LOOK AT IT THIS WAY
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 - 
Part Three


Some months ago, I did an interview with anthropologist and author Dr. Leanna Wolfe.  By way of summary, it would be safe to say that her comments regarding women in the Lifestyle were less than flattering.  Indeed, at one point, she referred to such ladies as "cultural and biological aberrations."
 
There followed something of a predictable backlash to such negative categorizing; so much so that I devoted a second column to the same topic. 

And now, here we go again.  So many readers continue to comment on the Dr. Wolfe piece and to offer their views of Why Women Swing that a Part Three seemed in order.

I suppose that much of the interest - titillation might be a better word - involving women and their desire for sex has its roots in the Victorian age.
 
The girls back then were considered so different from the boys, that any hint of carnal pleasure in a female might well result in a clitoridectomy!  The medical profession actually considered such surgical intervention an appropriate protocol for habitual masturbation and these procedures were practiced well into the 20th century.  It's curious to note that the vibrator we now use as a sex toy was originally developed as a medical tool.  No kidding!  Women showing up at the doctor's office with a wide assortment of symptoms were often brought to orgasm as a form of treatment.  The catharsis that resulted from what we would call a hand job was considered sound therapy in its day-- and it probably was.  But the time it might take was a drawback so the early vibrator was invented as a handy aid for the, then as now, always harried physician.  That grandma might get herself off was inconceivable just a few short generations ago so, perhaps, it's understandable that women who enjoy sex for sex sake today might still be a difficult, albeit titillating, concept for some people.

Lady Suzanne, the popular newspaper columnist who regularly reports on all things sexual, volunteered her answers to a few of the questions I had previously asked Dr. Wolfe.  The difference of opinion is sometimes striking.

Q: Why do women swing?

A: I do not believe I am (as Dr. Wolfe would say) a "cultural and biological aberration."  I swing because I'm a free sprit, comfortable with my sexuality and not confined by what society deems natural.

Q: Are most Americans satisfied with their sex lives?

A: Here I agree with Dr. Wolfe.  Most Americans are not satisfied.  If they were, then having affairs, lying, cheating, destroying lives and families would not be so prevalent.  But consider this-- in the Lifestyle community the divorce rate is about seven percent as opposed to a staggering 52 percent in normal society.  What accounts for this overwhelming difference?  I'd say that in the Lifestyle, you have sexually satisfied partners who are honest in their relationship and who communicate honestly with their mate.

Q: Do males and females have different expectations regarding Swinging?

A: Sure, but only because our views on sex differ.  And it's not just a matter of women releasing their "inner slut" which Dr. Wolfe seems to suggest is a bad thing.  Swinging provides us with the same no-investment-access-to-partners that the men enjoy.  It allows for a separation of love and sex, which then makes the latter a purely recreational activity.  Some men are surprised to see just how much fun their "slut" can have and still be in love only with them.  But I have to say that I thought Wolf's "alpha male" comments were too much!  Such a man is pathetic at best and dangerous at worst.  There's no room in a consensual community like the Lifestyle for any individual to be in charge.  Women have evolved to the point where we no longer need an alpha male to take care of us-- supplying food, clothes, a house and babies.  We can get those things on our own. 

Q: Is it true that women have the power in Swinging?

A: I don't like this question because the Lifestyle is, as I said, consensual.  However, I should add it is true that if the ladies don't like it-- it's not going to happen.  But the idea that women use any power they may have when Swinging as a means of finding something better is ridiculous. The gals I know in the Lifestyle are very satisfied with their guys.  Certainly they're not going to leave their partner simply because somebody else turns out to be a better bowler.

Q: Why don't more women become involved in Swinging?

