About Online Dating
- 10 Reasons why the Internet is a great tool
1. Endless choice
There is endless choice in finding a prospective partner on-line. The Internet
has rapidly become popular with todayís single. As a result there are literally
thousands of singles on-line today looking to meet someone just like you. One
Australian on-line dating site claims to have over 125,000 members, you would
need to go to a lot of nightclubs to have that sort of choice. You could be
meeting a new person every night of the Internet if you wanted to and have an
extremely busy social life.
One of the great things about the Internet is that you can remain anonymous as
long as you like. You can begin meeting people on-line and finding out about
them whilst maintaining your anonymity. Only when you feel completely
comfortable do you need to then reveal who you are if you want to progress
things to the next level.
3. Time efficient
Meeting people on-line first and finding out about them is far more time
efficient than doing so in the real world. If you are meeting people at a night
club, or singles party you are limited to how many people you can get to know in
any one night. You usually end up talking to a few people for most of the night.
With the Internet though you can sift through large numbers of prospective dates
quickly and efficiently, spending more time getting to know quality people.
If you are smart, meeting people on-line can be very enjoyable so relax and have
5. Instant contact
One of the great things about the Internet is that it allows you to have almost
instant access to meeting new people. You can literally start meeting people
within a matter of moments. With new technologies that exist on the Internet
such as Instant Messaging, you can begin engaging in conversations with people
almost instantly. This is a huge benefit for people like me who are impatient.
6. Comfort of home
Because of the nature of the Internet, you can literally meet hundreds of
singles right from the comfort of your own home. This is fantastic because you
donít have to get all dressed up to go out somewhere and meet people. You can do
it whilst sitting at home on the couch in your pjís. So you can find hundreds of
singles to talk to in the comfort of your own home, and only when you find that
one or two people who you wish to meet do you need to make an effort to present
yourself in a positive light.
7. Easy to escape
One great advantage of the Internet is that if you begin chatting to someone you
do not particularly like, then you can ignore them very easily. In fact many
technologies like Instant Messaging allow you to block those annoying people.
This is not so easy to do at a nightclub where avoiding people you donít like
can be quite awkward.
8. More revealing
We have found that on the Internet, genuine people tend to be more revealing of
themselves. Often people are more prepared to reveal more of themselves without
the physical barriers that you may encounter when meeting people through more
traditional means. Because people are more revealing you have the chance to get
to know people at a deeper level than you might of otherwise done.
9. No boundaries
The Internet is totally free of boundaries making it possible to meet people on
the other side of the world if you so desire, or around the corner a few streets
away. There are no geographical boundaries to contend with so many more options
open up to people. As a result there are many more long distance relationships
being formed today then ever before in the past
10. Make more friends
At the very least, the Internet makes it easy for you to make loads of new
friends and we all need those, right? Itís a great place to meet people who have
similar interests or backgrounds to you.
What is Swinging?
Swinging is a form of recreational social sex between consenting adults, most
commonly consisting of male/female couples meeting other male/female couples for
sex and/or ongoing intimate friendships.
Swinging (otherwise known as "the lifestyle") can take a variety of different
forms. Although single women are generally welcome at swinging events, the
degree to which single men are accepted varies from club to club. Although
female bisexuality is generally accepted in the swinging community, the degree
to which male bisexuality is accepted also varies from club to club. Swing clubs
can be "on-premises" (which means that one may interact sexually with others at
that event) or "off-premises" (which means that one would generally go back to
the home or hotel room of other couples for sex, after deciding to do so at the
event). Newspapers and magazines which carry personal ads for swingers also
exist, and to a slightly lesser degree these publications may also be considered
an aspect of "the lifestyle." Swingers have traditionally been largely middle
class and tend to blend in quite easily with the general population in terms of
appearance and ideology.
What Might I Like About Swinging?
People may be attracted to the swinging community for a variety of different
reasons. Many couples find the thought of having sex with other people to be
very arousing, and may find that swinging becomes a catalyst for improving their
own sex lives and relationship. Some people may feel stifled by repressive
societal attitudes towards sexuality, and may welcome the opportunity to form
friendships and a new social network with people of like mind. Others may simply
feel that sex should be a natural possibility in any friendship in which there
is mutual attraction, and so appreciate the relative open-mindedness and
pleasure-positivity with which the swinging community views this subject.
