Swinging or partner swapping (sometimes referred to as the swinging lifestyle or simply the lifestyle) is a non-monogamous behavior, in which partners in a committed relationship agree, as a couple, for both partners to engage in sexual activities with other people, sometimes referred to as recreational or social sex. Swinging can take place in a number of contexts, ranging from a spontaneous sexual activity at an informal social gathering of friends to a swingers' club and can involve internet-based introduction services.
The phenomenon of swinging (or at least its wider discussion and practice) is regarded by some as arising from the upsurge in sexual activity during the sexual revolution of the 1960s, made possible by the invention of the contraceptive pill and the prevalence of safer sex practices during the same period.
The term wife swapping is now criticized as being androcentric and not accurately describing the full range of sexual activities in which couples may take part, but the term continues in use, and reflects the origins of the concept whereby husbands were viewed as initiating an informal partner swap.
The Tee-Pee is a perfect example of the circles found within the Swinging Lifestyle. Tee-Pees are built as circular structures with flexible exteriors and doors. Within the Swinging Environment, there are “circles” or “groups” that converge based upon common interests, attractions and comfort zones.
As Swingers “experience,” they desire the flexibility to change Tee-Pees. Within any circle, the doors are always open to come and go as desired. The Tee-Pee looks like a triangle (three points) explaining the need to have at least a third party (aside from your primary partner) to be a swinger. It is very important to note that there are many variances in the Tee-Pees and you may find yourself somewhere in-between. Remember, they are all flexible.
TP-1: These individuals enjoy sharing sexuality at a safe distance, such as over the phone or via e-mail. You may talk dirty and do things to each other by request of your “pen pal” couple or individual.
TP-2: These individuals enjoy either being present and watching another couple or individual perform a sexual act or performing a sexual act while being watched or watching while being watched. Maybe you share a hotel room with two queen size beds right next to each other.
TP-3: These individuals have preset rules and limits as to how far they will go with another couple or individual while sharing sexual activities. This will usually include touching outside of their primary partner. It may also include sexual massage, licking and kissing but never penetration. Usually at this level, a bond or friendship is the goal of all and is usually not intended as a one-night stand.
TP-4: These individuals set aside the rules and limits as to how far they will go with another couple or individual while sharing sexual activities. This will usually include not only touching outside of their primary partner but, it may also include sexual massage, licking and kissing and even intercourse. This grade is usually with an individual or couple that has created a common bond and attraction with the intention of an ongoing relationship and friendship.
TP-5: These individuals share sexuality with another couple or individual to the extent that they do not have limits other than protection (condoms) as long as they are in the presence of their primary partner and usually sharing each other at the same time (threesomes or foursomes). There is not expectation or obligation for long-term friendships or relationships, just fun sex. This level, as in any of the levels, does not rule out the possibility of a long-term relationship between any or all parties involved.
TP-6: At this level, the individuals enjoy meeting people that want to have sex, plain and simple. Attraction may or may not be important. Safety from disease is usually the only rule of thumb at this level. However, primary partners are still part of these encounters and even though they may have all the fun they want, the primaries always go home or to bed (to sleep) together.
TP-7: The level seven is no longer considered elementary swinging. This is the hard-core swap. I’ll take yours, you take mine, see you tomorrow. We find this a lot with “open relationships”. The hard part with this form of swinging is the unknown factor of your primary. This is a topic all its own! However, there usually still needs to be somewhat of an attraction to the other individuals involved.
TP-8: This level is easy to describe ... anytime, anywhere and with (almost) anyone. If this is you, please be careful!