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The following is copyrighted Material, reprinted, with permission, from LifeStyle Magazine.

Heads She Wins, Tails I Lost Out? Soft or Full Swap Swinging By: John St. John

When my wife and I were first intrigued about the lifestyle, we ran across a couple different types of swinging. Thanks to many online informational websites and some very friendly people, we found out that there were basically two types: "soft" or "full swap". We just automatically assumed we were full swap, because that is what we both were looking for. We were right. So, we wondered if we should stay away from "Soft Swingers" and stick to our own kind? We needed to know more.

So, what is Soft Swinging?

As we researched and met others online and we found that soft swinging basically was, "NO Intercourse with Other Partners". What fun is that? Then it got a little interesting. We also found out there are three (3) types of soft swinging; Watching, Oral Swapping, and Girl Play. All three seem to fulfill our tastes at times. Once you understand that there are several different styles of swinging which you may see in the swinging community. Some people may prefer not to be around when their partner is having sex with someone else, while others may insist upon it. The term "soft swinging" refers to trading partners just for the purposes of heavy petting and then switching back to one's primary partner for any actual sex. It might be valuable for you to think about whether there are any potential situations that you feel you would be more or less comfortable in, and discuss these with your partner. Because, it's really about being comfortable in whatever situation you and your partner decide upon. The Soft Social Butterfly Effect It's important to keep in mind, that swinging is primarily a form of recreational social sex between consenting adults, with an objective to maintain ongoing intimate friendships. The custom of meeting people isn't really that different than at any other type of social event or gathering and the process by which acquaintances become close friends is not that different either. The key social traits that tend to be appreciated in the swinging community are responsibility, friendliness, flirtatiousness, open-mindedness, and most importantly stability with regards to one's primary relationship.

One difficulty some have with soft swinging is the effect it has on couple-to-couple relationships. One of the greatest rewards of swinging is the friendships that develop between couples. Personally to us, that is key! Now, factor in the strength and longevity of these friendships, causing the lack of sexual tension between couples. People who have swung together have "been there, done that," allowing everyone to feel less threatened and much closer to each other. Soft swinging actually has the opposite effect; it increases the level of sexual tension to the point that everyone has to be constantly on alert for violations of "the rules." This makes comfortable friendships almost impossible over the long term. And full swap couples tend to be less interested in making friendships with soft swingers. One of the biggest problems we have seen with soft swinging is that the prohibited easily becomes the desired. The have your cake and eat it too syndrome. The more one tries to avoid something, the more it lingers on ones' mind. As a couple continues to participate in soft swinging, they may tend to become more fixated on the very idea of penetration. As a result, intercourse is given far more importance than it deserves. And that is dangerous to a relationship.

And In The End...

Many couples jump right in and enjoy unrestricted swinging from their very first encounter. Others take their time, "getting their feet wet". Either approach is acceptable. We both firmly believe that swinging can strengthen and enhance a marriage; but "soft swinging," over the long run, has the contrary effect. Overly, the friendships you make are what's important. We stand by that. If I could quote The Beatles, "The love you make is equal to the love you take". Great advice.

John St. John is a free-lance writer. Write to him at: stjohnsoasis@aol.com