Statistics demographics and size of the lifestyle swinger market

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Statistics demographics and size of the lifestyle swinger market

Hello! It is my pleasure to respond to your query about the Lifestyle Swinger Market in the United States. As requested, I have provided you with background information, the estimated market size, and all demographics and psychographics that I could find.

According to the Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality, as well as my own research, most of the research done on the swinging lifestyle was conducted in the 1960s and 1970s. There were a few other studies published in the late 1980s and 1990s. In the last few decades, very little official research into this has been conducted, with the exception of two (2) major academic studies. So, much of what I could find (research-wise) was dated, though I did find a great study published by the Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality in 2009 that we can consider among the most current resources available.

We’ll begin with some history and background on the swinging lifestyle, then move into the market size. Last, we’ll discuss the known demographics and psychographics of those who engage in this lifestyle.


HISTORY & BACKGROUND
According to the Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality (EJHS), there is no standard definition of “swinging”, though it can be defined as “a context in which married couples, or couples in committed relationships, consensually exchange partners solely for sexual purposes”. They further describe it as keeping the primary love relationship at the forefront of any encounters and maintaining emotional monogamy with the primary love interest. According to the study, in swinging, “sexual activity is considered as recreational sex only and ideally does not affect the primary relationship of the couple”.

Please note that this is different than a true “polyamorous” lifestyle, which also includes the element of multi-person monogamous love-relationships or love-relationships with multiple partners while those partners are also engaged in multiple love-relationships.

Experts believe that, in America, swinging was the natural progression of the “free love movement” started in the 19th century which became especially popular during the period between 1915 and 1925 (mostly in New York). In the years following World War II, “key clubs” developed, which started with Air Force pilots swapping wives during social events called “key parties”. In the 1950s, this concept expanded to suburban America, and more organized house parties followed, as well as suburban-based partner-swapping and/or group-sex clubs. In the 1960s/hippie era, the modern “free-love-based” swinging movement became more robust, and the first organization to recognize the movement officially was founded – the Sexual Freedom League (in Berkeley, CA). According to a study in the EJHS, “The concept of having more than one loving relationship at a time also made its debut in the sixties and may be responsible for the sexual philosophy active in many hippie communities of the time”.

In the 1970s, the term “swinging” was born, and the practice was no longer called “wife swapping”. During this era, open marriages came into quiet fashion and accepting the extra-marital adventures of one’s mate became more commonplace. The North American Swing Clubs Association was also founded, and the first anthropological study of the lifestyle was conducted by George and Nena O’Neill. In the 1980s, the term “lifestyle” was adopted by practitioners of swinging, and attitudes changed somewhat in seeing it less as a “deviant choice” and more as a “lifestyle choice”. Since then, the lifestyle has continued to evolve and grow with changing practices, unwritten concept rules, and more and more acceptance into the mainstream. According to a 2008 study conducted by The Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, most respondents (globally) stated that they engaged in swinging activities at least a few times each year.

Unfortunately, still in this day-and-age (even with its extensive history, and even though there have been cable-based reality shows on the concept for years now), there is strong social opposition in America to so-called “deviant sexual behaviors”, including those practiced freely in other cultures and societies, like the types of activities engaged in during swinging. As our society has continued to evolve and our attitudes toward sexual behaviors have opened up, awareness of this lifestyle choice has increased, and so, to a much more limited extent, has acceptance of it. We can expect to see even more openness about this lifestyle in the future as our attitudes continue to evolve.

Next, let’s take a look at the data about those practicing this lifestyle. We’ll start with some general population facts for the United States, then we’ll look at some of the other numbers we can find about lifestyle practitioners.


BY THE NUMBERS: MARKET SIZE & GROWTH POTENTIAL
Because swingers are part of average/mainstream society and cannot be distinguished from other individuals within the general population, it is nearly impossible to specifically identify the number of swingers within the entirety of the US population. The last “official count” of swingers in America was done by the Kinsey Institute (as reported by OZone), and that found that there were over four (4) million people who identified themselves as “swingers” in America. We can assume, however, that this is a low estimate based on the fact that many people who engage in lifestyle activities may not be willing to admit this identification publicly.

Since that count was done more than a half-decade ago, we can get a better idea of today’s numbers by doing a little math. If we take the estimated 4% of swingers among general population and put them against current population estimates, while assuming that percentage is static (and accurate), then we can get the most current estimates of the number of swingers in America. In 2014, the US population was 318.9 million people, with experts stating that, by the end of 2016, the US population is expected reach 322.7 million people.

