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Nowadays, everyone is so open about their proclivities that it may seem as though, consequently, swinging has become socially acceptable. It’s a proposition that holds great promise for any monogamous couple looking to spice things up safely, within some pretty set and pre-ordained parameters. If you’re curious or are interested in trying, the following are a few things to know about swinging.

1. Not for Every Couple

While some couples are open to the idea of an open relationship and are more comfortable within that dynamic than they are committed to a lifetime of serial monogamy, it doesn’t necessarily mean that swinging is for them. Swinging usually entails pairing up with more than one couple, and it’s not the same as having a polyamorous relationship – people tend to get the two confused. Polyamory includes a level of romantic involvement that is not solely about sexual exploration while swinging is usually confined solely to the latter.

This might end up being too complicated for some people to handle, and it can actually create more problems in a relationship instead of helping the couple get out of a rut. There are a lot of pros and cons involved when it comes to swinging, and it’s best to go through all the things you stand to gain or lose with your partner beforehand to make sure you’re on the same page if you’re interested in trying it out.

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2. The Perks

On the face of it, swinging offers a lot of perks to couples who are bored with their sex life and hoping to try new things with different partners. But, there are other ways to engage in swinging that are not simply about switching around partners. Voyeurism is a major turn-on for most partners, especially men who have cuckold fantasies. According to Cuckin, there are specific ways in which this could work, and it can also be a good way for men to see how comfortable they are with their girlfriends or wives engaging in swinging. Watching could help alleviate some of the pressures involved with engaging full-on to the scene in the beginning and will give you a chance to see if this is something you want to incorporate into your lifestyle.

3. There are Clear Ground Rules

Swinging can get complicated fast if there aren’t any ground rules. You should sit down and have an honest talk with your partner to lay out the rules, and make sure to clearly explain them to any other couples you have invited onboard to ensure that all parties are on the same page. Each couple has their own unique comfort zones and interests, so you can customize these rules according to your own needs. There may be some clear turnoffs or no-go zones for you or your partner, and that should be shared with whomever else you choose to engage with – and vice versa.

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4. Try a Club

So, you’re getting closer to the idea that this might be something you and your partner are interested in trying. But, before you go all out, you may need to give it a try first, just to make sure. Instead of buying an ad in the classifieds to meet another couple, you can look into joining a club or perhaps attend a swingers party first. You can look online for secret parties at hotels for example, that entails a large social setting with plenty of security. You can also make sure that there will be condoms and other safety measures taken at these private parties so that you feel safe while trying this experience for the first time and deciding whether or not it works well for you.

5. Master the Terminology

There are certain terms you should become familiar with right away. Phrases like “hard swap” essentially denote couples who are open to having full-on sexual relations with another couple. Or, a “unicorn” refers to a woman who attends swingers events alone – yes, this isn’t just for couples. Other terms to know are “soft swap,” which is basically the opposite of what a hard swap is and that everything is on the table except for sex. And, last but not least, the phrase is “the lifestyle” refers to the – you guessed it – the swinger lifestyle.

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6. Set Realistic Expectations

While it’s easy to go in thinking that you will experience Caligula levels of depravity, that is not necessarily the case. The night might actually be a bit boring at first….but, just be patient. The important thing is to set realistic expectations and also decide upon hard and fast rules that ensure you don’t move beyond your comfort zone. Sometimes, you need to wait a while to figure out how to find your groove, and that’s to be expected.

7. Find Healthy Coping Mechanisms

Even if you’ve been fantasizing about this for a while, you may realize that you are actually super nervous on the day of. This is completely normal. Try to do some yoga, or meditate. Don’t overdo it on the alcohol. That will impair your judgment significantly. Not to mention, it will also impact your ability to have sex at the agreed-upon time. There’s nothing worse than overdoing it on the alcohol to calm your nerves, only to find that you are completely unable to enjoy – or worse, remember – the experience, or you cannot perform, period. Find a healthy way to rid yourself of the jitters, and just try to focus on having fun.

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8. It’s Not the 1970s

Attached to the idea of swinging are a lot of stereotypes that we have the 1970s to thank for helping to promulgate. The reality is that swinging has changed a great deal, especially in the ways in which the idea of consent is a lot more sophisticated these days, and even the lingo has evolved. Make sure you do some research online and linger on message boards for a while first, before taking the leap.

Swapping partners can be a new experience worth exploring. However, there are a few things you should be aware of going in, and getting some expert advice definitely helps. At the same time, remember that you are the expert in your own relationship, so feel free to set your parameters and have an open discussion with your partner first.