His Wisdom for Her World

The Secret Lives of Christian Swingers

By on September 19, 2013 in Marriage with 9 Comments

A few years ago, the Ashley Madison website made waves through the Christian community.  The site told people that having an affair would, in fact, be good for a marriage rather than harmful.  Most who spoke against it talked about the sometimes-irreparable damage it would cause on marriages.  But, one of the questions that started surfacing out of the discussion on adultery was, “What is okay to do sexually within a marriage?

Since the advent of this question, there has been a growing belief in the Christian community that if both parties within a marriage agree and participate, then anything goes. That is, if one spouse shares a fantasy with the other, and both parties are game, then it is okay to play that out, regardless of what it is or who it involves. The end goal of participating in these sexual behaviors is ultimately to enhance the relationship.

Enter, “Christian Swinging.” Yes, you read that correctly. Christian Swinging. With taglines like, “Meet local Christian swingers who believe that an open and honest relationship with each other will keep any marriage fresh and exciting,” websites are popping up to help Christian couples meet other Christian couples for the purpose of swinging.

The Discovery Fit and Health Channel has recently premiered a new reality show titled “Secret Sex Lives: Swingers.” The couples featured on the show were recently interviewed for a segment of the Today Show with Kathy Lee and Hoda. (You might be surprised to learn that one of the participants was raised a Southern Baptist.) What is swinging? Based on the “Swinger Dictionary” that Discovery Fit and Health provides its viewers, swinging is  “nonmonogamous behavior in which singles or partners in a committed relationship engage in sexual activities with others as a recreational or social activity.” Swingers are quick to point out that, unlike polyamory, swinging is not about relationship but is strictly sexual. And with TV shows and websites dedicated to popularizing and facilitating it, open marriages have never been more out in the open.

So is it still adultery if it’s mutual?

Is it so wrong if both marriage partners are aware and agree? While the “anything goes” mindset might sound like the latest way to spice up your marriage, this reasoning couldn’t be more faulty, damaging, and unbiblical. 

The sexual act is meant to be a monogamous experience, between one man and one woman, within the marriage context (Gen 2:24-25). Believing that the relationship will be enhanced by anything other or in addition to that is an all out lie by the Evil One himself. Bringing another person into the sexual relationship, even if it is seen as “strictly sexual,” is contrary to God’s design (Heb 13:4). Whether the person is real or fictional, depicted on a screen, in your mind, or in the room itself, there is never a place to justify a third, or fourth, or more.

Even beyond the marital commitment between a man and woman, God designed sex to be a relationship that unites persons made in the image of God. Daniel Heimbach reminds us in True Sexual Morality, that, from the very beginning, God created man and woman as His image bearers and that there is an “obvious link between bearing God’s image and how He intended that we use the gift of sex. How we behave sexually has to be consistent with what it means to bear God’s image.”1

If you are a married believer, it may be easy to assess quick judgment on Christian swingers. But, swinging is just one more notch on the sexual immorality ladder that our culture has been on for some time.  Pornography, erotica, adultery, homosexuality, emotional adultery, and fantasy have all had their claws in many marriages today, convincing them of the same lie . . . “But, it’s good for our relationship.”

Every one of us has to constantly remain on guard.

Let me encourage you and your spouse to take some time tonight and just check in with each other.  Where does your marriage stand in its sexual purity?

  • Have both of you protected your sexual relationship from including another person be it either by mental fantasy, pornography, or inappropriate relationships?
  • Do you both view sex as a way to build relational intimacy that far exceeds physical pleasure?
  • Is the sexual relationship between the two of you intimate and spiritual rather than a shallow physical act?
  • Do you both view the sexual act as part of  “becoming one flesh” and a gift God gives to a husband and wife, to be shared only between the two?

You may not be a swinger, but neither can you assume that your marriage is immune from succumbing to the lie that an illicit sexual relationship is good for your marriage.  If you struggled to affirm any of the above statements, God provides a way of redemption. Let today be the day that you turn the other direction and run to Christ. Let today be the day and your spouse commit to protecting the gift of a sexual relationship God has given your marriage.

