LOOK AT IT THIS WAY
By Steve Mason
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
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
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
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