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The Definitive Glossary of Swinger Terminology

Updated: Oct 21, 2023

Navigating the world of swinging involves more than just an open mind and a sense of adventure; it also requires a specific vocabulary to ensure you're communicating clearly with like-minded individuals. Whether you're a seasoned couple or a newcomer to the swinging scene, understanding the language is crucial to fully enjoying your experiences and avoiding any misunderstandings or uncomfortable situations.


The lifestyle has its own unique set of terms, jargon, and acronyms that can seem like a foreign language at first. These terms cover a wide range of activities, preferences, and etiquettes that you'll encounter, from defining types of swingers ("unicorns," "hotwives," etc.) to specific activities ("soft swap," "full swap") and designated areas within adults-only events or resorts ("play areas," for example).


This definitive glossary of swinger terminology aims to demystify the lingo, offering clear and concise definitions to help you converse comfortably and confidently as you venture into this exhilarating lifestyle. Armed with this knowledge, you'll be better equipped to explore, negotiate, and revel in your swinging experiences.


BDSM

An acronym that stands for Bondage, Discipline, Dominance, Submission, Sadism, and Masochism. It's a broad range of sexual practices involving power dynamics, role-playing, and various types of restraint or sensory stimulation.


BAREBACK

Slang for sexual intercourse without using a condom.


BISEXUAL

A person who is sexually attracted to or sexually active with partners of both sexes, male and female.


BI-CURIOUS

A male or female who is interested in trying same-sex activities.


BULL

In the context of a "cuckold" relationship, a bull is the man who engages in sexual activities with a "hotwife," while her husband watches or is aware. The bull is often more sexually dominant and may play into the humiliation or submissiveness of the husband.


CLOSED DOOR/CLOSED SWINGING

This involves swapping partners but engaging in sexual activities in separate spaces or rooms. It provides a level of privacy and can be a good option for couples who are new to swinging or prefer not to witness their partner with someone else.


CLOSED-GROUP SWINGING

Closed-group swinging is a form of swinging that involves participants having multiple sexual partners who are all within a specific group of people. A common example of closed-group swinging is when couples who are friends regularly switch partners but don’t typically swing with others.


COMPERSION

A term often used within polyamorous and swinging communities, compersion describes the joy one feels when one partner experiences pleasure or happiness with another person. It's essentially the opposite of jealousy.


CONSENT

An explicit agreement by all parties involved to engage in a particular sexual activity. For swinging and BDSM communities, consent is paramount and usually involves ongoing communication to ensure everyone is comfortable


CUCKOLD

This refers to a man who takes pleasure in watching his wife or partner engage in sexual activity with another man. The emotional elements often play a significant role, including aspects of humiliation, submission, or the enjoyment of the wife's pleasure (sometimes referred to as 'compersion').


DOMINANT

A sexual partner in control of a willing submissive partner.


ETHICAL NON-MONOGAMY/CONSENSUAL NON-MONOGAMY

A broad umbrella term for someone who has any type of sexual or romantic relationship with more than one person without keeping it a secret from any of them. The degree to which they are forthright about the details with each of their partners (in terms of the identity, gender, sexual activity, or length of relationship) is not of concern – just the general understanding that each partner consents to a relationship with someone who is not being exclusive in every way to them.


DTF

The acronym stands for “Down to F**k! Some couples just put it out there to convey that this is what they want to do, plain and simple. Don’t waste their time with idle chit-chat because they want to get the party started. Now!


EXHIBITIONISM

The desire to be watched by others while engaging in sexual activities. Exhibitionists derive pleasure from being observed, and this is often accommodated in the swinging and BDSM communities where consent is a key factor.


FETISH

Sexual arousal and pleasure through the use of non-sexual objects, actions, or non-genital anatomy.


FMF

The acronym – along with FFM – describes the gender composition of threesomes. FMF stands for Female-Male-Female while FFM is Female-Female-Male. The difference is slight and many people use them interchangeably. The order of the letters usually indicates the interaction focus, and whether the females are bi-sexual. e.g., in FMF, the male is typically the center of attention.


FOURSOME

A foursome – when not in relation to a group of four golfers – refers to group sex between four people of any combination of sex or gender. All four may be single, or the situation may involve two couples that identify as swingers.


FULL SWAP

A full swap involves swapping partners for sexual intercourse. It's the most comprehensive form of partner-swapping in the swinging lifestyle and usually requires a high level of trust and established boundaries between all parties involved.


GANG BANG

A gang bang is a situation in which several people engage in physical sexual activity with one specific individual sequentially or at the same time. A common scenario is a group of men having sex with one woman.

GROUP SEX

Sexual activity between three or more people, in recent times, it’s replaced the somewhat antiquated term, orgy.


HALL PASS

A hall pass is permission from one's primary partner to engage in sexual activities with someone else outside of the couple’s shared experiences. It’s a temporary agreement and can be a one-time thing or occur multiple times, depending on the couple’s arrangement.


HOTWIFE

In the swinging lifestyle, a hotwife is a married woman who has the freedom and encouragement from her husband to have sexual relations with other men. The husband may or may not be present during these encounters and may derive pleasure from the experience as a form of voyeurism or "cuckolding."


HOUSE PARTY

In swinging terminology, a house party refers to a non-commercial gathering at someone's home where multiple people engage in swinging activities. It's usually more intimate and less structured than a swingers' club event.


HUNG

Refers to a man with a large penis.


HWP

Height-Weight Proportionate; Someone who is at their ideal body weight.


KEY PARTY

A couples party where all of the men put their car keys into a bowl or bag and at the end of the party, the women blindly select a set of keys to determine who she goes home with. Popular in 1970s, the "key party" became a phenomenon among swinging couples. Interest piqued again when it wa