Eyes Wide Open- What Swing Clubs are Really Like

In Stanley Kubrick’s final film, Eyes Wide Shut, made in 1999, the main character sneaks into a sex club. Inside a large mansion, willing women service masked men in an anonymous frenzy of bizarre ritualized sexual activity. The women are all prostitutes. It is very much a male fantasy, and more to the point, that is all it is- a fantasy.

There are real sex clubs, but they are nothing like that envisioned in this movie. I happen to know a lot about sex cubs. Besides having been to an awful lot of them, I have been on the board of advisors for one of the largest swing clubs in the United States, and on the board of advisors for a clothing optional resort that allowed open sexuality. I can give you the real scoop.

First of all, and this is the coolest part, you don’t have to be some super rich gazillionaire who just happens to know about a secret sex club. There are lots of them, they are not all that secret, and most are not even very expensive.

The first thing to know about sex clubs is that they all have the same basic rule. Every act must be consensual, and no means no. Women are there as participants, not whores. Sluts, maybe, but not whores. The adolescent male fantasy of a club where you just stick it in any nearby woman is just that.

There are different types of sex clubs. Jack and Jill clubs are designed for public masturbation. There are not a lot of clubs of this type (we only know of one active one), but they do provide an outlet for practices that are certainly considered safe sex.

The most common type of sex club is a swing club. Off-premise swing clubs offer a meeting place only. You have to get a hotel room or find some other venue for actually having sex, as these clubs are considered public events, and usually have very strict rules about what you can do. They typically offer either a bar environment or a dance social.

On-premise swing clubs have facilities with areas where you can go and have sex. These can be anything from private rooms with beds to padded cubbies. They range from someone’s home to grand buildings with nightclub-like facilities, and some even have extensive grounds.

On-premise and off-premise clubs that cater to swingers are in or near most any major city in the U.S. The bad news for single guys is that at most of them, you are not welcome. By and large, swinging is a couples activity. Not that you have to play as a couple, but you do need to get in as a couple. The few places that allow singles usually restrict the areas you can go into, and the chances of you getting lucky are usually pretty low. It does happen, and for voyeuristic appeal, swing clubs are pretty incredible.

In most cases, you need to contact the club ahead of time to make reservations, and they usually want to talk to you as a couple. First timers also are typically required to come a little early for an orientation. The entry fees typically range from between $40 to $100 for a couple. Some clubs with special amenities can be significantly more expensive.


What to Expect at a Swing Club

What can you expect at a swing club? There is often a dance floor where the dancing gets pretty wild. Most of the sex takes place in private party rooms or group rooms, but activities sometimes spill out into the Jacuzzi and other areas. Some of the bigger clubs have dining rooms and serve full meals. Usually, there is a living room type area that is pretty low key for relaxing, socializing and recovering.

How do you get someone to have sex with you? You just ask. In most cases, you need to talk to them some first, and this is the process where you flirt and find out if they are interested. It is also the time when you may learn some things about the way they play.

In most swing club situations people play couple to couple, meaning that one couples goes off to play with another couple. Yes in clubs where there are regulars and the couple knows lots of people there, you do see one person go off with another for a little private play, but that is because they know that their partner knows enough people there that they will not be left alone. For newcomers, leaving your partner alone while you go off to play is not a particularly good idea.

The biggest surprise to most newcomers is how much in control women are in this situation. They usually make the decisions about sex and who they will play with. In fact, it is an environment where many women thrive. Instead of society’s usual condemnation of the power of female sexuality, being a total slut in this environment is heartily encouraged. There is an old swinger’s saying- “Men get women into swinging, but it is the woman who keeps them in it.”

Unlike what many people think, most participants don’t just jump into a big orgy pile. Swinging has a strong social aspect to it, and most people get to know their sex partners a little bit first. Not that flat out orgies don’t take place, although it is often with a group of people who already know each other well. It is not necessarily the pile of anonymous bodies it appears to be.

Most encounters are one on one or couple to couple. Threesomes are also quite popular. Female bisexuality is very common, with easily 90% of the women interested in some type of female to female play. Male bisexuality, for a variety of reasons, is taboo.

Small clubs in homes typically have bedrooms with beds, which often limits the amount of play space. Usually the crowds are smaller, which has the advantage of making it easier to meet people, but also reduces the chances you will find someone you want to play with.

Larger clubs can be a little overwhelming- there can be so many people you have no idea of where to start. That is why many of them have host couples that help newcomers meet other couples, and help them feel more comfortable and explain things.

In the bigger clubs they typically have play areas, large foam mats covered with sheets that form areas that can accommodate many people at one time. They also have cubbies, small specially built areas with mats and usually room for just a single couple or two couples. They also often have some sort of curtain for those who are not exhibitionists. Some even have theme rooms in which they have put a lot of creativity.

Yes, safe sex is strongly encouraged, although some of the more stringent safe sex activities (dental dams or condoms for oral sex) are pretty much universally ignored. Every club will have condoms readily available, but you may want to carry your preferred brand with you.

I frequently brought sex experts and educators into one of the clubs I was involved with, and they were often quite concerned that so many couples were playing without using condoms. I had to explain that for many new couples, it took a lot of time to figure out how to connect with other couples, so they played with each other. Some couples go and never play with anyone but each other. Sometimes you go and don’t find anyone you want to play with, even if you are very experienced. It is not unusual at any swing club for a lot of the people, maybe even the majority, to be having sex with the person they came with. My wife and I frequently did that, just enjoying having sex with each other in such a highly sexually charged environment.

We love going to swing clubs, and have met a lot of really wonderful people and had many exciting adventures. Even if you have no interest in having sex with anyone but your partner, they can provide both of you with a very exciting adventure.

To find a club near you, visit the North American Swing Club Association and check out their directory of swing clubs.

You can also learn more about swinging at our Erotic University Virtual Campus. Go to the Science building and visit the Sociology Department.