How Common Is Swinging? [2022 Statistics, Facts & Figures]

In this article, we’ve uncovered ALL the facts and statistics about how common swinging is: why couples do it, the risks, and what people think about it.

how common is swinging

Swinging is a lifestyle among couples who swap sexual partners frequently, often engaging with multiple different partners throughout the course of a year. It’s a practice that is often frowned upon by monogamous couples, but most swingers seem happy with their choices.

In this article, we look at the stats on how common swinging is in America and around the world, how often people swing, their reasoning, and more.

Top Swinging Statistics You Should Know:

  • 2.35% of Americans self-identified as swingers in 2018.
  • 62.6% of all swingers were happier after swinging.
  • 90.4% of unhappy swingers are happier after swinging.
  • Up to 55% of older swingers have an STI.
  • 72.4% of swingers find others on internet swing sites.
  • 52.9% of swingers say sexual variety was a very important reason for swinging.

How Common Is It to Swing in America?

Swinging remains relatively uncommon based on these statistics:

  • 2.35% of Americans self-identified as swingers in 2018.
    •  4.76% had identified as swingers at some point in their lifetime.
    • (Sexualities, 2018)1
  • Conservatively 2.5 million couples exchange partners and/or swing on a somewhat regular basis (three or more times a year).
    • (“Swap Clubs” by Breedlove, William, and Jerrye, 1964)2

Is it Common for Couples to Swing in America?

While consistent swingers are relatively uncommon, there is a larger (and growing) group of people who have tried swinging at some point:

  • Between 2%-10% of American married couples have done something that could be called swinging. 
    • That amounts to about 1.1 million couples, and the North American Swing Club Association says these numbers are rising.
    • (NBC News, 2004)3
  • One study estimates that 8 million couples regularly engaged in swinging.
    • Of those, less than 4% or almost 70,000 couples replied to or placed advertisements as swinging couples.
    • (“Swap Clubs” by Breedlove, William, and Jerrye, 1964)2

Effects of Swinging on Relationship

One of the most common concerns when it comes to swinging is the potential negative effects that might happen to the relationship as a result. However, overall many swingers report being happier than the average couple:

  • “Being with other people in a nonexclusive sexual experience can heighten the attraction to one another. Although that may seem paradoxical, the intensity and the eroticism can add an element of aliveness to the commitment.”
    • (Tammy Nelson, PhD, 2019)4
  • In a survey, swingers reported on their marital happiness/happiness in a relationship:
    • Swingers:
      • 78.5% – “Very Happy”
      • 21.5% – “Pretty Happy” or “Not Too Happy”
    • General public:
      • 64.5% – “Very Happy”
      • 36.5% – “Pretty Happy” or “Not Too Happy”
    • (Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality, 2000a)5
  • In an assessment of Swingers’ happiness with their relationships before and after swinging:
    • Total:
      • 62.6% of swingers were happier after swinging
      • 35.6% said their relationships stayed about the same after swinging
      • 1.7% said they became less happy after swinging
    • Very happy before swinging:
      • 49.7% of swingers are happier after swinging.
      • 48.3% said their relationships stayed about the same after swinging.
      • 1.9% said they became less happy after swinging.
    • Somewhat happy before swinging:
      • 69.6% of swingers are happier after swinging.
      • 28.8% said their relationships stayed about the same after swinging.
      • 1.6% said they became less happy after swinging.
    • Somewhat unhappy before swinging:
      • 81.1% of swingers are happier after swinging.
      • 16.2% said their relationships stayed about the same after swinging.
      • 2.7% said they became less happy after swinging.
    • Unhappy before swinging:
      • 90.4% of swingers are happier after swinging.
      • 8.8% said their relationships stayed about the same after swinging.
      • 0.7% said they became less happy after swinging.
    • (Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality, 2000b)6
  • On Jealousy:
    • 67.8% of swingers said that jealousy was not a problem.
    • 26.1% of swingers say they had somewhat of a problem controlling jealousy.
    • 6.1% of swingers had a lot of difficulties controlling jealousy.
    • (Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality, 2000c)7
  • Strength of swinging relationships:
    • Men and women who swing may have some important mental health strengths. 
      • Swingers have less fear than monogamous couples and cheat less.
      • Swinging couples are often deeply in love and emotionally connected to each other. 
      • Swingers are often less judgmental of couples who live a monogamous lifestyle.
    • (Seth Meyers Psy.D. of Psychology Today, 2012)8

