact Linda and Bill's club is based on the Golden
"Our main philosophy in this lifestyle is "Do unto others as you would
have them do unto yourself," McGinley says.
Nevertheless, perhaps Linda puts it better when she explains her
"Leave my husband just like I will leave yours: with a smile on his
face," she said.


Bill and Linda Perfect Pairs (407) 678-2540 Bob
McGinley Lifestyles Organization (714) 229-4870
Alan The Tennessee Social Club (615) 244-2438 Dave
Couple's Choice (708) 333-4860


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