Sex advice: How to suggest swinging to your partner

After being married 15 years, this man wants to spice things up – but he’s worried the kink he’d like to explore is too much for his wife.

Welcome to Relationship Rehab,’s weekly column solving all your romantic problems, no holds barred.

This week, our resident sexologist Isiah McKimmie hears from a husband who wants to try adding a third person to his marital bed.

Question: I read your article recently on the woman wanting an open relationship and it brought some things up for me. I’ve had this feeling that I’d like to try swinging. I definitely don’t want my wife having sex with someone without me, like in an open relationship, but I think it would be something fun to do together and would add some spark to our sex life.

My wife and I were much more open about sex 15 years ago, long before kids and although we still enjoy it, it’s all a bit routine. I’ve thought about swinging before, but haven’t ever raised it. Tips on how to start the conversation and introduce it?

Answer: I admire your courage in asking this question. Despite the social stigma it still has, swinging can be a path to spice up your sex life and enhance your relationship.

While swinging has a reputation stuck in the 1970s, it’s alive and well today and the couples that swing might surprise you. We’re now seeing younger couples and couples in high socio-economic demographics engaging in swinging.

Benefits of swinging

People who swing report benefits to their sex life and their relationship as a whole.

Studies on swinging have shown benefits including increased confidence, the development of long-term friendships, enhanced trust within a relationship and more open communication. It goes without saying however that swinging isn’t for everyone and it’s vital that both partners fully consent.

With any kind of ethically non-monogamous relationship, you’ll need really good communication throughout the process.

My advice on how you raise this depends a little on how you already communicate about sex and the state of your relationship right now. I’ve said this many times, but it’s worth repeating: Couples who learn to talk about sex openly and honestly report greater sexual satisfaction than those who don’t.

Create open sexual communication in your relationship

Openly speaking about sex together allows you both to have more of what you want in the bedroom. This takes time, practice and a genuine desire to understand each other’s needs.

One way to bring this up is to mention it as a fantasy first and notice how your wife responds. Her reaction can help you determine how you go ahead with talking about it further. If she seems somewhat open or turned on by the idea, follow up with a more direct conversation another time.

Be reassuring

When we’re talking about something as sensitive as sex, it can be helpful to reassure your partner of your love for them and mention some of the things that you’re already satisfied with. If you go in mentioning what’s ‘wrong’ they’re much more likely to feel insecure or become defensive.

Try share what it would mean to you and why you’re wanting to try this. When we understand someone’s needs or motivation behind something, it gives us more understanding and we’re often more willing to meet their needs.

Ask how she feels about it

Be genuinely curious about your wife’s perspective on this. Feeling heard, understood and supported by you will help build trust and safety in your relationship. Ultimately this helps you both become more flexible and work together on decisions as a team.

If you do decide together that you would like to explore swinging there are some things to consider.

Take your time

Many people underestimate the impact that opening up their relationship to other people or swinging will have on them. (I often see people on the other side of this decision who are looking to repair communication and trust). Don’t rush into this, even if it’s something you both agree on.

Do research on how you’d like this to happen

There are different options for swinging including where it happens and what exactly you do. Do some research to decide what will best suit both of you then set clear agreements and boundaries. Be clear on what your agreements are together but be flexible and allow these to change over time.

Continue to strengthen your relationship

For most people, opening up their relationship to others won’t solve any underlying relationship issues. Make sure you continue to work on building trust and connection in your relationship.

Reach out to a community or a professional for support

There’s a wealth of knowledge and experience already out there on this topic. Reach out to others who are already exploring this to understand more.

You might also find it helpful to reach out to an understanding Couples Therapist who can help guide the conversation between you.

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Author: Shirley