Swingers are married or romantically committed partners who consensually and openly have sex for fun with other couples. Sex is considered a playful, recreational activity, done with others, but with the purpose of enhancing the erotic bond of the married or partnered couple.
Swinging has informal rules, like a game, but it is also considered a form of spontaneous play—for adults. Some call it the “lifestyle,” and sociologists and investigative journalists have documented the swinging practices, people, and their locations. Swinging is quite a bit different from other consensual non-monogamous arrangements in that the couple is typically not looking for romance, emotional support, commitment, or fidelity with their serial sexual partners. Some people confuse open marriages or relationships with swinging. They are not the same thing. In open relationships, partners have sexual and sometimes romantic relationships with others independent of the couple. Some people may have heard of polyamory. Polyamory involves a complex relationship structure and style involving multiple mates. Swingers or 'lifestylers' are distinct from these, in that the swinging is a temporary activity, not an alternative relationship form or structure.
Swingers, except for their nontraditional sexual activity, maintain emotional, financial and romantic fidelity to one another, and generally, when they have sex with others, it is together, either in the same room or close by. And swingers are normal—some sociologists even assert they are quite conventional—in that their sexual activities and adventures are done with the purpose of enhancing the sexual pleasure and erotic bond of the married couple, thus, better ensuring the longevity and stability of the otherwise traditional marriage. Swingers take joy in the sexual pleasure their partner receives from others and feel that their activity enhances other aspects of their marriage or commitment to one another.