Just the title of this book - Swinging in America by authors Bergstrand and Sinski will cause much discomfort for many who assume they know what swingers do. What struck me when I first started reading the book was who the authors were and who they were not. They claimed to be the first authors that were not in the ‘lifestyle’ and married, but not to each other and represented a totally different and unbiased perspective. Because of the nature and potential damaging effects of being identified in the ‘lifestyle’ the researchers were still able to get 1,100 participants to help inform and create a knowledge base of what it is like to be non-monogamous. The book was written in the traditional academic research style. In spite of that I still found it an interesting read. I found it interesting in how the researchers took on the highly debated monogamous relationship and clearly explained how all of the relevant forces have shaped and reinforced it in such a way that anyone trying to break free of the “socially acceptable” mold meets with dire consequences. One is certainly left wondering in the end just how the researchers were impacted by their view of the ‘lifestyle’.
Some of the take away gems that stayed with me were as follows:
• Swinging will never help a relationship in trouble
• Swinging is not for everyone
• One has to be secure in their emotional and physical relationship before ‘swinging’ should be explored
• Go slow and take your time – remember fools rush in where wise men dare to tread
• There are many forms of swinging from soft to full and everything in between
• Those successful in the ‘lifestyle’ have also successfully eliminated relationship killers such as lying, deceitfulness, and cheating
• The ‘lifestyle’ will continue to exist despite the sometimes overwhelming forces and attitudes of those against such a way of living
It was interesting to note that once a person has been caught outside the monogamous field they are stripped of and discredited for anything good they had to offer. It was a sad commentary but reinforces just how powerful these structures are in the world. Even the law has its say into what is considered “normal and acceptable” as a society when it comes to monogamous relationships and the choices that surround them. So if you are looking for a fascinating and thought provoking read then ‘Swinging in America’ might just fit the bill.