Different Types of Swingers

Swingers aren’t always fully engaging in sex with other couples. Many participate in what’s called a ‘soft swap’:

  • “There are a few types of swingers, but the biggest differentiator is between a ‘soft swap’ and ‘full swap,’”
    • A soft swap is when a couple doesn’t have penetrative sex with others, whereas full swapping includes penetrative sex of some kind.
    • (Daniel Saynt, 2020)9

How Do Swingers Meet Each Other in America?

Is there a code or some kind of clue that swingers use to find each other? It turns out it’s a bit more mundane than that – most just use the internet. Here’s what the stats say: 

Note that the values below do not represent absolute frequency for any one category. Participants in this study were able to choose one or several categories.

  • Swingers were asked, “how do you find other swingers?”:
    • 72.4%: Internet swing sites
    • 43.9%: Swinging social clubs 
    • 41.5%: Private parties
    • 41.1%: Other swingers
    • 5.5%: Swinging newspapers or magazines
    • 19.6%: Other
    • (Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality, 2009a)10

How Long and How Often Do Most Swingers Engage in Swinging Activities?

According to the data, most swingers engage in swinging multiple times per year:

When asked, “How long have you and your partner been engaged in swinging activities?” by gender:

  • Male
    • 14.8%: Less than 1 year
    • 28.1%: 1 to 3 years 
    • 29.1%: 4 to 7 years 
    • 9.3%: 8 to 12 years
    • 9.1%: Over 12 years
  • Female
    • 15.0%: Less than 1 year
    • 34.7%: 1 to 3 years
    • 27.0%: 4 to 7 years
    • 14.4%: 8 to 12 years
    • 7.1%: Over 12 years

(Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality, 2009b)11


Swingers on their swinging activity frequency by gender:

  • Male
    • 5.3%: “Once a year”
    • 23.2%: “2 – 4 times a year”
    • 27.4%: “4 – 6 times a year”
    • 20.3%: “Once a month”
    • 12.8%: “More than once a month”
    • 2.9%: “Once a week”
    • 4.1%: “Less than once a year”
    • 4.1%: “I have only done it once”
  • Female
    • 2.5%: “Once a year”
    • 2.01%: “2 – 4 times a year”
    • 23.5%: “4 – 6 times a year”
    • 22.6%: “Once a month”
    • 21.7%: “More than once a month”
    • 4.6%: “Once a week”
    • 1.2%: “Less than once a year”
    • 3.7%: “I have only done it once”

(Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality, 2009c)12


Why Do Couples Swing?

Most swingers say that they engage in swinging for sexual variety, but many also do it for social reasons:

  • 52.9% of swingers say sexual variety was a very important reason for swinging.
  • 35.4% of swingers say making friends was a very important reason.

(Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality, 2000d)13


Is Swinging Widely Acceptable?

While swingers are generally happy with their relationships and choices, many Americans generally look poorly on swinging, according to this GSS data:

  • When asked their opinion about a married person having sexual relations with someone other than the marriage partner:
    • 62.91%: Always wrong
    • 22.87%: Almost Always wrong
    • 10.26%: Sometimes wrong
    • 3.96%: Not wrong at all
    • (GSS, 2021)14

Note that the question of this survey does not give survey participants any indication about whether these sexual relations were agreed on by both partners, which is generally the case with swingers. This may have skewed results somewhat. 


