Based on an exhaustive survey into the lives of real people, Swinging in America: Love, Sex, and Marriage in the 21st Century concludes that nonmonogamous relationships such as swinging and polyamory offer a new blueprint for combining sex and love—one that may prove more in line with the way people actually live their lives in our society.
Swinging in America begins with what we know about swingers and the swinging lifestyle, based on personal narratives and over 40 years of sociological research comparing swinging and non-swinging couples on factors such as personal happiness, marital satisfaction, psychological stability, and personal values. The second half of the book explores the historical rise and contemporary decline of monocentrism—the sexually monogamous marriage as the organizing principle underlying our culture—and the implications of this decline for new nonmonogamous relationships and marriages.
Swinging in America provides informative and entertaining excerpts gleaned from questionnaires that were anonymously filled out and submitted by swingers (mostly from the U.S., although some are from Canada and the UK). Bergstrand and Sinski contend that there are two ways to study swinging: participate in the activity and give an insider’s perspective or view it from outside and, in so doing, maintain “objectivity.” The authors make it clear that they do not participate in the swinging lifestyle but, instead, are drawing on years of sociological research about this topic. The authors acknowledge that the preconceived notions the general public holds towards swingers and other individuals participating in alternative lifestyles such as open marriages, polyamory, and polyandry are that persons engaging in such practices are distasteful and undermine the traditional monogamous family unit that has been held as ideal for decades. Bergstrand and Sinski report that the key purposes of the book are to describe the swinging lifestyle for those that wish to learn more about it and to ascertain whether alternative lifestyle choices like swinging will be considered more acceptable and even ordinary in the future.
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