If there were A Manual for Dummies on Christian Ethics, "swinging" (a.k.a. wife-swapping) would probably be defined as "a deviant lifestyle for hell-bound perverts."
Though the new TV show Swingtown (see video clip in sidebar) portrays swinging as something that died out after the 70s, the truth is that it has simply been swept under the rug and into the closet. Swinging is now an underground movement that is very much alive and well right now today at the dawn of the 21st Century. According to NASCA (The North American Swing Club Association), right now there are well over 200 swing clubs in the US alone.
For most Christians (though certainly not all), swinging is simply a codeword for "adultery" or "fornication." Therefore, it should come as no surprise that when people like me suggest that swinging and biblical Christian ethics just might be reconcilable, we are ostracised as either a heretic, a lunatic, or both. In fact, swinging is regarded in some circles as tantamount to giving Christians a licence to go out and rob banks or murder innocent women and children. To them, the term "Christian Swinger" is an oxymoron, akin to "Christian Thief" or "Christian Hit Man." My response? To quote that Wild and Crazy Swinging Guy from the 70s, Steve Martin:
"Well, excu-u-u-se me!!!!!"
But seriously, folks, the task of persuading conservative Christians that the Holy Bible allows for swinging is a daunting undertaking indeed. Where does one begin?
For starters, we don't want to be so open-minded that our brains fall out. Translated into Christianese, the theological term for being too open-minded is "antinomian," which means "against the law" or "anything goes." Anything does not go. That's why swingers adhere to the rule "No means no." Anyone who knows anything about the Bible knows that there are sexual misdemeanors that neither the Bible, nor common sense, allow for. Of course, rape is wrong. Of course, child molestation is wrong. Duh! And no sane person wants an itchy case of crabs. Hey, I'm simply saying that swinging does not necessarily fall into that category.
None of us should have minds that are like cement - all mixed up and permanently set. Liberals call such people "right-wing conservatives" or "legalists." Meanwhile, many swingers suffer from what I call "a Dr. Pepper complex": Swinging is so misunderstood; if only those close-minded non-swingers tried it, they'd discover that it FEELS GOOD!
Or as Austin Powers said before his born-again makeover to monogamy: "Yeah, baby!"
Of course, it's not just fundamentalist Christians who don't want to engage in shagadelic smorgasbord love fests. For some, it's simply not their cup of tea. It has nothing to do with right or wrong. As one person told me, "I don't believe in God. Therefore, I certainly don't believe [as some Christians do] that swingers are all going to rot in hell. I've really got nothing against swinging, if that's what gives you the giggles. Swinging is simply not my cup of tea." For these people, to swing or not to swing is not a matter of right or wrong; it's simply a matter of preference, like choosing between black tea, oolong tea, green tea, or white tea. The point being, it's one thing to say "Swinging is not my cup of tea." It's quite another to say, "Swingers will spend their eternal existence writhing in a cauldron of boiling sulfur."
Regardless of what your current position is on this complex and highly-controversial topic, if you are a Christian (or even if you are not), you owe it to yourself and others to objectively examine all the pros and cons of both sides.
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I'll be writing more, so STAY TUNED!
Coming soon: Swingers and Christians Can Work Things Out By Talking
What swingers and their Christian critics need now is a meaningful dialogue. Please... Can we talk?