Risk of STIs Among Swingers

One of the potential risks of having multiple sexual partners is increased exposure to STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections/diseases). In swingers, STIs are fairly common, especially if they’ve been swinging for an extended period of time: 

  • Overall, STI prevalence is highest in young people, homosexual men, and swingers.
    • Up to 10% of older swingers have Chlamydia trachomatis
    • Up to 4% of older swingers have Neisseria gonorrhoeae.
    • (HAL, 2011)15
  • Up to 55% of older swingers have an STI.
    • (HAL, 2011)15
  • STI History among Non-monogamous individuals, including swingers:
    • 77.5% Said they had ever been tested for STIs
    • 20.1% Said they had ever been diagnosed with an STI. Of those:
      • 10.2% – Positive test for chlamydia
      • 1.1% – Positive test for gonorrhea
      • 1.1% – Positive test for syphilis
      • 3.2% – Positive test for herpes
      • 1.1% – Positive test for hepatitis
      • 2.2% – Positive test for trichomoniasis
      • 7.0% – Positive test for HPV
      • 0.5% – Positive test for HIV
    • (Journal of Sexual Medicine, 2015)16

Which Country Is Swinging Most Popular?

While there are many swingers in the US, swinging is also very popular across Europe: 

Top US cities with the most swingers during the pandemic:

  • New York — 22,874 swingers
  • Los Angeles — 12,228 swingers
  • Houston — 9,068 swingers
  • Chicago — 7,347 swingers
  • Las Vegas — 5,744 swingers
  • San Antonio — 5,375 swingers
  • Philadelphia — 4,894 swingers
  • Phoenix — 4,606 swingers
  • Dallas — 4,509 swingers
  • San Diego — 4,251 swingers

(PRNewsWire, 2020)17


Countries with many swinging clubs: 

  • Rank 1: United States
  • Rank 2: Germany
  • Rank 3: United Kingdom
  • Rank 4: Canada
  • Rank 5: Brazil
  • Rank 6: Finland
  • Rank 7: Thailand
  • Rank 8: Netherlands
  • Rank 9: Spain
  • Rank 10: Mexico

(WorldHookupGuides, unspecified)18

Note: These countries are rated as the “Easiest countries to get laid,” all of which have many popular swinging/lifestyle clubs.


Top 10 European countries ranked by percentage of couples who swing:

  • France: 33.8%
  • Norway: 31.5%
  • Netherlands: 26.8%
  • Denmark: 27.5%
  • Finland: 26.7%
  • Belgium: 25.2%
  • Ireland: 25.0%
  • Sweden: 23.8%
  • UK: 22.2%
  • Spain: 20.2%

(VictoriaMilan, 2017)19


Conclusion

Even though many people who don’t engage in swinging look down on the practice, it seems like most swingers love the lifestyle and wouldn’t have it any other way! Research also seems to indicate that swinging couples are, in some cases, more dedicated to each other than monogamous couples – which seems counterintuitive. Still, dedication doesn’t always have to be sexual in nature.

Footnotes

  1. Sexualities, 2018. A study of 972 American respondents
  2. “Swap Clubs” by Breedlove, William, and Jerrye, 1964. Cited on page 95.
  3. NBC News, 2004.
  4. Tammy Nelson, PhD, 2019. Author of The New Monogamy in a 2019 article.
  5. Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality, 2000a. A study of 1,092 Americans who are swingers – Table 14.
  6. Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality, 2000b. A study of 1,092 Americans who are swingers – Table 15.
  7. Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality, 2000c. A study of 1,092 Americans who are swingers – Table 17.
  8. Seth Meyers Psy.D. of Psychology Today, 2012.
  9. Daniel Saynt, 2020. Founder and chief conspirator of The New Society for Wellness, a private members club for the adventurous, in a 2020 Men’s Health article.
  10. Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality, 2009a. A study of 1,376 American respondents. In Table G17.
  11. Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality, 2009b. A study of 1,376 American respondents. In Table G12.
  12. Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality, 2009c. A study of 1,376 American respondents. In Table G14.
  13. Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality, 2000d. A study of 1,092 Americans who are swingers – Table 18 and Table 19.
  14. GSS, 2021. Data of 4,032 American respondents by the GSS.
  15. HAL, 2011. A study of 8,971 Dutch participants.
  16. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 2015. A study of 556 American participants.
  17. PRNewsWire, 2020. A report of 721,927 American swingers (users) by 3Fun
  18. WorldHookupGuides, unspecified.
  19. VictoriaMilan, 2017. A survey of 4,907 Europeans by VictoriaMilan, a dating website for married and attached people looking to have an affair.
Dainis Graveris

Dainis Graveris

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