Although the swinging community is unfortunately not always the best place right
now for het-identified men to explore their potential bisexuality, it is
currently a relatively good place for het-identified women to initially explore
sex with other women, and this sometimes plays a role in couples choosing to
seek it out.
In the past, the swinging community has been somewhat unaware of or confused by
alternative sexual practices such as BDSM or Tantra. This appears to be
changing, and these days you may find many folks in the swinging community who
are knowledgeable about such things (though forms of BDSM much more extreme than
spanking or very light bondage may make people uncomfortable, depending on the
club). If you're interested in doing so and spend enough time meeting different
people, you may actually find that today's swinging community is becoming a
somewhat fertile place to meet folks with a variety of sexual interests. It is
certainly true right now that the national swinging conventions tend to host
seminars and workshops on a variety of sexual topics, which seems at least
somewhat indicative of broadening perspectives in the community.
Some women may find the swinging community to be a welcome dose of sanity. Our
culture can be quite cruel to women who have an active interest in sex, often
derisively labeling them "sluts" - a term which stands in sharp contrast to the
less derogatory term for men, "studs". The swinging community may be especially
attractive to these women, who may feel their sex drives and/or sexual
assertiveness should be appreciated rather than snickered about or reviled.
Some people end up learning quite a bit about themselves and their sexualities
through swinging. For example, most folks find that having their partner
actively enjoy and appreciate what they are experiencing during sex to be a
tremendous turn-on; this is a realization which may stand in sharp contrast to
the attitude that "performance" is all-important. Swinging can be an opportunity
to learn to relax and appreciate sexual pleasure, and may help one view sex more
as a source of pleasure and intimacy and less as a social bargaining chip or ego
Although this may vary slightly from club to club, in general the swinging
community is quite accepting of a variety of body types, sizes, ages, and
shapes. Additionally, many on-premises events provide an opportunity to dress
sexily or go completely nude, which can be a fun and sensual experience in and
What Might I Dislike About Swinging?
If you are uncomfortable with people being sexually attracted to you and/or
flirting with you, then you might be uncomfortable at swinging events;
similarly, if your relationship with your partner is on shaky ground, you might
find seeing him or her flirt or be flirted with to be an uncomfortable
experience. If either of you have hidden agendas concerning finding a permanent
"replacement" for each other, you're probably in for a major emotional disaster.
If you and your partner cannot communicate directly about relationships and sex,
you're probably eventually in for a similarly-sized disaster. In general, sex
can provoke strong feelings along with its many pleasures; if you aren't
comfortable dealing with emotions, then perhaps it might be better to wait a
little while before exploring "the lifestyle."
If you are bothered by seeing people have sex without condoms, then you might
want to avoid some of the larger play areas in many on-premises swinger's
events. Although I have never run into a situation in the swinging community
where my requests to use latex were looked down on in any way, it is certainly
true that not all on-premises clubs require the use of safer sex precautions.
Depending on your experience with sex-positive communities other than swinging,
seeing others not use latex may be unsettling to you. You should know what your
own standards are with regard to safer sex, and be willing to articulate them to
new people or couples you are about to have sex with. If your personal safer sex
standards include using barriers for cunnilingus, then you should be prepared to
do some explaining as not everyone will be familiar with this practice.
If you are offended by phobia against bi men, then you should be prepared to
either look for a club that is more open-minded on this particular issue, wait
for attitudes in the community to change (which I believe may happen in the next
five years or so), or else attend anyway and make a point of not letting
small-minded comments go unchallenged.
If you are a single male, you might actually be better off waiting until you are
in a suitable relationship before attempting to become active in swinging - most
swing clubs allow few if any single men to attend their events.
General Hints for Enjoyable Swinging
In the context of swinging, "couples" need not be married. They should, however,
have at least a little history together and familiarity with each others'
emotional needs, and be comfortable approaching others as a "couple." The
general rule of thumb is that swinging works best when couples view swinging as
an enhancement to their existing sexual relationship, rather than as a
replacement for a failing one.
