Swingular - Swingers

Swinger Rules

By Hugh G. Rection
The Swinger Source

Every advice column I've seen on beginning swinging includes the phrase "set rules and live by them." Unfortunately, the authors of those columns rarely go into any detail about how to do so.

This article is not meant to be the definitive source on rules for Swingers, but rather a starting point for you to begin talking about your comfort level with your significant other.

The first thing you need to remember is that the person you share your life with, is the important person in swinging. Their comfort level, passion and self-esteem should always be your first concern.

That said, when discussing rules, you will need to remember that no matter how outlandish, silly, bizarre, or just plain crazy the rules your partner comes up with may seem to you - they need to be respected, because that rule is clearly important to your partner.

I'd also like to express my opinion that a discussion about rules should not be approached as a bargaining session, nor as a negotiation, but rather as an open discussion about turn-ons and turn-offs, intimacy and feelings.

Now that the preliminaries are out of the way, here are a couple of tips for the discussion:

  1. Be respectful!
  2. Really listen, too often when our partner is speaking, we begin thinking about our response before they are finished, and in this type of discussion, it is imperative that we listen actively and openly.
  3. Be honest! This is no time to hide your true feelings. To start with, many couples experience a scenario where one partner is more adventurous than the other - this is normal, and must be embraced.
Actually Setting Rules

Someone has to take the lead here, let it be you. The first thing you have to decide is "What am I comfortable with?" Questions you may want to ask your self are:

  • Am I actually comfortable with my partner receiving sexual pleasure from another person?
  • What if that person is of the same sex as my partner? Am I really comfortable seeing my partner give sexual pleasure to another person?
  • What if that person is the same sex as my partner?
  • Am I comfortable seeing my partner perform truly intimate acts with another person? (In this instance "truly intimate" is something you will need to define, for some "truly intimate" means kissing, for others it means sensual massage, for others it has completely different meanings, whatever your definition is, are you prepared for it?).
  • Am I interested in actual sexual intercourse with a person other than my partner?
  • Am I interested in fantasy or role-playing with someone other than my partner?
  • How do I feel about my partner having sexual relations with another person without my presence?
  • How do I feel about our potential partners being a part of our lives? Am I interested in sex with strangers or am I looking for intimate friendships that expand beyond simple sexual pleasure.
  • Will I practice and expect my partners to practice safe sex? How do I define safe sex? Do I expect condom or dam usage in every situation?
  • How will my partner and I meet potential partners?
  • If we choose to meet people online what will our rules be for that? Will it bother me that my partner is placing or responding to ads without my being present? Do I have any issues with my partner chatting with potential partners without me?
  • What am I looking for? Another couple? Single males? Single females? Roman orgy scenes?

Naturally, the questions above are not meant to be all-inclusive, but rather a starting point for you to begin thinking about your own needs, desires and comfort levels.


Define signals with your partner, these signals need to cover situations like: Get me out of here!, We need to talk, I'm uncomfortable, I'm interested, etc.

When setting rules it is important to be specific. For example, it may not be sufficient to say "we are comfortable with full sexual intercourse" and happily go off to meet your play partners. Questions to ask surrounding that rule may include:

  • How do we signal that we are uncomfortable in a situation? Don't forget there will be times when you will need a non-verbal signal, and times when the verbal signal you have defined earlier may be out of place - as an example, my wife and I defined a signal as "I need a smoke break", whenever one of us said that it meant, "we need to talk". Which was fine until we went to a swingers club and were sitting there happily smoking, and realized that we couldn't say "I need a smoke break" without seeming either crazy or sneaky.
  • How do we define when we are "done". My wife and I struggled with this for some time, we would be playing with another couple, and one or the other of us would essentially be "finished" and ready to go, while the other was interested in continuing to play. Don't assume anything. On one occassion, this little issue nearly made us give up the lifestyle, she was done, and I wasn't and as I continued to play, she felt left out and inadequate. Are we only going to play in the same bed? In the same room? Or are we okay with separating and playing with someone else?
  • If we decide that we only play together, same room, same bed, etc. What happens if one of us needs to go to the bathroom? Should the other stop playing and wait? Continue to play? Accompany the other? Will we "take one for the team"? In other words, what if we meet another couple and my partner is completely turned on by the couple we meet, and I'm not. Do we still play? If not, how will I communicate to my partner that I'm not interested?
Discuss everything

After each experience, talk about everything that happened. Were you excited? Challenged? Happy? Was it a pleasurable experience? Were there any "awkward" moments? Be sure to openly discuss whether you are interested in playing again with whoever you played with.

Be prepared for change

Typically, as you gain experience, your rules will evolve. When we initially began swinging, one of my rules was that I didn't want my wife to swallow for another man - this seemed like an extremely intimate act to me, and while I was comfortable with recreational sex, I was uncomfortable with perceived "intimacy" between my wife and another man.

After a few experiences, while discussing the events of the previous night, my wife pointed out to me that it was stressful to her, and to the man she was blowing to worry about exactly what I meant - was it okay for him to cum in her mouth, as long as she didn't swallow? What about pre-cum?

Her approach was excellent, and in the proper context, and after thinking about it for awhile, I decided that since we had a trusting relationship with this other couple - trusting to the point that we had forgone condoms with them - I was comfortable with her swallowing him.

More Change

Our rules evolve differently with different partners as well. Naturally, as Swingers, we play with people we trust and like. Nevertheless, with some partners, we have more "stringent " rules. Likewise, we have to be respectful of our play partner's rules as well, and their rules may change and evolve over time.

It is critical to accept that rules will change, and that each of you may have different ideas about how and when this will occur. Open and honest communication is the only hope for starting and continuing an enjoyable "swingers lifestyle".

Stick with your rules. The time to change rules is not on-the-spot, and it is not acceptable to "forget" a rule. It is also unacceptable to put your partner on the spot and demand a decision on a rule change in the heat of the moment.

If you are interested in changing or abolishing a rule, the time to discuss it is afterwards. Again, I remind you, rules are not about negotiation or argument, they are about comfort and enjoyment, so be respectful of your partner, and their feelings.

Also, be aware that your play partners have their own rules, and if you run into one that seems odd to you - remember it makes sense to them. Do not try to convince them that they should change their rule to suit you.

In Conclusion

Setting rules is clearly critical to enjoyment of the lifestyle, and unfortunately it can become a point of conflict if not handled with respect, caring and love for your partner. However, with some open communication, and thought an effective set of rules can lead to enjoyable experiences for all. Being a Swinger can be a good thing!