By Steve Masonsmason edit.jpg (23187 bytes)  DrSBMason@aol.com

We make some of our greatest gains
When we see old things
In new ways

Why Women Swing

When I learned that anthropologist Leanna Wolfe, author of "Women Who May Never Marry," was scheduled to give a talk titled "Why Women Swing," I thought it would be interesting to interview her for this column.  Quite frankly, some of her comments on the subject surprised me!

DB: How did you become interested in the topic "Why Women Swing?"

LW: Because I don't get it.  For me, I'd need a proper seduction complete with wining and dining.  Since Swinging does not offer the female access to the male's resources or any sense of identity, the possibility of making babies, protection or security, I must assume women who Swing are a cultural and biological aberration.

DB: Would you say that most Americans are satisfied with their sex lives?

LW: No.  I think they follow the pattern Helen Fisher noted when she observed that there's a two to four year itch that causes Americans to be intrigued by new partners and the promise of heated passion.

DB: Do males & females differ in their expectations when Swinging?

LW: Yes.  Swinging provides men with easy, no investment access to new partners while women might find Swinging a means of getting attention, admiration and the opportunity to safely indulge their inner slut.

DB: What do men/women find good/bad about Swinging?

LW: Men:  Working stiff guys, your typical beta or second string individuals, get a sense of being a powerful, wealthy, alpha male.  Of course, true alpha males would never Swing.  They would have concubines or keep a mistress that they would control through power and resources.  Can you even imagine Ted Turner or Bill Clinton attending a Swing Party?

Women:  Women can get to be a slut while still keeping their middle class security and identity.  They can also be sexual with other women and not be labeled a lesbian.

As for what women find bad about Swinging, it depends on the woman.  For me, I don't find Swinging men appealing.  They are not available to fall in love with me or committed enough to figure out how my body works.

DB: Are female feelings toward sex more biologically or culturally determined?

LW: It's a combination of both.  Biologically, women are as sexually hot as men but culturally, they have been taught to preserve their reputations and to use the promise of sex as a bargaining tool.  An independent woman - one with sufficient personal resources - can play it on her own terms.  Women who Swing can experience a more limited version of this independence despite being financially dependent on their husbands.

DB: Do the perceptions of Swingers change with age?

LW: Could be.  Younger, 20-something couples probably find most of their Swing companions reasonably hot and attractive.  Older, middle-aged couples create social/sexual networks that are more like extended families.

DB: Is it true women have the power in Swinging?

LW: Yes.  But it is restricted to the Swing setting.  Women certainly have the right to refuse men and the men know that No means No.  However, women don't have the power to leave that setting and run off with guys they like better than their husbands.

DB: Why don't more women want to become involved in Swinging?

LW: Because the fantasy Swinging provides for women is limited.  Many of the men who Swing just can't generate that alpha male excitement.

DB: Do you feel female interest in Swinging will grow in the 21st Century?

LW: There will be some growth amongst ravers who seek egalitarian intimacy.  It isn't, however, a solution for the woman who seeks money, status, children through her connections with men.

A nice thing about being on the radio is that you never have to lose an argument.  If a caller starts getting the best of you, there's always the disconnect button.  It's the same with writing up an interview.  You always get the last word.  So I'm going to have to try to be as fair as possible when commenting on some of the things Leanna Wolfe said that surprised me. Starting with her calling women who Swing a "cultural and biological aberration."  It sounds very much like something Dr. Laura would say about gays and, to my ear at least, suggests there might be something wrong with women in the Lifestyle besides simply being part of a minority.  My personal view is that there's something right with them.  If women are indeed "as sexually hot as men," then one might just as well make a case for the majority of women who don't Swing as being the aberrant ones.

Then too, why all the need for wining and dining that Wolfe demands?  I can appreciate the need for foreplay, but why would it also be necessary for the male to have to do a dance while spending big bucks?  If the desire is for sex and not for any extended financial support, then why waste time in a restaurant when it might be better spent in a bed?  This smacks so much of women being taught "to use the promise of sex as a bargaining tool," that I find it frankly offensive.  At a time when gender equality is supposed to be the goal, such men from Mars and women from Venus divisiveness is clearly counterproductive.  It would be naive to say that many, perhaps even most, women don't see men as merely a means to a house and babies, but shouldn't that make women who Swing appear just so much more honest and forthright in their relations with the opposite sex?

Also, regarding Wolfe's view of alpha males, why would guys who have to attract females with money and high priced living arrangements (while having to hide from the world at large and the wife in particular) be considered alpha males?  It's true that one might not find a Ted Turner or a Bill Clinton at a Swing club down the street, but, then again, why expect to find them anywhere unless one moves in the same circles.  Then too, what's to be said of the female who trades sex behind the barn - as it were - and willingly agrees to be controlled by a male so long as he continues to pay the price.  Is this an example of an alpha female?

Leanna Wolfe is currently researching her next book, "When One Lover Isn't Enough," and asked me to ask you, the readers, for your input regarding the following:

To Women: Please give us your general age grouping (20's, 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's, etc.) and tell us what attracted you to Swinging.

To Men: Why do you think women Swing?

To Respond: DrSBMason@aol.com

To read the next two installments in this series click here: 
Why Woman Swing
Part 2 and Part 3

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