As one would expect, good communication is critical in any attempt at swinging
as a couple. There are many, many different forms that swinging may take, and
whichever one you choose is fine as long as you and your partner are clear about
what you are doing and why. Sex has the potential to be an emotionally-charged
area, and the pleasures that may be found in swinging can generally be reached
only when both partners are sensitive to each others' needs, and put their
partner's comfort first. From a more pragmatic point of view, there will always
be another party, another personal ad, another dance, another convention; there
may not be another chance to salvage an exploration into swinging if one partner
becomes overwhelmed in "the garden of delights" and forgets to treat his or her
primary partner with sensitivity and respect.
It's important to keep in mind that swinging is primarily a SOCIAL activity. The
ordinary social customs of meeting people and initiating a conversation are
really not that different than at any other type of social gathering, and the
process by which acquaintances become close friends is not that different
either. The key social traits that tend to be appreciated in the swinging
community are responsibility, friendliness, flirtatiousness, open-mindedness,
and most importantly stability with regard to one's primary relationship.
As is the case with almost all human social endeavors, if you already know
people in a particular community you'll probably be happier if you attend your
first few events with these people so they can introduce you to others. Waiting
a little while and watching how others behave is also a good idea, as it is in
almost any new social situation. Common courtesy, of course, is as welcome in
the swinging community as it is in any other community; we're all just people,
There are several different styles of swinging which you may see in the swinging
community. Some people may prefer not to be around when their partner is having
sex with someone else ("closed swinging"), while others may insist on it ("open
swinging"). The term "soft swinging" refers to trading partners just for the
purposes of heavy petting and then switching back to one's primary partner for
any actual sex. It might be valuable for you to think about whether there are
any potential situations that you feel you would be more or less comfortable in,
and discuss these with your partner.
Although not all couples find it necessary to do this, some couples feel more
comfortable having social "codes" that only the two of them know. Examples might
be discreet phrases or gestures which mean a) one of you is attracted to the
people or person he or she is talking to and wants to know if you are interested
in swinging with them, b) a reply to the above, either affirmatively or
negatively, and c) one of you is not having a good time and wants to get away
from things for a while.
At off-premises events such as dances, it's common for people to dress up or
else wear fairly sexy clothing. Dress at on-premises events tends to be more
casual, since nudity is a common outcome of the evening for many. At on-premises
clubs it's a good idea to bring something like a robe so you don't have to put
all your clothes back on after sex, and to avoid wearing lots of jewelry that
might get lost. If there's a dress theme for a particular event, go with the
By the way, it is not necessary to actually have sex with other people to have a
good time in the swinging community. Off-premises activities such as dances can
provide a wonderful opportunity to flirt and be flirted with in a
non-threatening yet sexually-charged atmosphere, which can be fun in and of
itself. On-premises activities can provide an opportunity to appreciate the
sights and sounds of sex as an enhancement to sex with your primary partner,
whether you two decide to have sex at the party or after the party.
Enjoying House Parties and Other On-Premises Events
Since you may have the opportunity to get physically close with one or more
folks during the course of the evening, it's probably a good idea to take a
shower, brush your teeth, and (if necessary) shave before showing up. If you
like to use your fingers inside your partners as part of sex, don't forget to
clip your fingernails short.
Even if you're a regular, it's usually polite to make a party reservation rather
than just "dropping in", and to cancel your reservation if you can't keep it.
For parties in peoples' homes, it's usually polite to ask if there is anything
you can bring (e.g. chips or beverages). Arrive on time, and if you are part of
a couple be sure you arrive together as a couple.
Generally the host and/or hostess will fill new couples in about party rules and
etiquette, often as part of an orientation to their club. The Jacuzzi or hot
tub, if there is one, is a good place to get involved in friendly conversations;
most folks at swinging events are more than happy to answer questions and talk
about their experience of the lifestyle.
