Swinging in the Movies

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When most couples want to sexually amp up their weekend they might turn to the advice of different sex writers, maybe a dirty weekend or a foray into kink to add some novelty to their existing relationship. But how many think of involving other people? 

Swinging with the Finkels, out in limited release, is the story of a couple who consider the idea of swinging to try to improve their relationship. If the cast is any indication  – Mandy Moore and Martin Freeman star as the young pair –  it sounds like a good one, promising, the promo materials say, to be “where ‘When Harry Met Sally’ left off.” 

It’s certainly not the first film to tackle the subject of multiple partner relationships, whether swinging or polyamory which are quite different styles of non-monogamy. Swinging is usually thought of as being more about sex – sex with different partners, solo or as a couple, although swingers sometimes do form long-term relationships with outside partners. Polyamory is about having more than one relationship, including the sexual, emotional and other components of a love relationship – and having these relationships openly, to the knowledge of all involved. Certainly there are variations on both themes – when it comes to relationships, of course, there’s never just one way of doing anything.

And there are a lot of movies that look at both themes, the most famous movie about swinging – actually more about wife-swapping, being the classic Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, a 1969 drama that follows two couples as they adapt – or don’t – to the tumultuous sexual revolutions going on around them.  For the real thing there’s American Swing (NSFW)an engaging documentary about the most well-known swingers club of all time, Plato’s Retreat. The Ice Storm, by Ang Lee, isa 70’s period film featuring suburban couples attending a classic “key party,’ (there’s lots more to the movie than this sequence, but it’s a bit of 70’s spice that captures some of the vibe of the period). 

 As for polyamory the Alt.Polyamory Cultural FAQ movie page on the website http://www.polyamory.org/ gives an extensive list of films addressing that lifestyle, one worth mentioning being Summer Lovers starring Darryl Hannah, Peter Gallagher, and Valerie Quennessen, touted on tribe.net’s poly album page as being a positive bit of poly. There’s also the documentary Three of Hearts: A Postmodern Family which shows the ups and downs of a real triad – two men and a woman who have children together – and another feature that I’d definitely add to the list, Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona. The film stars Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, and Scarlett Johansson, who form quite a beautiful triangle so  you’ve got gorgeous people in a spectacular city and a luscious soundtrack to boot. 

There’s just so much to love….and isn’t that part of the point?

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