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My Boyfriend’s Best Friend Just Started Dating A Woman Who Openly Calls Herself A Swinger And It Makes Me Nervous (Confluence)



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Q:My boyfriend’s best friend just started dating a woman who openly calls herself a swinger. He seems very happy, in fact, happier than I’ve ever seen him in a relationship. He’s mentioned some things that make me believe they are exploring the "swinger" lifestyle together. It makes me very uncomfortable. I think it’s a cop-out and an excuse to cheat.

I know it’s not my business how they conduct themselves in their relationship. However, I am very uncomfortable being around them as a couple. Although it hasn’t happened, I’m afraid they are going to pressure us to do things with them I don’t want to do.

My boyfriend says I should talk to her and ask her any questions I have about their lifestyle. That feels really awkward to me. So, I’m asking you. Please explain why any woman would want to be a swinger and help me understand how to be "couple friends" without being "friends with benefits". .

A: It’s normal to have concern for people when you aren’t sure if they are in safe or comfortable relationships, but I don’t see a single red flag based off of this question alone. "Cheating" means that a partner is engaging in an activity that they understand is outside of the agreements of their relationship. In this case, it does not seem that either partner is lying, hiding things, feeling shame or fear about their mutually agreed-upon activities and boundaries.

You are correct that their agreements and boundaries in their relationship have nothing to do with you—unless they express interest in hooking up with you—in which case you can say, "No thank you, that’s not for me."

Non-monogamous people who engage ethically and with good intentions tend to have better communication skills regarding sex and consent, and if you’d like to learn more about how people manage these interactions, I’d read The Ethical Slut 3rd edition by Janet Hardy and Dossie Easton, or More Than Two by Rickert and Veaux. Opening Up by Tristan Taormino is also a great book.

As someone who has had some fun group sex and swapping (but not enough) it can be SO fulfilling/exciting/heart opening/thrilling/transcendent to watch a person you love pleasure another person that you care about, or find attractive. I can’t speak for your friend’s motivations, but sex can be great fun when multiple people are looking to share pleasure.

And please—if they break up (as most sexually intimate partnerships do eventually)—don’t blame swinging, unless he does. A person’s relationship ideals do not have to match your own for it to be healthy and natural.

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