It's a good idea for couples to stick together at the party unless they both
agree that they'd like to mingle or play separately for a while; if one partner
just wanders off, the other may feel abandoned or jealous. If you DO need to
have a serious relationship discussion or argument with your partner, however,
it's considered polite to do so away from the party in a more private area. In
general, if a bedroom or other space is being used for sex it's considered
impolite to carry on loud or extraneous conversations in it that might distract
The tradition at some on-premises clubs and party houses is for one of the
larger rooms to be for the "group scene." Depending on the club some rules of
etiquette may be slightly relaxed here; it might be assumed OK for someone to
touch you unless or until you say no. Again, this completely depends on the
club. Opening closed doors to bedroom areas and then just staring at whatever is
going on is usually considered pretty rude, and men will have more fun in ANY of
the party's play areas if their female partner is with them (some clubs actually
have rules about men going into the "group scene" area without their female
partner). If at some point during the evening you decide to wash up, be careful
not to use somebody else's towel or washcloth on your eyes or genitals (this
should just be common sense).
Using alcohol to excess is a poor idea, especially if you or your partner are
just getting into swinging. Many non-swingers have their first quasi-swinging
experiences when they are heavily intoxicated, and then regret what they did the
next day or blame the alcohol for what they freely chose to do; try to make your
experience different from this.
But without question, the most important suggestion I can offer is to always
keep track of where you're at, and only do what you want to do. If you don't
want to swing with someone, just say no tactfully and courteously. You always
have the right to say no to anything, and if someone doesn't take no for an
answer you should tell the party host immediately. In swinging, sometimes you
will be told, "No, thank you." When this happens, just accept it graciously and
don't inquire as to "Why not?"
Dealing with Jealousy
There are many different opinions about jealousy - several of the books
recommended at the end of this guide devote considerable attention to the topic.
An interesting dynamic can sometimes arise in couples new to swinging, a dynamic
which has inspired the community adage that "the more enthusiastic member of a
couple will get the couple into swinging, but the less enthusiastic partner will
keep them there." As Carol Queen puts it in Exhibitionism for the Shy,
"The swing community has noticed another prevalent dynamic in couples where one
partner, more often than not the man, has more enthusiasm than the other. He has
had terrific fantasies about freewheeling sex and plenty of it, and he finally
convinces his initially reluctant partner to give swinging a try. When they get
to the party, she has a great time and is high demand, while he thinks the
party's a dud... Before you pack up your sexy outfit and fistful of condoms,
take some time to consider and negotiate how you will deal with the chagrin of
the less popular partner if such a dismaying event happens to you."
In other words, some jealousy may spring from insecurity: if I'm worried that
I'm not valuable enough to keep my primary partner's interest and love, or that
fewer people will be interested in playing with me than with my primary partner,
I may be more apt to get jealous. For the latter case, some of these fears may
be alleviated by choosing, at least initially, to only swing together as a
couple; this way neither partner can be left out.
Sometimes jealousy may spring from feelings of scarcity rather than feelings of
insecurity: the fear is that "there's only so much love and so much pleasure and
so much intimacy to go around." With this in mind, I'd like to quote from the
NASCA Guide to Swinging,
"The Myth of the Scarcity of Love is the popular belief that 'love is scarce,'
which encourages hoarding. Hoarding, in turn, created the very scarcity that was
feared to begin with. The myth's premises are that each of us has a very limited
amount of love to give, spend, or sell; that if this is divided among several
people, each will get less; that love can be saved; and that in order to be
valuable, true love must be exclusive."
If you enjoy good literature and want to explore this idea in more depth, take
the time to read a short story by Amy Bloom entitled "Love Is Not a Pie"
(published in her Come to Me: Stories collection). But just as food for thought
for the time being, you might consider a question which Dr. Deborah Anapol poses
in Polyamory: The New Love Without Limits: "Imagine a culture in which your
partner's attraction to another signified opportunities for greater pleasure and
intimacy; would jealousy occur in this context?" I honestly don't know the
answer to this question, but for me swinging has been part of the inquiry.
To end this section on a more practical note, many couples find that the secrets
to dealing with jealousy tend to revolve around good communication, keeping
agreements, reassuring each other as to your love and commitment before and
after playing with someone new, and listening to each other's emotional concerns
and taking them seriously whenever they arise. If jealousy becomes an issue for
you and your partner, you might try working on some or all of these things.
