Full Swap vs. Soft Swap: What’s the Big Deal?


At some point, usually early on, every swinger or swinger couple faces the question, “are you full swap or soft swap?”. This question is posed on every swinger networking site and is crucial information for couples seeking other partners for play. So what’s the big deal about full versus soft swapping anyway? Even more importantly, how does a couple decide what’s right for them?

First, we should go over some definitions. There is a common misconception among new swingers (as seen on many misinformed message boards and chat rooms) that soft swapping simply means same room sex, where each couple has sex only with their own partner while occupying the same room, or that soft swapping only means female-female play. This is not the case. Soft swapping can encompass a wide range of activities, from kissing, to fondling and for some couples, even oral sex with one or more people outside the couple. Simply put, soft swapping means that there is no actual penetration with outside people. Once penetration comes into play, with anyone other than your partner, it’s considered a “full swap”.

So, now that we’ve gotten the technical definitions out of the way, what is the real difference between the two, and how do you know what’s right for you and your partner? There are advantages and disadvantages to both and there is no one right answer for every couple.

The fact is that no matter how sexually open and sex positive you and your partner may be, there will always be lines one or both of you are not comfortable crossing. Whether it is fear of unwanted pregnancy or simply a desire to keep something special that is only for you and your partner to do together, there are many reasons why couples may choose not be full swap, especially in their early days in the lifestyle. For many couples, the idea of their partner kissing and playing with another man or woman is totally erotic, but the idea of their partner having actual intercourse with someone else raises some internal red flag. If this is the case, then soft swapping is an ideal solution.

Even once you have established that you only want to soft swap with other couples, it is still important to establish ground rules even within non-intercourse play. Some couples prefer not to kiss others on the mouth. Some draw the line at petting and are not interested in oral sex. Whatever your comfort level, the most important thing is that you and your partner be honest with each other. Nothing ruins a fun night of swinging like hurt feelings or jealousy.

Simply put, the advantages of soft swap are many, including a decreased chance of unwanted pregnancy, a slightly decreased chance of disease, and a possibly decreased chance of jealousy. There is really only one disadvantage, but it’s kind of a big one- no intercourse with anyone other than your partner.

The limits of soft swap can be more or less of a disadvantage depending on what you and your partner are looking for in the swinging world. Many couples have found that there are a good number of others who are simply not interested in soft swap, or at least want to know that full swap is a possibility, even if it doesn’t happen. On occasion, just saying that you as a couple are only interested in soft swap can dramatically decrease the number other couples who will be interested in playing with you.

The greatest advantage of full swap is…SEX! Again, it sounds like a simple difference, but it can be huge if having sex with other partners is something you want. While it can seem scary at first, and a little fear can be both healthy and fun, full swap opens up the swinging world to a larger number of possibilities and increases the likelihood of meeting other sexually open partners.

There are a few things that have to be considered before anyone endeavors to full swap. The first, and probably most important, is the way full swap will impact the relationship between you and your partner. The emotional impact of full swap will be different for every couple. Especially for new swingers, full swap can bring certain baggage with it. For those us who were raised to believe that anything other than monogamy is wrong, even “sinful”, full swap can seem like a giant taboo. If this is the case for you or your partner, the most important thing is to take it slow, communicate and examine exactly what it is that you and your partner really want.

My husband and I began our swinging adventure as soft swap, mostly because we were new to the lifestyle and weren’t really sure how it all worked. We wanted to take it slow. Gradually, as we lightly played with other people and indulged in both watching and being watched, we began talking about the idea of actually fucking other people. We were both a little surprised when it turned out that we both really liked the idea of having sex with other people and we both were really turned on by the thought of watching the other have sex with someone else. From that point on, full swap was not a necessity for a fun night, but was definitely on the table.

A second consideration in full swap is birth control. This consideration isn’t sexy or fun, but it’s necessary. Within a monogamous couple, it is fairly simple to greatly reduce the chances of unwanted pregnancy. When new partners are introduced, the risks of pregnancy may increase. Short of surgery (vasectomy for men/ tubal ligation or hysterectomy for women), there is no form of birth control that is 100% effective, so there will always be some risk of pregnancy unless one or both participants has been surgically sterilized. The best advice I’ve heard is to discuss this with any potential full swap partners long before any sex actually happens.

