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Selective swinging

Traditionally swinger clubs are accepting of all ages and body types, and the average age of swingers at events tends to be around 45. Younger swingers who wish to swing with their own age group find that this isn't always possible in swinging clubs.

Fever Parties began running parties for affluent under 40s in London in the late 1990s. Other party organisers, such as Lounge Parties in London (who select on looks, but not age) and Belle Baise in the Midlands (who select on looks and age) have sprung up in recent years. These organisations try to elevate themselves from historic swinging clubs by hosting their events in upmarket venues, serving Champagne or cocktails and asking their guests to dress in smart evening attire. Entry to these parties is often competitive and photographs are usually required to demonstrate attractiveness.

Due to the success of these events in the UK, they have subsequently spread to Norway, South Africa, Sweden and the USA. This, more than anything else, has given rise to the term The Lifestyle as a way to encompass all swinging activities, due to the fact that younger couples are somewhat averse to the term "swingers" because of its traditional connotations.

'Selective swinging' events include mostly childless, unmarried young graduates and can have average ages as low as the late 20s, whereas traditional swingers events tend to have average ages in the 40s. Selective parties are often referred to as "exclusive" or "elitist". Contravening the usual assumption that such organisations are not associated with groups propagating "family values", the Fever parties were revealed in June 2003 to be organised by a senior co-ordinator of a British Conservative Party pressure group, Conservatives for Change, who was older than the maximum age allowed to attend his events.

Another factor contributing to this situation is the continued upsurge in growth of Lifestyle-oriented Internet sites. These sites provide much more accessible gateways into Lifestyle activities for people who are curious about swinging. By offering greater flexibility when searching for potential playmates, it becomes possible to look for playmates that specifically match certain characteristics, including location, looks, wealth, and age. In the United States, it is still uncommon to find parties where stringent age requirements are in affect, and most groups remain non-discriminatory. However, the acceptance of 'elite' parties continues to be more common, with couples and single females becoming more and more willing to pay an additional premium to spend time with only a select segment of the swinging population.

The critique of selective swinging among traditional swingers is that it is unethical to discriminate. The growing upsurge interest in selective swinging has given rise to a growing rift between the two groups. Couples who identify with traditional swinging may advertise themselves as "not Ken and Barbie" as an implicit rejection of what they perceive to be a superficial ideal of youthful physical attractiveness. The proponents of selective swinging claim an entitlement to peer-group options in this as in other leisure pursuits. A large effort among members of the Lifestyle as a whole is being made to unify the two sub-groups, because arguments between the two are seen as divisive and destructive to the community as a whole.

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