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"Colorado swingers spice up sex life at Squirrel Creek Lodge"

on Saturday, 04 January 2014. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

Denver Post Lifestyles

by Douglas Brown

...How prevalent is swinging? It's not something that is routinely tracked by academics with big budgets for data collection. The largest study, conducted in 2000 by Bellarmine University sociologists Curtis Bergstrand and Jennifer Blevins Williams, found that 84 percent of swingers are married couples or in relationships and had been together for a little more than 10 years.

Among swinging couples, marital happiness averaged 78.5 percent, compared with 64 percent of the general married population. Women on average are 31 when they embrace the lifestyle, while men are 35. Religious? Seventy-two percent belong to religious institutions, compared with 61 percent in the general population.

Michelle Golland, a Los Angeles sex therapist, said she thinks swinging is increasingly popular in part because of the importance couples place on having positive attitudes toward sex.

"We have a higher expectation for intimacy, for sex. We are healthier, stronger," she said. "I want to stay young and sexual in my heart. I want my husband to want me that way."

And swinging helps boost the sexual connection of some couples, she said.

"But this is not to solve a problem," she said, stressing that couples should be comfortable and happy with each other sexually before joining the lifestyle. "It's to experience something that is hot, erotic, interesting, and keeps your sexual life together alive and growing."

Bitti said the lifestyle includes emissaries from nearly every demographic — cops, teachers, CEOs and the rest of us. And where the caricatured swinger is a potbellied, middle-aged dolt out for some easy action, the reality is less unsettling, she said. Adults of all ages participate, looking good matters, and players tend to have good jobs and fertile imaginations.

She prefers the term "sexually social" to swinger. It seems more approachable and friendly, she said.

Like other swingers, Bitti calls people who are outside of the lifestyle "vanilla" and laments that her multiflavored approach to relationships remains relatively subterranean.

"We are just about being who we are, but we are all living in the closet. People are worried about losing their jobs, their kids," said Bitti, who along with her husband is so enthusiastic about the lifestyle that they are one of the lead couples on a Playboy Channel show called "Swing."

Bitti is so very out about the lifestyle, in part, to help drag it closer to the mainstream.

The stigmas still thrive, even in Colorado, but they appear to be eroding, said Denver sex therapist Neil Cannon.

"There are more people who are willing to find more creative solutions to how to make their marriage or relationship work," he said. "It's hard for some people to get all of their needs met in one relationship. In America, everybody assumes we are monogamous and that's the only way to live."

Exploring the lifestyle is not for everybody, he said. For one thing, concerns about sexually transmitted diseases alarm many people. Practicing what Cannon calls "safer sex" is simply imperative. Also, jealousy renders many people incapable of letting a spouse run off with others for romps between the sheets.

Those who succeed, he said, tend to bask in their partner's joy, regardless of whether it bubbles up from a career triumph or a sexual escapade with another adult.

And many of those who thrive in the lifestyle appreciate places such as Squirrel Creek. ...



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