Similarly, everyone involved should be aware of the risks of sexually transmitted disease and infection. Just as you would use a condom with a new partner when dating, condoms are a must when full swapping with a new couple.

All that scariness aside, full swap can be extremely fun and satisfying for everyone involved if it’s done with forethought and respect for the feelings and boundaries of everyone involved. Never assume that just because a couple participates in full swap that you don’t need to ask before doing certain acts. Even full swap partners may have rules or boundaries that they choose to stick to and it is important to talk about these boundaries before playing- every time.

Like everything in the lifestyle, good communication should be priority number one. Swinging is about having fun and embracing our positive sexual desires. This can only happen when you and your partner are being completely open and honest with one another. There is no right or wrong way to swing, so don’t be intimidated or pressured into doing anything that makes you or your partner uncomfortable. Ultimately, whether you and your partner decide to be full swap, soft swap, or both, the most important thing is that both of you feel comfortable with everything that goes on. Beyond that, always be safe and above all, have fun!



  1. There are so many good points in this article—not only about soft swap vs. full swap, but about swinging in general. I would consider this required reading for anyone thinking of entering the lifestyle.

    For Dawn and I, soft swap seems more likely—at least at first. It's not necessarily about tokenization or rules, but more a question of comfort and boundaries. We are fully aware that both comfort levels and boundaries can fluctuate from encounter to encounter, and perhaps even during an encounter. I take the attitude of "let's see how we feel about this couple", easing in to more intimate activities as comfort increases. Maintaining an open channel of communication is vital to navigating those quirky waters successfully, which is why we make a bigger deal about the difference between same-room vs. separate-room swapping: when you can't see your partner and communicate your feelings (at the very least through eye contact), it becomes far more difficult to make minor course corrections throughout the encounter.

  2. The information is very helpful. we started as a full swap couple but we came across a new couple we like that wants to start as soft swap. That’s fine with us but wanted to get a definition of what we are up for.

    • James Irland on

      Let us talk about human desire and sexuality first
      The sex as an instinct has been put in our system or let put this in better word this. Instinct has been transferred billions of years from speace to speace unit till it settled in human body and has carried only one purpose through ,,REPRODUCTION ,, the modern human probably at it first earache of apearance on the earth had followed that simple rule of the reproduction as well
      Until the more development of humans brain got a better look in the process of reproduction
      And took specific measurements in account specially employing som environmental element to better his life as warming the room (cave) that he or she lived in ,figuring ways to do better food
      Providing methods an as a result having better life and more time to enjoy it ,man and woman
      Having more time together and repeating the joy of sex and differing their look at it as reproduction process only
      Today’s mother human has used its brain more ,reduced the baby bringing even in numerous e cases no baby and on the other hand finding more fun in sex
      The family and commitments meaning has and is fading away more and more religeous people
      Shrinking in number every day media is playing its role in fighting with Taboo and Opening
      More reality huger eveys
      The conclusion ,,wife or husband is loosing the social meaning of it which excited forty or fifty years ago so polyamory wife sharing has grown in number and ins not shunned any more

  3. Can anyone give some advice on a good site to join? We are getting into the lifestyle and are unsure what to join. Both are 39.

  4. My wife and I started dating this other couple we met on other website. We are open an honest with what we wanted, and so far things have progressed well. My wife has had many “first” with the other couple–all involving the other woman–and last time we played, we swapped wives and orally pleased the other man’s wife. we’ve only soft-swapped, we’ve not had intercourse with the other couple. Along with the physical adult play, there is a lot of group texts that go back and forth. Mostly it’s my wife teasing his wife, or his wife saying something HIGHLY suggestive to my wife–again–all in good fun. In the last week however, the husband of the other couple has been more aggressive with my wife–both in texts and in the bedroom. The other night, when the four of us had just gotten back from an evening out, I ran to my car put something away. While I was away, he grabbed my wife’s ass and pulled her towards him. I found out about it later after we had left for the night. My wife liked it, so it wasn’t a big deal, and has even asked for more of it in a text to him today.