Sex is good, beautiful, satisfying, and intimate. It provides relational depth, is wonderful in every detail, and truly brings glory to God if we understand and embrace it the way God designed it.

1 Daniel Heimbach, True Sexual Morality: Recovering Biblical Standards for a Culture in Crisis, Wheaton:  Crossway, 2004, p155.

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  1. Terry says:

    Great article! We Christian women cannot be the proverbial ostriches burying our heads in the sand. This is happening to women we know and for whom we care. One of my relatives and a close friend have both encountered this issue–both are Christians and both propositions were from Christian men. This article helps us to not only be aware of this behavior but also to be aware of our own vulnerabilities. Thank you for this timely message!

  2. Scot Cross says:

    The scriptures referenced seem to bear no relevance to the statements they are obviously supposed to support.
    Would greatly appreciate some clarification here and use of relevant and appropriate supporting scriptural references.

  3. Liz says:

    Woman and men who swing, are spiritually sick. They abide in lies from the devil. They may quote scripture, and claim it – without any conscience in a sociopathic type of way, but they abide in the mockery of christ. It is better they depart from the faith… than stain it with evil. These are the same women who use men for money, divorce and remarry also forbidden for christian women and do all other things under the sun – living in a world of deception

  4. adam says:

    I have been searching for answers as to why swinging is bad for a Christian relationship.

    this article is depressing for me because it did not answer any questions with logic.

    as long as birth control is used in both people in the couple remain committed, there is no possible injury to the relationship or that couple’s relationship with God. have yet to hear a single piece of rationale against it. it makes as much sense as being told not to wear polkadots on Tuesday.

    • Carolyn says:

      Hebrews says to keep the marriage bed pure. Even if both agree it just isn’t healthy. It can open the door to soon many insecurities and jealousies.

  5. adam says:

    I would be interested in more logical and rational reasons for Christians not swinging. i’m speaking sincerely here.

  6. Ken Smith says:

    My wife has a significant illness of 32 years one of rare affects of this illness is changes in the brain that make promiscuity and outside of the norm sexual desires that become overwhelming. This changed my wife. She is a devout Christian in every other way conceivable. She strayed outside of our marriage even seeking satisfaction with other women. She was working at a place where nearly every woman was a lesbian. She hid it from me for years. Her Christian faith hid it from me. When it finally came out I understood, after some reading on the subject of her illness, Parkinson’s disease and found out this not uncommon at all. I would have a hard time judging or condemning her as the rest of her life is spotless as far as i can see. She said she still struggles with it. She has included me in this of late It still revolves around her needs and I am glad that she finds some satisfaction and joy escaping from this awful and progressive illness, even if it just for a brief time.
    He who is without sin cast the first stone. I say that in love and if you would like to share your thoughts and comments with me I would read them all.

  7. Nate says:

    I am a christian and I have had sex with another man’s wife.Guess what?They were Christians too.The man was OK with it.I respect that’s his wife,and he has no problem letting me because they have a great relationship with God and each other.If a man allows his wife to have sex with his friend,it’s not adultery.

  8. malaika says:

    swinging is adultery, and the bible clearly speaks against adultery. there are multiple verses on it.The ten commandments too.I genuinely don’t know what verses you are looking for.one that specifically says do no swing as a you will certainly not find that one lol.but it’s the concept of adultery and sexual impurity that you will find.saying that because both parties are aware the situation is not adultery is absurb ,sorry to say..just because both unmarried people consent to having sex doesn’t make it any less than phonication (same concept).sex is a physical and spiritual activity meant to be shared with one,regardless of how casual we want to make it,bonds are formed with whoever we engage in the sexual act with.why should we put such a strain on our marriage.emotional distress and guilt that’s followed isn’t even worth it.the Bible won’t give us specific verses with the specific terms we want however we can grasp what is required from us by the many alternative words it provides.e.g it doesn’t say don’t swing,however it says don’t commit adultery.

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