Opinion: Swingers and BDSM

Sepia picture of a clock and beautiful young girl (focus on cloc

This topic is often fraught with controversy and angst. We have two very different lifestyles yet they both are on the fringe; often hidden from others or concealed behind closed doors, whispered about among friends. I consider myself a BDSM lifestyler first but have most definitely dabbled in the swinger lifestyle in the past. I’d like to make the case for BDSM and swingers to live in harmony and even so far as to say they can live as one! I know I’m going to get some backlash from this, but I’m hopeful about the potential these two communities have.

I know plenty of dungeons that hold separate BDSM and swinger events but very few that host crossover events. Goddess Fae in San Diego has been championing the cause at her Dungeon Black. You go girl! It’s often touted that the two communities cannot cohabitate. The swinger group is horrified by acts of BDSM it is said. The BDSM group is appalled at the lack monogamy and consent that the swingers convey. To this is say hogwash! If I may point out the similarities between the two groups, I think it will be fairly obvious that they have more in common than not. There is also the negative connotation surrounding the word “swinger” in the mainstream context. People assume that swingers are sex-crazed fiends who attend drug and alcohol fueled parties. I’ve found the reality to be to the contrary. There is a similar misconception about BDSM parties being full of big scary men who grab and cart off unwilling women into dark rooms to beat and torture. Sound familiar?

Safety
Both groups encourage safe play and sex practices. Some swinger parties even model the BDSM parties by having “monitors” or folks who walk around making sure everyone is alright and rules are being followed.

Consent
As always, consent is key for both communities. People can’t just go in and start banging (or banging on) anybody they want. While some swinger parties have more relaxed rules or a general “open consent” vibe, a person still reserves the right to say, “No thanks, I’m not interested.” Those who push this point or consistently break it tend to fall out of favor (and out of invites) fairly quickly.

Curiosity
Everyone has a curiosity about one another. There are a lot of folks that crossover between the two and information is exchanged.

Communication
Not unlike BDSM couples, I’ve found that folks in the swinger community are awesome communicators. You have to be just as open with your partner and potential partners about limits, wants and desires.

It’s safe to say that some folks in the swinger lifestyle will simply not be into bondage and spanking but it’s not necessarily the case where they will be appalled. In these fringe communities, people have a broader understanding and acceptance of things that are not “normal” by vanilla standards.

I’d like to think if the two communities had a bit more practical understanding of the other, then the two could combine to make some pretty awesome collaborations. There are mutual skillsets to share, not to mention a larger pool of kink-minded folks to befriend and who doesn’t want more BDSM acceptance?

I’d love to open up a discussion about this. Please chat with me about your thoughts and experiences in the comments!

Writer, model, babygirl, submissive. After trying vanilla relationships one time too many, anniebear finally realized her submissive desires and discovered the BDSM community. When not writing for Kink Weekly, she enjoys spankings and being tied with rope.

Comments

  1. Nina and I have been members of both communities for years. There are places where they intersect smoothly and places where they don’t. It’s usually about the people. Some swingers think BDSM is creepy and some BDSM people think swinging somehow cheapens their experience. As always, it comes down to cases.

    • My lady and I do both which is something we thought wouldn’t work because essentially bdsm and swinging contradict each other. I am a male switch and we go through phases of swing and bdsm and just straight vanilla sex too. I think you have to have phenomenal communication and strong down to earth soul mate kind of relationship. I’m lucky we got that bond

  2. Where I find conflict more and more is at Fetish events. It is partly because there are fewer mentors and par because generations older than x especially have gone more private and exclusive in their gatherings, and part just generational as it relates to values. The conflicts revolve around politeness, respect for others space when scening, lack of understanding in that seeing something does not mean you know or understand it thus uneducated know it all syndrome, not understanding my swingers that eddicate rules in bdsm are differentthab swinging, and a lack of respect for and of women in bdsm (whether dominant or sub) such that permission and formality to a degree is part of the essence. I have had to step in more frequently it really seems to either protect, or correct nicely or to be more observant to watch for things. Today’s generations are more casual and things like the eddicate unfortunately get too sacrificed ……

  3. Check us out on fetlife bomb trigger. We are the couple you look up to

  4. Other than flirting and talking to a few couples I haven’t had much experience in the ACTUAL swing lifestyle. I’ve met wives who had “arrangements” with their husbands. I’ve met couples who were “curious but not ready”. I’ve also met way too many husbands who had more secrets than they were willing to admit to themselves.