    The issue I’m having is I’m starting to feel insecure. He’s physically more “rough” with his wife: Slapping her ass, aggressively pulling her hair, fingering her rather hard–which she likes, he’s not abusing his wife. My issue is my wife seems to enjoy the though of that as well–as in HIM doing that to her. Now, You have to understand doing these “aggressive” things is far out of my comfort zone because I was raised never–and I mean NEVER–harm a lady. Women are to be protected and genitally touched–never harmed. Logically, I know these things don’t hurt her, it’s just kind of a mental thing with me. I do pull her hair, and I do slap her ass in the bedroom, just not all the time–and I guess not hard enough–I’ve tried to be more forceful with her even going as far as to grab her butt in the supermarket and pulled her into me while in line at the checkout. Later, when I asked her if she like that, she didn’t know what I was talking about. I have to admit, that kinda of hurt, as I was going out of my comfort zone both in my forcefulness and PDA. The fact it didn’t register with her is what sets me back.

    In our texts to the other couple, the conversation ALWAYS turns to sex–one of the other three people bring it up, I purposefully do not. What I find troubling is that my wife will always give one of them–mostly her–a compliment. Things like “She was my happy thought of the day” or “Amy gets me wet” or even “What you did Jake turned me on–I liked that.” Stuff like that. I understand this is “new sex energy” and that they are the new and exciting “it” toy. Thing is, my own wife hasn’t given ME one compliant in 3 weeks, in any of these texts. I haven’t been her “happy thought.” One or both of them are lavished with praise from her, or from them to her, but I kinda feel like the fat kid no one wants/cares about. I am included in the group conversation, but that’s it. I try and chime in–mostly about something none sexual–but it always reverts back to sex after awhile. I want to be my wife’s “happy thought” of the day and WITHOUT asking her for it. If I have to fish for it, it cheapens it.

    I feel if I bring it up, then she will be “forced” to say something nice to me because I said something about it. On the other had, if I wait to see if she notices it, I maybe waiting a VERY long time. I compliment her everyday, telling her I love her and she looks nice—something along those lines–everyday.

    I don’t want to be the “typical” guy that get jealous, but I NEED my wife to make me feel like the center of her universe, that I’m what turns her on, that I “do it” for her. Os far, I’m not getting that from her. I’m trying to be a more aggressive lover with her, and I acknowledge I need to do better there.

    • SoCalJay, I think you are looking at this from the way wrong perspective. You are trying to compare apples and oranges. You need to remember that swinging starts out of a desire to fulfill fantasies -fantasies that obviously aren’t or simply physically can’t happen in the bedroom between the 2 people in question. The more contrast between what your wife knows and has experience with, the higher the desire factor. She’s most likely turned on by this guy’s rougher behaviour because you are not rough. You are safe and comfortable. Wives want safe and secure when it comes to settling down and living out a long-term committed relationship. But when you swing, this is a departure form regular life. When you guys swing, she is sexually liberated or at least feeling that it gives her the opportunity to temporarily step out of what is safe and comfortable and known. This is the fundamental essence of a fantasy -to be able to act, be and experience something that you normally couldn’t or wouldn’t try. You have one of 2 choices; either be led and let the more dominate male run the show, and believe me both women will follow him, or realize this for what it is -a chance for you to allow your wife to explore her desires- and take her hand and lead the way. No body likes eating cake everyday, no matter how great it tastes. Her sex life with you is still what connects her to the stable, safe comfortable life that she will want and need to return back to. Your relationship with her is the grounding factor in your day-to-day lives. The occasional deviation can help develop an appreciation for that daily life the same way that coming back from a trip, no matter how exciting it was, you always sigh relief to know you are back home in familiar and safe territory. Pay attention to your wife;s wants and needs without comparing her reaction to his style to yours. But you do need to be assertive, and stay involved, or you will get pushed out and that could mean even bigger trouble. Don’t act with fear or feelings of inadequacy. She married you. She is still with you. Experience this with her and keep things in perspective and you will be fine.

    • You may need to grow a pair if you wish to go further. You don’t have to be aggressive but you might want to try it. It’s got you woman attracted to another guy that this is something she likes and you won’t give it to her. You should be insecure. So, what are you going to do about it?

      In my opinion, she’s read for full swap and with this guy. You either need to start over with another couple, which is what I recommend and that you reinvent yourself or this may not be for you. It’s for her. Like the other one said, “Man up!”

    • You have to open up and tell her how you are feeling and resolve it as a couple. If you don’t, it will fester. Tell her “I don’t want a compliment right now because it will feel cheap and like you don’t mean it but I’ve been feeling this way.”

