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(1) An extramarital relationship more driven by physical gratification than by polyamory—the desire to develop emotionally involved relationships with extramarital partners
(2) An alternative lifestyle for consenting adults who enjoy social recreational sexual activities with others, most often on a couple-to-couple basis, but may also involve singles, with full knowledge and mutual consent of both partners
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Most couples begin to look at the swinging lifestyle in their late thirties after the pressure of childbearing, establishing a career, and finding their niche in life passes.
Establishing whether or not swingers are "marginal" individuals is an extremely important part of any assessment of the swinging lifestyle, since the importance of behaviors that deviate socially or morally from the norm can too easily be dismissed when the people engaging in these behaviors are pathologized (i.e.
Swingers were asked how important "variety in my sex life" and "meeting new friends and expanding my social life" were in their decision to adopt the swinging lifestyle. Table 18 and Table 19 show that while sexual variety was "Very Important" to approximately one-half of the sample, over one-third said making friends was "Very Important." These findings suggest that for many swingers swinging may be more than just anonymous sex with strangers--mixing socially with like-minded people may constitute an important part of their social and emotional lives.
They constitute a self-selected sample of members of swing clubs who chose to fill out an anonymous online survey about the swinging lifestyle. The sample is likely to be biased in favor of swingers who have experienced success with the lifestyle and to under-represent those who have dropped out of swinging or who have had negative experiences with it.
The swinging lifestyle as an experiment in consensual sexual non-monogamy within the confines of emotionally monogamous relationships poses fascinating questions about the limits and possibilities of marital relationships.