Of Interest to Men...
By including these warnings I do not mean to imply that all or even most men
would ever act like this; chances are if you're still reading this document you
already have a healthy social sense and wouldn't think to misbehave in these
ways. But anyway, here goes...
Attempting to hire an escort or sex worker to go to a swinging event with you,
if you don't have a regular female partner, just so you can get in the door is a
terribly poor idea; this is considered inappropriate at every club I have ever
heard of, is generally sufficient to get you black-listed, and is a ruse that is
highly likely to be noticed by others. A related concept is taking along someone
who isn't really your primary partner and isn't really interested in swinging;
such folks are called "tickets" (i.e. you just used them as a "ticket" to get in
the door), and this practice isn't looked upon favorably either.
If you want nothing more than to see your female partner have sex with another
woman, you will probably be better off forgetting about it until she brings it
up; wandering around by yourself attempting to find a woman who wants to have
sex with her, or otherwise trying to push this personal choice into happening,
is considered quite crass.
Finally, please remember to converse with both members of a couple you and your
partner are interested in, not just the partner you are interested in having sex
with; ultimately it's your ability to form friendships with COUPLES which will
determine the quality of your experience in the swinging community.
Using Personal Ads
It's an unfortunate fact that many ads in swinger's publications seem to have
nothing to do with swinging at all. Ads that ask for money, even discreetly, or
which mention "generosity" are almost certainly ads from sex workers rather than
swingers. Other ads are from individuals who are basically being dishonest,
perhaps claiming to be part of a couple when they aren't. Amidst all this,
however, you can usually find some ads that end up being from actual swingers
who are sincerely interested in meeting other singles or couples.
In general, you will probably waste less time by placing an ad than by
responding to ads. When writing your personal ad, it's important to be clear and
honest about what your requirements are. You may find it helpful to first obtain
a P.O. Box and a voice mail box which aren't traceable to your real name or home
address; it's also a good idea to arrange the first meeting with someone new to
be in a neutral and/or public place, so that if things don't seem to be going
well you'll be able to leave easily and nobody new will know where you live.
Ultimately, however, if you have swing clubs (whether on- or off- premises) in
your area you will probably be better off meeting swingers through them than
through personal ads.
Keeping Yourself and Your Partner Healthy
Each sex-positive community in this country has had a different response to the
AIDS crisis, and in the face of a very frightening disease it is hard for me to
fault people for acting irrationally sometimes. However, I believe the time has
come for a more intelligent, pleasure-positive, and long-term response to STDs
(of all kinds) than "excluding bisexual men," "inquiring about sexual histories
and hoping for the truth," "trying to reassure yourself about how few people in
your community you think are infected right now," "stigmatizing anal play," etc.
Learning to use latex and water-based lube skillfully may take a little
practice, and ultimately it is up to you and your partner whether you will
follow some or all the precautions I'm going to describe. However, try to keep
in mind some of the payoffs: increased protection from disease, increased peace
of mind, increased protection against pregnancy when another form of birth
control (such as the pill) fails, and greater ease in interacting with younger
swingers who may have never known a time when they haven't felt it necessary to
Put simply, the single most effective thing you can do to stay healthy when
swinging is to use latex condoms for intercourse; this practice is now extremely
common in the swinging community, and is often expected.
All condoms are not made alike; men should experiment with different brands
until they find the one they like best (my preference is Kimono MicroThins,
which also taste fine for fellatio if you get them without Nonoxynol-9). When
you put on a condom, pinch its tip as you unroll it (all the way down!) to
prevent an air bubble from forming in the reservoir tip. For intercourse, you
should then put some water-based lube (such as I-D, ForPlay, Wet, or Astroglide)
on the outside of the condom for comfort, mutual pleasure, and to keep the
condom from tearing during sex.
For a while, health experts were recommending that people use condoms and
water-based lubes with Nonoxynol-9 to help guard against HIV transmission;
current evidence suggests that, in the real world, N-9 is not nearly as good at
HIV prevention as it has proved to be at contraception. Also, many women are
allergic or sensitive to N-9, and it tastes horrid. For these reasons I only
purchase products without N-9, but of course the choice is yours.