      And to quiet your worries I feel like she just assumes you know how she feels about you and feels like she needs to romance this new couple is all.

    • Victoria Nokes on

      Talk to your wife about what you’re feeling, & ask her what she needs from you. Communication is EVERYTHING in the lifestyle. You may want to think about closing things down to just the 2 of you for a bit, until you feel connected again. That’s totally normal, as is what you’re feeling. Good luck!

  5. You’ve got to discuss it with your wife: end of story. The deal MUST be that if either of you feel even slightly uncomfortable you pull out without any need to justify, apologise or explain and the other party has to be happy that that’s the deal. If you haven’t already agreed this then it’s not too late. Sure she will be a bit upset but I have a bad feeling about this: the next obvious step is full swap and how much worse will you feel then?

  6. Having read all the interesting comments regarding the differences between ‘Soft-Swing’ and ‘Full-Swing’. I have a new product being released soon.

    Playdoor is the world’s first ‘Adult Peepshow Sex Toy’ for couples. It’s a product for every couple to enjoy peeping, teasing, pleasing and ultimately playing.

    Placed inside the door-frame of any internal door the super stretchy Playdoor panel has zips and peepholes that will heighten the intensity of touching and teasing, whilst couples are on either side of Playdoor.

    It allows couples to go at their own playful or racy pace.

    Have a look at the short video on http://www.buckshe.com

  7. I need help! If any one can suggest me how to handle this situation, we were very new to this lifestyle. We met only one couple and I could not see my husband with any other woman so we stopped there . Before this we were very happy n whenever we had sex we use to fantasies n talk dirty,. As he said just go with flow n he mentioned that he also need this life style. I told him so many times that I can’t live with this lifestyle and I don’t want to. But he always fight with me and said he can’t have sex like normal and like Robort. He has started hiding things like using face book account for this life style. I’m very depressed and don’t know how to convince him. Please help

    • Benthar Dunthat on

      I agree you and your husband have a situation that needs to be adressed together calmly and honestly. The seinging lifestyle means so many different things to everybody who gets into it. But as a couple the adventure and excitement should be shared and concidered together as a couple. You did mention you started as a couple and that watching another woman with him was not what you wanted to see. You did not mention how you felt about the other man pleasuring you and more so how excited you were by the other man pleasing you in front of your husband. If there was enjoyment and excitment there for you by this then that’s what your husband is also feeling. How much may be a higher level. If your excitement isnt as great as his you might be thinking too much about him having fun with the other lady. You should maybe try relaxing and concentrate on your own pleasure and maybe even giving that pleasure as well to your play partner. When you GO HOME thats a key point YOU CAME THERE TOGETHER TO PLAY WITH ANOTHER COUPLE. you played and had fun with them and its best if you can become friends who you share intimate times with. BUT AFTER THE EVENING IS OVER YOUR HOING HOME TOGETHER WITH YOUR PARTNER. Now im not putting blame on you or making you the bad guy. Just pointing out a possibility that maybe you didnt lool at. Having said that. If there is an issue you both should be able to calmly and without pushing guilt or jealousy or anger. Ask him if he enjoys or thinks its hot watching the other guy fucking you and be honest how much you enjoy him fucking you. Ask him if watching you giving him oral and seeing how you are enjoying doing that to him. You might find he gets really hot to see you having fun. He should have enough concern for how you feel to want discuss it with you instead of dismissing your feelings and making the experience about what he wants. Maybe if you.concider the fact that with the swinging lifestyle it involves people together having fun together ITS JUST SEX dont let your attention be centerred on whats going on over there because your not only missing out on your own pleasure but your partner might be thinking hes doing somethi g wrong because your not into it. Good luck hope you can figure it out otherwise i think from your questions you know what the answer will become from one sided swinging.

    • We are a couple in our late 30s in India…And have discussed soft swinging but still feel at one or other point of discussion she and he deviate. We are very happily married and love each other a lot…But heard a lot about swinging , think of trying it a by soft swap but lack of mental confidence, she shows uncomfort and unforeseen fear and he secretly fears of losing all the fun we both have. However on going through views and feedback here we feel that little bit more discussion is required before giving it a first hand try.

