What is wife swapping?

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The Supreme court said earlier this week that the charges of wife-swapping raised by a naval official's wife in Kerala will be looked into by a Special Investigation Team.

Sujatha Khan, the 26-year-old estranged wife of a naval officer posted at Kochi filed a petition in the issue, alleged that she was gang-raped by a group of officers after her husband instigated them after she found him in a compromising position with a commandant's wife. She also alleged that her husband tried to prove her as insane after she refused th join the ritual of wife-swapping. 


navy wife swapping

The issue had created a sensation in 2013 and the then defence minister, A K Antony, promised a probe into the matter.

Now, what precisely is wife swapping?

Wife-swapping was in vogue back in the 16th century

The idea of wife or partner-swapping is a non-monogamous behaviour which has been in practice since ages (the idea first came to the open in the 16th century when John Dee and Edward Kelley had swapped their wives after signing a formal agreement), though in different forms. In this, both singles and partners engage in sexual activities with others. This practice is also known as swinging.

It became popular after invention of contraceptive pills, sexual treatment

The practice, which was also in vogue in the earlier centuries, became more popular after the sexual revolution of the 1960s, following the invention of preventive and curative measures to deal with sexually transmitted diseases.

It became rampant in US during World War II when the country lost several pilots

During the Second World War, wife-swapping became rampant in the US. As more and more pilots began dying in the war that close bond started taking shape between pilot families. It almost became an unwritten law that the living pilot husbands would take care of the dead pilots' widows as their own---both emotionally and physically. Later, it spread to the life of civilians.

'Swinging' is a more gender-neutral name

Other terms like wife-sharing, wife-trading and wife-lending were also used to define the practice but with the advent of a gender-neutral age, a more objective term 'swinging' became popular.

The sexual revolution is considered the prime reason behind this practice and those in the security forces might find it more attractive to get a break from the monotony of life.

But for those who prefer unprotected sex, indulging in wife swapping may pose risk to their health.

Wife swapping is practised in a number of big cities of India today. According to one survey, almost 27 per cent of the married couples indulge in it. Experts feel monotony in life could be a reason for wife-swapping but even changing sex partners could lead to a fatigue after a point of time and in that case, even the deepest of relations face problems.

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