It may seem like politics has no place in swinging or the world of kink. Surely our community should transcend such issues of personal circumstance, upbringing and media forces? Surely our tribe should be stronger than our tribal allegiance to any one party or political ethos?
It might be viewed, from an outward perspective, that swingers would be left-wing liberal, hippy-types, out to bring down the moral fabric of society. Or, to those on the inside, that the world of swinging is firmly based in the conservative ethos of money making ventures, exploitation of those vulnerable to it and celebrating the luxurious high life, with high prices, elitist criteria and dress codes, and an expectation that human value and intimacy come with a hefty price tag that should be reserved for the privileged few.
Though these elements are all true, and there are certainly individuals that ascribe to the political leanings of one side or another (as well as firm supporters of parties other than the main two), there is a commonality that binds us: we are a minority.
Are we really a genuine minority? No. Almost everyone in society has tinkered with various forms of non-monogamy, sexual exploration and letting their mysterious id out to see what it’s capable of. Where there is a difference is in how honest we are about it. Those who are open, merge their lives and sexualities and ask to be accepted for their whole, true self are still on the fringes, inviting ostracism and ridicule. Who are we then? Let’s examine some of the people I know (for sure) who swing:
With such an array of ages, incomes and backgrounds, it seems like the swing world should be a utopia of understanding, bringing us together as humans at the most basic level. In some ways it is, or it can be.
In others we simply abandon our day-to-day selves at the door, and go on mistrusting each other’s stereotypes when we leave, if we ever even look deeper than the sparkling, animalistic versions we trot out to play at the weekend.
Ultimately, why do we hate each other in theory, but not in practice?
Because we are divided by that which we are told we ought to think at every turn, in every subtle way? Because we are made to fear and blame each other?
Some may say that swinging and kink should be apolitical, or even to transcend politics, but the reality is that it doesn’t. As much as we like to imagine a fantasy world removed from all such unpleasantness, the macrocosm is recreated in the microcosm. Every time we make a judgement over who to invite, who to play with at an event, who to make our friends and social circle within the scene, who is of enough value to class as a party partner, we build little empires of exclusion, bias and political schmoozing. In our tiny, small world, we accept and recreate the very monsters outside that we first sought to escape. Sometimes we become them.
How is swinging and kink political?
Because we are viewed as a hidden minority, to be mocked, misrepresented and jeered at by the media. By the very journalists, media moguls and politicians who join us and do the same thing. Why? Because people who are divided are easy to control. Because we are non-conformist. Because picking out in a crowd who is queer-identifying versus kink-identifying is often a tough call (and indeed plenty of people are both). Because as long as a finger is pointed at someone- anyone- to blame and attack, the status quo for society, however benevolent or malevolent, can be maintained.
There are no statistics for prejudice against swingers by party, or charts in the media about attacks (unless we count ourselves somewhere within the LGBTQIA+ hate crime statistics- which have certainly been on the rise in recent years). There are no kinkster polls. No Minister for BDSM. No policies suggested to promote equality (unless we take Boris at his word about marriage between three men and a dog). That is not to say we have it tough compared to many – just that those ‘many’ who face discrimination in all forms also make up our own people. What we do have is a responsibility, in this little world of our own creation, to make things better than the wider world we are sheltering from- and to take this spirit back out into it.
With this in mind, I’ve created a little montage of recent news, lest we forget. Ultimately, I’m not about telling anyone who to vote for. We live in an age of massive media bias and misinformation. Our ‘facts’ shift like a sea before us, spun into castles of unresolvable division. They cannot all be true. It is Schrodinger’s box with no key.
Happy hunting, baby ducklings.
Together, we continue our quest for utopia. xxx