A: Because they don't get it.  They feel, as Dr. Wolfe does, that sex is about money and status.  What women in the Lifestyle find is a sense of freedom; freedom to dress sexy and not be accosted; freedom to openly discuss and fulfill their fantasies; freedom to open up and be as sexually hot as men.  Women in the Lifestyle make their wishes known.  They frankly and honestly communicate with their partners.  They have no need for hidden agendas and never need to use sex as a bargaining tool-- a "bargaining tool"-- what is that all about?  And as for Dr. Wolfe's new book, "When One Lover Isn't Enough," I can only say that those who talk about more than one lover are talking about affairs and affairs have nothing to do with the Lifestyle.  Women who Swing enjoy sex-- they do not make love to their Swinging playmates.

Lady Suzanne frequently conducts seminars and workshops at the Rocky Mountain Connections Social Club.  Phone (720) 363-7946 or visit www.rmcsc.com for additional information.

You might also want to read what our favorite publisher had to say about women who Swing...DaBelly's own main man, Dave Schwartz, made the following comments:

Dr. Wolf's comments regarding "a proper seduction complete with wining and dining" and "Swinging does not offer a female access to the male's resources-- protection, security, the possibility of making babies" was remarkable.  She has reduced biological and cultural fulfillment to a simple matter of leverage and concession.  Is it really true that men marry the prettiest women they can afford?  And if so, what does this say about those women?  The greatest causality of this mentality has to be intimacy.  Sacrifice that intangible connection that binds couples and you have thrown up the first of many walls that will ultimately divide them.

For millennia women had been possessions - spoils of war - and only as possessions could they hope to gain access to the man's resources and identity.  A husband's power might then become a measure of the wife's power.

But I had thought that in the latter part of the last century women had taken a stand and had begun the long walk toward self-empowerment.  They no longer needed to rely on men for their success.  They could blaze their own trails-- arguing for and earning combat roles in the military, as well as in the boardroom.  The result of this newly earned power is nothing less than Freedom!

Women should no longer need to rely on leverage and concession no longer need to rely on men.  They should finally be free to chose their sex partners and to then give freely of themselves.  It is, perhaps, most disturbing that Dr. Wolfe would turn such a celebration of sex into nothing more than a mere transaction.

I also received a note from Ms. L. who said:

I'm 42 and single, with strong hormones and a healthy sex drive, which I especially enjoy when all the garbage people place on our love lives is removed.  I see sexual relations as pure pleasure-- and the endorphins released help people to relax and feel more alive.  Having a variety of partners makes it even better.  And as for the dating part, Swingers can - and many do - make it an integral part of the experience.

There's much to say about the Lifestyle, but the media rarely gets it right.  Part of the problem is that the people next door chose not to expose themselves and risk losing their jobs or being ostracized.  But don't let society color code you into traditional male/female roles.  Women are sexual creatures and when they get above the limitations they're taught, they can relax and enjoy everything life has to offer-- including the freedom of choice.

All three of the above writers (Lady Suzanne, Dave Schwartz and Ms. L.) use a word that frequently comes up in discussions of Women and Swinging.  That word is Freedom.  A gentleman in South Africa writes: My wife says she's attracted to the Lifestyle, but having been brought up with very traditional, very conservative values she doesn't feel so much freedom in sex is natural. 

She's not alone-- and how could it possibly be otherwise?  Girls are taught right from the get-go that they are the ones responsible for all matters sexual.  Anything that can go wrong or does go wrong is their fault.  It's why some women actually come to idealize rape and get off on Erica Jong's  "zip-less fuck" scenario from her 1960s best seller "The Fear of Flying." At least nobody can blame it on them-- right?  Wrong!  "She was askin' for it" is an argument still used by defense attorneys and still a popular judgment with many of the citizens populating these fruited plains.  Screwing a really rich guy (despite his age or looks) is about the only thing for which a female won't be automatically condemned.  To tell the truth, if I were a woman surrounded by such notions of proper behavior and always on the verge of being punished for improper pleasures, I too might be wary of Swinging -- and so much freedom.

And now, dear reader, it's your turn.  Feel free to post your comments regarding women who Swing on DaBelly's big board.  Who knows... this might even lead to a Part Four!

Dr Mason is a psychologist who may be reached directly at DrSBMason@aol.com

Read the full "Why Women Swing" series.  Click here for Part 1 and Part 2.

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