How did Swinging get started?
As far as anyone knows, swinging (as this community exists today, in the United States) had its roots amongst an elite group of U.S. Air Force fighter pilots during World War II. These men were wealthy enough to move their wives close to base, and the fact that their fatality rate was the highest of any branch of service led to an unusual social milieu in which non-monogamy between these pilots’ wives and other pilots became acceptable. These arrangements persisted near Air Force bases throughout World War II and into the Korean War. By the time the Korean War ended, these groups had spread from the bases to the nearby suburbs.
The media picked up on them in 1957 and promptly dubbed the phenomenon “wife-swapping.” Although the media didn’t treat this new phenomenon respectfully, the public’s response made it clear that they wanted to hear more. By 1960, there were over 20 widely-available magazines which carried “swinger” ads. These magazines provided a medium through which the first swinger parties could advertise themselves, and the first permanent clubs began appearing in the late 1960’s. 10 Organized swinging outside California was originally all “off-premise.” This was also true for New York until the legendary on-premise club “Plato’s Retreat” was founded; in the South, Midwest, and Northwest, dances remained the most popular form of off-premise swinging. All of these clubs were completely independent entities and there were no national gatherings.
Dr. Robert McGinley founded the Lifestyles Organization in 1975, through which he began hosting the first national Lifestyles Conventions along with his first efforts to improve the public image of swinging. He subsequently founded the North American Swing Club Association (NASCA) in 1979, with the intent that NASCA serve as a trade and standards organization for swing club owners. The swinger’s community continued to grow throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s, and is currently enjoying an upsurge of interest and growth. Although single women are almost always welcome at today’s swinging events, the degree to which single men are accepted varies from club to club. Although female bisexuality is common in the swing community, male bisexual activity is still almost non-existent at swing events.