322.7 million people X 4% = 12.9 million people

Our math tells us that the estimated population of swingers in America is around 13 million people today. Wow – what a change in under a decade! Other experts state that the percentage is somewhere between 2% and 25%, so the numbers could be higher or lower based on whose calculations are more accurate. With no recent official research into this market segment, our estimate here is the best we can get.

Globally, the numbers are even higher, with estimations of 50+ million people active in the swinging lifestyle all over the world.

For additional market-size information, we can look at a few other sources to extract some data that may be helpful to you in your swinger-based venture.
My findings that may be of interest to you are included below.
• AdultFriendFinder (oldest and largest swinger site on the internet) has 27+ million members; they report adding 20,000+ new members each day
Kinkiest Places in America: Roselawn, IN; New Orleans, LA; Las Vegas, NV; Hurley, WI; Atlanta, GA; New York, NY; Austin, TX; Chicago, IL; San Francisco, CA; Southern New Mexico; Southern West Virginia
• There are thousands of swinger lifestyle-related clubs, resorts, events/parties, conventions, and websites in America


In looking at all of this, we can tell that, over the years, the swinging community has grown steadily – not only because more people are becoming swingers, but also because more people are openly admitting to being part of that community, or “coming out of the lifestyle closet”, so to speak. Just as experts say there is no “true method” of knowing just how many swingers are out there, they also say that there is no way to accurately predict the growth of this market. As our nation becomes more accepting of alternative lifestyles, market growth will reflect that, but there is no way to accurately estimate any solid figure because it could go either way. For example, if we get a more conservative president in office during this next election, we could see the market either grow (because more conservatives are swingers) or shrink (because more people are going back into the swinger closet for fear of being deemed “deviant” by the mainstream). We CAN say that, if historical trends continue, we will see growth in this market.

Next, we’ll look at the specific demographics and psychographics of those involved in the swinging lifestyle. Please remember that this information is taken from the only current research available on the market, so some of the information might be a bit dated.


DEMOGRAPHICS & PSYCHOGRAPHICS
For the United States, the demographics of those in the swinging lifestyle include those listed below. Please Note: Much of this data is a decade or more old, so the market has most likely changed since the last official research was conducted.

• Mean age for swingers: 39 years (OCouples)
• Average age for women to start swinging: 31.4 years (SLS)
• Average age for men to start swinging: 35.2 years (SLS)
• More than 90% of swingers are white and middle-aged (OCouples)

• Nearly 90% of swingers are married or in a committed relationship of an average of 10.5 years long
• Fewer swinging couples get divorced (as compared to vanilla couples)

• 80% of swingers were college educated (OCouples)
• Average education level of swingers: 14.1 years (SLS)
• Swingers tend to be in white-collar professional or management positions within their professions (OCouples)
• Most swingers have higher-than-average salaries, fall into the middle- to upper-middle class (OCouples)

• Distribution of political parties in swingers (this one is debated): Some experts say swingers are equally distributed across parties, while others say that swingers are more often conservative, moderate, and Republican
• 72.1% are religiously-affiliated (compared with 61% of general US population) (SLS)


For the United States, the psychographics of those in the swinging lifestyle include:
• 78.5% of swinging couples report being happier and more satisfied with their intimate lives as compared to 64% of “vanilla” couples (SLS)
• 90.4% of those previously unhappy with their intimate lives reported an uptick in happiness with swinging (SLS)
• 49% who reported being happy with their intimate lives reported an increase in happiness when swinging was included in the relationships (EJHS)
• Swingers are more “conventional” in a social sense (EJHS)
• Swingers are more community-oriented and responsible civic citizens (EJHS)
• Those who are dissatisfied with intimate relations in their marriages show increased desire to participate in swinger activities (EJHS)
• Swingers hold family life very important in their lives (EJHS)
• Swingers highly value the companionship in their marriages (EJHS)
• Swingers are more open and honest about their sexual lives (PsyToday)
• More men than women introduced the idea of swinging into their relationships (PsyToday)
• More than 2/3 of respondents reported reaching orgasm during swinging activities, with less than 10% reporting they never reached orgasm (PsyToday)
• A large majority of swinging women considered themselves “bisexual”, and this is widely accepted within the lifestyle, while only some of the men identified with that orientation, which is discouraged in the lifestyle (PsyToday)
• Many people engage in swinging for sexual variety or meeting personal fantasies (PsyToday)

Swinging is different for each couple/person involved, with each deciding on their own sets of “rules” (what is okay, what is not okay – for them, their partners, and those with whom they engage). Some couples/people engage in full sexual play (of all types) on one end on the spectrum, while others on the other end of the spectrum are content to just attend swinger events and watch from the sidelines.

Thank you again for your question, and I hope this information gives you what you need. Please Ask Wonder again for any other questions you may have!



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