While channel surfing last night, I noticed an ad for bootycall.com. What caught my eye was not the ad content but rather its presence on a cartoon channel. This begs any number of easy wisecracks, but I’ll let that opportunity slip. Network sites on which I have pages sport similar ads. "Skip that annoying dinner-and-movie with the uncertain outcome,” they say in essence. “Here is a sure thing."
Many folks always have preferred to short circuit the whole courting business, of course. This is nothing new, even leaving out of consideration the professional services always procurable from entrepreneurs. I'm old enough to remember the weekly meet at a neighbor's house for what then was still called wife swapping. I was too young to participate, but personally knew many of the people who did. Local suburban couples showed up, and, so some veterans of the events told me, the men literally tossed keys on the coffee table. Each woman picked a key at random and went home with whomever the owner of the key happened to be. For an hour once per week, it was a busy driveway. I'm not suggesting this was typical married behavior in the 1960s. It wasn’t. Yet, it was not as rare as one might think either, especially in the age group older than the boomers but younger than the boomers' parents; a lot of these folks feared they were missing out on the decade's social revolution, which was intensely youth-oriented, and they rushed to pluck what fruits of it they could. Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice was not just some scriptwriter's fantasy.
Nowadays, clubs and network groups offering quasi-anonymous sex tend to be geared more toward singles, presumably because there are so many more of them. This, rather than concern over sexism, likely explains the word change to “swinging.” The participants typically have no spouse to swap.
It is hard to come by reliable numbers, but anecdotally (and credibly), online sites offering such arrangements have far fewer customers than dating sites for people seeking something less edgy – something in which last names might be mentioned. Most people (eventually anyway) apparently are still interested in stable, more mainstream relationships. All the same, the members of "adult singles" sites are still pretty numerous.
I certainly have no moral judgments to make. Just yesterday a good friend chided me on my own dating history -- I initially wrote habits instead of history, but the time is past when I made a habit of dating. I answered her, "Men are like swimming pools. Even the deepest ones are shallow on one end."
Nevertheless, key-exchanges, or their modern counterparts, are much too catch-as-catch-can for my taste. On my rare forays, I prefer, as I always did, to chase someone utterly inappropriate for me after due and careful consideration.