Sunday, January 22, 2006

The Lifestyle: Swinging in America (2000)- Documentary

This film has received significant press reviews in the commercial newspapers. Some reviews note that the documentary portrays swingers as “often times lonely people that value their marriage relationships, people who are oftentimes overweight and oftentimes over 50.” It is for these reasons that I recommend this film, particularly for couples considering the lifestyle.

The fact that people are taken back with how average and flawed swingers are, reflect more on our notions of sexuality than on this alternative lifestyle. We, of course, see HBO specials and PLAYBOY Channel specials where young models romp from “group sex room” to “group sex room” at swinging resorts. However, I think the source for the misconception about the swinging lifestyle is not from media coverage but from our own “heads”. Rather that this being a group of beautiful self-actualized people, it turns out these are people who simple enjoy a variety in sex partners and also tend to be older. In our “heads” we struggle to understand sex with older, not so beautiful, people.

The film is not erotic. If anything it inaccurately minimizes the erotic pleasure couples gain from swinging. However, it does tell real stories of couples through an interview format over a 16-month period. The film shows some couples that report their relationships were hurt by swinging. The film then shows other couples that report their marriages were saved by swinging. Some couples thoroughly enjoy their new freedom to be nude, erotic and very sexual with others without threatening their marriages. Other couples are visibly disturbed when faced with the reality of watching their marriage partner sexually intimate with another. To this end, the film accurate reflects this lifestyle.

Emily and I have been active in this lifestyle for over 15 years. We have gained wonderful life long friends. Oh.., and by the way, the sex has been good too.

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