    I’ve been into BDSM for a long time and active on and off for close to 10 years.

    I don’t see why the two communities can’t coexist and comingle.

    There just needs to be the right tie. No pun intended.

  5. Neilias_Elision says:

    I live in a much smaller town and our play space is struggling to make rent. It was suggested that we have more sex positive events as a way of opening up the our clientele.

    The swingers seemed to be ok with it, but the vast majority of the bdsm folk have put up a bit of a wall, citing everything from cleanliness issues to noise. I hope we can figure this out since failure to do so could wind up closing our one and only venue.

    • I’m sorry to hear you’re struggling. This is something I’ve heard before. BDSM folks want a place to play and socialize but are barely willing to fork over even a small amount for entry fees to help contribute to a community space. Perhaps you could host an open forum or panel to hear suggestions, opinions and complaints form both community groups?

  6. I came from a BDSM background and swinger and BDSM consent expectations are different. My partner has more of a swinger background. I was complaining about people crowding my space. However, apparently bringing your own people for crowd control is the expectation of swingers, but swingers don’t tell you that. I had many discussions with a party host about safety and not until I decided not to go anymore did someone bring up that I should have brought a spotter and that is the SOP at such parties. So I think if you are talking to BDSM folks about attending swinger events that fact needs to be at the top of the list.

  7. Consent standards are not the same. So I think that BDSM folks need to be aware before entering swinger space. If you are female you need to have friends to protect your space.

    If you are in a BDSM club that is being rented out on a swinger night, they might well have monitors to protect the space.

  8. A good friend of mine is an old school BDSM Master. He takes on slaves, with contracts, when he feels like it.

    I have had my feet in both worlds.

    To say there is a lack of consent on either side is ludicrous. Swingers usually establish limits and what they are/are not comfortable with ahead of play. The same is done with BDSM relationships (sometimes in writing!). Often times, mid play, swingers still ask permission before doing things. (This isn’t done as much via BDSM as the dominant goes in with clear limits laid out and different self control.) Both groups can remove consent via verbal communication–a “no” or a safe word.

    Many in the swinging community have kinks. They come with toys, like to be spanked, restrained, etc. Many in the BDSM community fantasize about threesomes, or more.

    Given my personal experience… and the local situation where I am… NOT a small town and a pretty active tourist destination bringing in millions of visitors per year… I have my own conclusions.

    There is 1 active swingers club in my area. It’s clean, secure and very up to date. It has won awards. There are a few active BDSM groups in the area. One of them, the most active, to my knowledge, brings in equipment to the swingers club 1 night a month for an event.

    This club has pretty standard rules on any given night. All rooms/situations require asking first. Semi private rooms: open curtain, open invite. White closed? Viewing only. Blackout? Privacy. Private rooms: Open door–invite. Closed? Privacy. There are public play area as well for exhibitionists and voyeurs.

    The group that brings in the BDSM equipment sets up in the 2 open play areas. They bring in their own people. They kick people out of the room for making too much noise. They kick people out for being “inappropriate.”

    I think… if that’s their concern… they’d be better off playing out BDSM scenes in the voyeur room. It has a 1 way mirror and a door that locks. People can watch but not get involved, annoy, etc. Instead they choose to use the public rooms… and then complain about people using the space as intended and taking the public display as an invitation given it’s a kink night at a swingers club–not the other way around. Tossing people out for assuming you want playmates and asking to join? Really? People who are in exhibitionist mode, strapped to a cross, complaining about voyeurs?

    I don’t understand–truly.

    The communities aren’t that different… the biggest difference I can see?

    BDSM is about… control and possession, on a lot of levels. Master and slave, dom and sub, who has a collar, who has a leash, etc.

    Swinging is less about control or owning. It’s more accepting the person is with YOU by choice, and choose to leave with you, regardless of who used a toy on them earlier while you watched.

    Both require massive amounts of communication and consent.

    I just… don’t see why the gap is viewed as some massive ravine with a raging river… rather than a teeny tiny creek you can jump over.

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