A Swinging, Polyamory, and Non-Monogamy Vocabulary List
Swinging is the practice of having sex with people who are not your partner, with the partner’s full knowledge. This and Polyamory (forming loving relationships with multiple partners, with everybody’s full knowledge) make up the two most common shades of Ethical Non-Monogamy. Non-monogamy is the opposite of that Monogamy, which is having one partner satisfy all your needs emotionally and physically.A lot of people claim they’re doing that monogamy thing when they’re really cheating behind their partners’ backs and engaging in decidedly Unethical Non-Monogamy. The ethical part is our tip, our purview. And it’s the part that includes the repeated “with the partner’s full knowledge” phrase above. Everybody being aware of everything going on (except for details they don’t want to know, this isn’t Forced Ethical Non-Monogamy after all [not really a thing]) is the most important part of this all.
What’s Vanilla beside a flavor? Well, it’s a somewhat derogatory term used by many facets of sexually open people to describe those whose kinks are not their kinks? Enjoy missionary with your wife with the lights off? You might be vanilla.
Okay, moving on, you all know what jealousy is, so I won’t explain that to you. You may be jealous right now that this article knows more groovy words than you, but hey, you shouldn’t be, because it’s gonna dump all that knowledge down your head hole.
So, yes, jealousy. Well, do the opposite of jealousy (ie, be excited by the fact that your partner is happy, or having fun, or having sex, or cumming hard) and that’s called Compersion. This one’s fun because it doesn’t show up in the dictionaries and was coined in the free love ‘60s in San Francisco.
Open Relationship is a sort of umbrella term that can fit all different types of non-monogamy under it, but it generally refers to the ethical kind. Sometimes people use open relationship as a way to describe a DADT Relationship (I’ve never heard it referred to specifically like that, but this is a lexicon, so there’s some lex for you) which is a “don’t ask, don’t tell” situation. Meaning you can do whatever you want to do with whomever you’d like, but I don’t want to hear about it. So don’t assume what people mean when they say open relationship.
Really don’t assume what anyone means when they say anything. Because you know what happens when you assume, don’t you?
Moving down the line. Gay and Straight I’m not going to define for you. But I will tell you that personally I feel gay and straight are the outliers (maybe 10% on each side) and the 80% in the middle is some shade of Bisexual meaning interested in both same sex and the opposite in some way. Bi-curious means curious about same sex contact. Before I descend too much into the Gender Binary here (the idea that there are only two) I’ll throw a caveat down. That shades of bisexual thing I’m talking about above also encompasses the wide variety of gender expression.
Along those lines, two common terms for sexual attraction without boundaries are Pansexual and Omnisexual, both meaning generally the same thing. I don’t care what your naughty bits look like, if I’m attracted to you then game on!
Lets wrap back to the beginning and dissect swinging ‘cuz there’s a bunch of terms that you’ll hear all the fuck over on this site. Full Swap and Soft Swap are identifiers for the type of swinger you are. These refer to how you play, and generally mean anything from kissing and touching up through oral sex with someone other than your partner counts as soft swap, anything beyond that, ie penetrative sex, would be full swap. And I know, I know, oral sex IS penetrative sex when it comes to fellatio (don’t know that one? Blowjob. I’m uninterested in being clearer than that as you may not be ready for this if you’ve never heard of one of those.) but let’s not beat ourselves to death with semantics here.
I recommend you consider Sex to be anything you do of a sexual nature (full swap, soft swap, no swap, jacking it, etc) but that’s more of a philosophy than a definition, so I’ll move on.
One of the coolest things about non-monogamy is the fact that it instantly unlocks (Like Super Smash Bros.) a host of new sexual things you can do. A Threesome is also a Ménage à trois which, I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you, is sex with three people. Three people involved, I mean. Not you having sex with three people, because that’d actually be a Foursome which doesn’t get a fancy French name. Add another, as I’m sure you’ve figured out the pattern by now, gets you to a Fivesome.
We here at Life on the Swingset put more than five into Orgy category, though there’s always room for discussion (and field testing) about what actually constitutes an orgy. Many people, mostly engaging with sex with as many of the others as possible. Not to be confused with a Gang Bang which involves one person being fucked by many at once.
One of my favorite sex acts is the one named by Dan Savage’s Savage Love readers: Pegging. This is where a male bodied person receives anal sex from a Strap-On dildo (harness based dildo suspension system) worn by a female bodied person. Why so specific for this act? Because a girl using a strap-on on another girl isn’t pegging, and a man receiving anal from another man isn’t pegging. It’s a unique act with unique circumstances. Try to just relax.
STIs used to be called STDs and are Sexually Transmitted Infections. Safe Sex became Safer Sex because there’s no such thing as 100% safe sex, and then our good friend Dr. Antoinette Izzo recommended Risk Aware Sex because you can have sex regardless of STI status as long as you know your protection methods and determine what level of risk you are okay with. Because knowing is half the battle. Go Joe!
Cis or Cisgendered means being born the same sex as you identify. So if you identify as male and were born with a penis, you’re cis.
When you’re attracted to smarts (and good grammar) you’re a Sapiosexual. I only mention it because it seems to come up a lot.
Modicum, Myriad, and Simulacrum are big words that Cooper uses to feel good about himself and reel in those sapiosexuals. Sometimes it works.
Rim jobs are Analingus which is oral-anal interaction. DP is double penetration, which involves two penises or simulacrum (see what I did there?) penetrating one person. Can be anal and vaginal, oral and vaginal, oral and anal. Can also include two penises (or…you get the picture) in a single orifice, but that gets us to DVP and DAP – double vaginal penetration and double anal penetration both fall under the DP umbrella. These are varsity moves.
BDSM. Can I really do it justice in this glib lexicon? Let’s try. BDSM is an acronym standing for a whole lotta kink. BD stands for Bondage (tying up or restraining) and Discipline (teachers, rulers, BAD BOY!). DS stands for Dom/sub, the roles of being in charge or being told what to do. SM stands for Sadomasochism, and of course, Sadism comes from our good friend the Marquis de Sade and the wonderful/horrible pain he used to inflict (or perhaps just write about) on people for pleasure and Masochism is about pleasure from receiving pain. How clever of BDSM to overlap their acronym.
Speaking of acronyms, some of us in the safer sex community have become literally so cool we don’t have time to say penis-in-vagina or penis-in-anus when we’re talking about that type of sex, so instead we say PIV and PIA. Don’t you feel cooler already knowing that?