Watch some 50's or even 60's movies and you would think that the only meaning of the
word swinging was being lively or trendy. The same goes for the lyrics of many songs
that were written before the 70's.
How the word actually took on its most commonly used modern day meaning is difficult to say, although it seems to have originated in the U.S.A. as early as the 1950's. One of the earliest records of a swingers organisation was "The Sexual Freedom League" which was set up in California in 1963.
By the 1970's the use of the word swinging meaning, non-monogamous sexual activity, had spread to the U.K., although the term "Wife Swapping" was more commonly used. This probably came about because the British style of swinging was neighbourhood based where married couples in a small local community would get together for regular swinger parties. Wife Swapping is a term that continues to be used by the tabloid press even today but swingers have long since decided that it is both an inaccurate and derogatory description of their activities which denigrates women to the status of a possession that can be swapped at the husband's will.
By the 1990's swinging had become quite an organised activity on both sides of the Atlantic.
Many clubs whose aims were to put swingers in contact with one another were in existence by
the middle part of the decade and there were several which went a stage further by offering
premises at which swingers could not only meet but also hold swinging parties.
In Britain, clubs like Club-Aphrodite created nationwide networks of swingers with regular parties for their members to attend all over the country. On the continent, purpose designed swinger club venues were springing up offering excellent facilities to party, relax and socialise in. Unlike the experience of those who tried to create similar clubs in Britain, the ones in countries like Holland and Germany had the full backing of the local authority and operated totally within the legal system.
The birth and rapid development of the Internet opened up new possibilities for swingers in the 21st century. Swinger dating sites were still a rarity as late as 2003 but by 2005 there were so many that the word swinging almost became synonymous with Internet Swinger Sites. Despite this proliferation of opportunities for swingers and the hi-tech facilities it offered for locating like-minded people, the reality is that they have done little to increase the amount of swinging that goes on. The most likely reason for this would appear to be that the swinging lifestyle is something that many people may find appealing at a fantasy level but shy away from when the prospect of acting out their fantasy is offered. In 2008 this factor leaves many online only swinger sites with a problem from having too many fantasists wasting the time of genuine swingers.
Swinging has clearly come a long way since the 50s but some would argue that it has much further to go. They prophesise a future where monogamous sex will be a thing of the past and human beings will properly recognise the distinction between love and sex, understanding that happy love relationships can naturally co-exist with free recreational sex.