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 -
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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