It should be obvious that a new condom needs to be put on for each new partner.
If you're going to switch from anal intercourse to vaginal intercourse, you
should also put on a new condom (doing otherwise can cause vaginal infections -
similarly, you shouldn't put any fingers that used to be in an anus in a vagina
without first washing your hands with hot water and anti-bacterial soap).
Some men find that more sensation is transmitted to them if they put a drop of
water-based lube in the tip of their condom before putting it on.
Opinions differ on the use of safer-sex barriers for oral sex. It is clear that
herpes can be easily transmitted during unprotected oral sex, but some people
argue that if herpes sores aren't visible on either partner and neither partner
believes he or she is infectious, that the risk of transmission is low. There
ARE recorded cases of HIV being transmitted via oral sex, but many swingers
dismiss this concern because the risk of transmission via this route is
apparently low, and because (in their opinion) HIV is not widespread in their
community. Ultimately, it is up to each of us to set our personal standards for
risk, and it is not my place to dictate what yours should be.
If you choose not to use barriers when performing oral sex, you can make things
safer for yourself by not having flossed your teeth immediately before the party
(which can make the gums less able to keep pathogens out of the bloodstream), by
not letting men come in your mouth, by not performing cunnilingus on a woman
while she is menstruating, and by knowing what herpes sores look like (herpes
transmission is most likely when either sores or the tingling sensation that
precedes the sores is present).
If you decide your personal standards include using barriers for oral sex, this
will mean using latex condoms for fellatio (choose a brand without Nonoxynol-9)
and either saran wrap or one of those "Glyde" or "Lixx" oral sex barriers for
cunnilingus (put a drop of water-based lube on your partner's side of the
barrier to increase the sensation transmitted to her).
The use of barriers for oral sex is not widespread in the swinging community,
but if you and your partner decide your safer sex standards include using them
you'll probably find that the concept is not that difficult to explain to
If you've had your fingers in someone's vagina or ass, or had someone come on
your hands, it's a good idea to wash your hands with hot water and
anti-bacterial soap before touching your eyes or genitals (or anybody else's).
If you're planning on doing a lot of play with your fingers in someone's ass, or
if you want to avoid having to constantly leave for the bathroom to wash your
hands, you might try latex "examination" gloves (available at most drug stores);
just use a new set of gloves when switching from one person to another or when
switching from someone's anus to their vagina, just as you would with condoms.
Of course, whether you use gloves or not, some water- based lube will make
everything that you do inside your partner feel better for him or her.
Using latex gloves is currently even less common than using barriers for oral
sex (except when it comes to anal play), but in my experience most people who
are aroused and attracted to you will happily go along with almost any safety
standard or emotional need you articulate as long as they think they're going to
get sex as a result.
Safer Sex Kits
It's helpful to get a little hip pack for your safer-sex supplies, your small
bottle of water-based lube, pieces of paper to write your name and phone number
on, and anything else you commonly need. Although safer-sex supplies are
provided at some parties, it's still nice to know that you have with you the
supplies and brands you prefer. Also, having what you need with you at all times
will make it MUCH easier for you to maintain whatever safer-sex standards you
You may be interested in knowing that a permanent vaccine is available for
hepatitis B. If you're planning on spending a lot of time in the swinging
community (or any other lifestyle potentially involving lots of sex with
different people), it might be worth your time to get this vaccination.
Currently the internet is becoming an alternative to printed personal ads, and a
variety of large swinger's conventions are being held every year. Popular
conventions include "Lifestyles" (the largest and most well-known), "Wind and
Waves", "Campout", "Northwest Celebration", and "Visions".
My best guess as to the future is that as more people in this country begin to
think of themselves as "open-minded" and "sex-positive", as our response to STDs
becomes more rational, as more people from other sex-positive communities begin
to explore swinging, and as more bisexual men in the swinging community "come
out", the swinging community will grow and begin to attract a new generation of
sexually adventurous enthusiasts. I suspect that the size and influence of the
annual swinging conventions will continue to grow, and also suspect that
"cyber-space" alternatives to real-life swinging (involving interactive video,
sound, etc.) will become increasingly popular.