    • Give it another try. If the other woman is bi and you’re the center of attention for all 3, that may be a place to bring you comfort level up. You might be amazed at how understanding and patient another couple might be. While a party might seem more racy, it might be what you need to detach a little emotionally. Talk about it during sex; use your fantasy talk to make it exciting; make it about what’s exciting to you. If you’re having an orgasm, you won’t begrudge the man you love one.

      Who does he come home to, every day? Why do you think this is something more than just exciting expanse? If you can’t work this out, you may be near the end.

  8. This lifestyle is not one that I would ever partake in! I think any man that could enjoy watching another man pleasure his wife or girl friend is insane! I can totally relate to the “thought” of swapping and how erotic that could be but time and time again the how we humans think something will turn out and the reality of how things turn out are a million miles apart! I’m not sharing my wife with ANYONE!!

  9. My wife and I had a very close and longtime friendship with another couple with whom we spent most weekends with. While we had often joked around and even watched a few porn movies with, we had never actually did anything serious. One weekend after going out to dinner and a few drinks, it was the wives who brought up the idea of trading. They seemed to have already planned the whole thing. Ended up with the trading for a whole weekend and the rules were that anything goes as far as sex. My wife is very beautiful but his wife was about equal in the looks department. I was a bit apprehensive but I went along with it. Next weekend, we dropped off the kids at grandparents and told them we were going to a ball game and staying the weekend. We drove to their house and did the trade and were off. His wife was a pretty blonde like mine and seemed thrilled at what the plans were. We had a great dinner and movie and later went to our very nice hotel for the night. I asked her if she had ever done anything like this before and she replied “No” but she had fantasied about it. We got very little sleep and had every kind of sex I knew of, even anal. She was the perfect partner with a fantastic body and knew how to please a man. I confessed to her that I had mixed feelings about her husband and my wife together to which she assured me that it was nothing that she and I had already done. After we returned to their house to get ready to go home, everyone hugged and thanked each other for a wonderful weekend! Since that weekend, we all felt closer and our wives grew as close as sisters. The slight twinges of jealousy that I encountered quickly faded and from then on, while we never fully traded again, we all had the understanding that we could have access to each other, as long as no one would see us. Many times we spent evenings together with the lights down low and doors locked. This arrangement actually made our marriage stronger as with the other couple. I think I had sex with my friends wife about as much as with my wife! Him too with my wife. Strange story but 100% true !!!

  10. we started out as soft swing meaning we had sex but with own partners in same room we did this several times then one night after drinking we began kissing others partner then we all 4 checked into motel we split up and i had sex with his wife and vice versa they were black neighbors now my wife constantly requests that we share

  11. my wife and i have been in soft swing with 2 different couples nude dancing playing breasts fingering pussy kissing we have not gone further i would really like to take this further go full swing you know sex sometimes we will lay on bed all together and have sex with respective wives i took it a step further and ate my wife then others began i am trying now to get wife give me a blowjob and see what other couples do the other 2 couples are white i have seen men of course mine is quite a bit longer and thicker i also go longer then they do i may cum 2 or 3 times but stay hard i would love to switch

  12. Texxxas Treasures on

    For us Soft Swap is Sex involving Oral, Penetration, etc in the Same Room or Separate Rooms involving another person or couple.
    Full Swap is where we meet a couple for dancing and drinks on a Friday night, night goes well and want to go to next level.
    I take the other woman home with me, my woman goes home with the other man. Could be for the night or for the weekend. We meet back up either Saturday morning for brunch to discuss each other’s night or meet up Sunday afternoon at the end of the weekend.

    That is Full Swap.
    Will add that we generally don’t play on first meeting. We also date separately, where she has a girlfriend I’m not involved with and I have a gf she is not involved with.

    We are also more Demisexual and Polyamorous than Swingers though.

  13. Hi, thank you for posting this article! I found it a great read! I Hope other swingers find it as useful as I did! I particularly agree that swinging is all about embracing our inner desires and having fun with our partners. There is no right or wrong way to swing! Everyone is different and that in its self keeps the swinging lifestyle fun. x

  14. Pingback: Soft Swap – loveohyes

  15. Question, does swapping also entail trading spouses so that one spouse goes to the other home while the second spouse stays at your home for any numbers of days?

    For example, my wife stays at the other guys home for the weekend while his wife stays with me at my home.

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