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Swinging Isn't Cheating, But Swingers Can Cheat. Here's How.

Published: APRIL 13, 2022 | Updated: MAY 2, 2022
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Reviewed by Dr. Laura McGuire
on April 12, 2022
Just because you and your partner agree to venture into the swinger lifestyle does not mean either of you has free reign to be intimate with others without the other's consent.

Being involved in the swinger lifestyle and running a lifestyle community, I am often asked if swingers can still cheat on their partners.

If someone chooses to partake in the swinger lifestyle merely to sleep with someone else and keep all lines of communication open, then they can justify their actions, right? Well, that depends on their actions—and you will soon learn it's not only possible but, sadly, quite common that couples involved in the swinger lifestyle cheat on their significant other.

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The question still remains: If you are in the swinger lifestyle, how can either party be accused of cheating? This is a very interesting and fair question for an outsider looking in. The answer?

Just because you and your partner agree to venture into the swinger lifestyle does not mean either of you has free reign to be sexually intimate with others without the other's consent.

In other words, although you and your partner have agreed to participate in and experience this new venture together, it is not acceptable to sneak around and participate in sexual relations with others without dual consent.

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READ: How to Flirt... With Consent!

Why? Well, because, cheating doesn't only mean interacting sexually with someone without your partner's consent—it can also be emotional.

Let's take a look at how emotional cheating can occur within the swinger lifestyle—and common misunderstandings that can cause major relationship rifts:

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Why Emotional Cheating Exists

To best illustrate why emotional cheating is possible within a physically non-monogamous relationship, let me be clear about what exactly the swinger lifestyle is:

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The swinger lifestyle is about experimenting together as a couple. As such, there are certain rules and basic etiquette both of you need to follow to keep things from becoming complicated.

READ: Are You Ready for the Swinger Lifestyle?

For example, it is customary that when two couples choose to be intimate with one another and decide to exchange personal information, this should be done in such a way that all parties are involved equally regarding correspondence. This can be done on a four-way group text or using an app such as Kik or WhatsApp to make sure everyone is equally involved.

That's because, if you allow your partner to have private contact with a partner from another couple you engaged with, they are opening up the possibility for an emotional connection to develop. And if that emotional connection blossoms into emotional intimacy, while you and your partner have agreed to be emotionally monogamous, that means your partner cheated. Emotionally.

These sort of situations can also be considered in terms of consent. The rules you and your partner agree to are the boundaries of consent. Going beyond the boundaries or breaking the rules is a violation of consent.

I have experienced this numerous times—both in my personal dating life and as a swinger lifestyle coach. Emotional cheating is the number one concern I hear from couples I coach—how can they make sure to keep emotional connection out of the picture?

READ: 9 Everyday Violations of Consent We Don't Think About.

The Consequences of Emotional Cheating

Emotional cheating a valid concern: For many people, engaging in sexual intimacy almost always results in some type of connection—be it physical or emotional. There is a difference between the two, though, and you need to be able to separate them.

I am not saying everyone must follow my suggested guidelines, as some swinger lifestyle couples have no issue allowing their significant other a hall pass—permission to go solo without their presence—and are completely fine with separate-room play. However, not all swinger couples are comfortable with that level of openness—resulting in concerns over partners developing connections to other people through conversation and intimacy.

I can speak from personal experience and attest to this happening with my 14-year marriage. When we were new to the swinger lifestyle, a lack of guidance contributed to huge mistakes which ultimately took a toll on our marriage. Specifically, emotions got the best of my husband and the female half of another couple and damaged our relationship beyond repair.

Running my swinger community since 2012, I have seen my fair share of break-ups, heartache and families torn apart—the vast majority due to the same situation I endured.

READ: A bad breakup has made it hard for me to enjoy sex with other women. What gives?

Other Types of Cheating in the Swinger Lifestyle

Then there's the minority of swinger lifestyle couples I've seen break up. These are the couples who end up losing a partnership, relationship or marriage due to a different type of cheating in the swinger lifestyle.

I like to use this analogy: "Give someone an inch and they will take a mile."

To elaborate, let's say, for example, your partner is on a business trip and you have been asked to join a couple out for drinks with the possibility of play afterward. You contact your partner and they give you verbal permission, a "hall pass," to head out solo with this couple—no restrictions or limitations. Does this mean the next time your partner goes on a business trip, you no longer need to communicate or ask for permission to go out solo?

In short, no. Your "hall pass" is only valid for this interaction—not whenever you choose. All too often, couples will tell me how permission for a one-time hall pass turned into a lack of respect and communication, with one person assuming that, if it was OK one time, there was no need to "ask for permission."

This is another way cheating can occur in the swinger lifestyle community. It again goes back to issues of consent. Consent needs to be on-going and enthusiastic. Partners check in with each other regularly to make sure everyone is still having a good time. Assuming something that was ok once is always ok is a grave error and not fair to your partner.

Conclusion

Being a part of the swinger lifestyle can be rewarding and beneficial, as long as the communication lines remain open and the relationship is solid prior to embarking on the journey.

Educate yourself, discuss the pros and the cons and be aware of warning signs and what to be leery of.

I'll leave you with this advice—my favorite way to describe the swinger lifestyle to my clients who want to try it out:

"It can be a slippery slope if you do not follow basic guidelines and etiquette; but with the right guidance and keeping the lines of communication open, the lifestyle can put the right amount of spark back into that burning flame."

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Photo for Coralyn Jewel
Coralyn Jewel

From International best-selling author, adult performer, podcaster, swing club owner, sexologist, lifestyle coach, motivational speaker and sex advocate, Coralyn Jewel is on a mission to break the misconceptions and judgment regarding adult performers and alternative lifestyles, as well as help others embrace their sexuality.


For booking, interviews or coaching visit Coralyn Jewel at Www.coralynjewel.com

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