My deal with relationships is that they can sometimes get a little boring, and I don't think I'm alone in this one either. Once you've passed the blissful first month stage, things slowly start becoming … I don't know, boring? Maybe boring isn't the right word — routine might be better.

Longer relationships seem to gradually lose the initial fire, and if both partners aren't careful, they could almost fizzle out entirely. When this happens, the eye starts wandering elsewhere. Well, what would happen if a couple that has been dating for the long term takes a semi-experimental path to try to spice things up?

I'm talking about entering the swinger scene.

Even though I've never participated in the swinger lifestyle, I find the life of a swinger to be absolutely fascinating. You get your cake, and you get to eat it, too. You get to remain in the same, loving relationship, but also get to play around with other partners to keep things interesting. Twisted, but interesting nonetheless.

A few weeks ago, I watched a documentary on VH1 about the topic. I learned that, on top of the many websites that set up swinger couples, there are tangible establishments that arrange swinger parties. Some of these parties are actually elite, "invite only." If a couple is lucky enough to receive an invite, the first couple and their new mates are put in a room together. One person pairs up with a person from the other couple and vise versa, and then they get right to business. In some cases, the two mixed couples go at it in the same room, fully conscious as to what the other is doing, and in other cases, the two respective couples sneak off to have a more intimate experience.

These swinger couples range from young twenty-somethings to married, middle-aged couples, and even to some more experienced veterans. However, they have one thing in common: the swinger lifestyle.

Let's do a little history recap, shall we? Back in the '60s, the term swinger hadn't really been dubbed yet. Instead, people who had multiple sex partners, while still in a relationship, called it "free love." With the hippies becoming yuppies, and the rise of AIDS, this lifestyle abruptly halted due to the dangerous risks involved with having numerous sexual partners.

However, for whatever reasons, this lifestyle is beginning to gain momentum.

Here's a little solid proof to back this up. A quick "Madison swingers" search on Google brought me to this website, www.swinglifestyle.com. What I found was actually quite surprising. There are currently 6,357 Madison swingers within 100 miles. Talk about picking from a variety of high-delicacy cakes and eating them, too. You and your pookie can basically surf the Internet, find the hot couple of your choice, read about them and arrange a play date. The profiles even say their sexual attitudes: most are labeled as "wild," while a few are labeled as "moderate." Ah, the wonders of the Internet!

Most of these couples on the VH1 documentary view swinging as a chance to bond — they even go as far as saying it strengthens their relationship. You may be asking, how in the hell does having sex with other people strengthen a couple's relationship? Well, I guess it would have to do with the fact that each partner is very confident and trusts the other; at least, that's what I'd speculate. However, upon asking numerous friends, I found that most people wouldn't be comfortable with this alternate lifestyle.

My friend's roommate, who has been dating her boyfriend for two years, said she considers swinging "cheating." When I asked her why, she said, "My boyfriend shouldn't have to go to anyone but me. And even if we were both with someone, I would still consider it cheating."

When I talked to one of my single guy friends, he told me a slightly different answer. When asked if he would like to try swinging with his hypothetical girlfriend, he said yes. When asked how it would affect his relationship with her, he said, "I think it would cause too many problems. I wouldn't want to have to deal with her being jealous, and I wouldn't want to know about her being with other guys."

I asked another guy friend what he thought about it. He said that he probably wouldn't ever consider it, but perhaps if "I was with someone who would want to, it could be fun."

That's about where I would fall in. Although it seems like swinging sort of defeats the purpose of being in a relationship, I guess it would have to depend on who you were with and why you both chose to do it. I guess you shouldn't rule out anything before you've tried it, because you never know if you'll be missing out.

However, I admit it would be a shock.

Jenny Kalaidis is a freshman majoring in communication arts and journalism. Are you a swinger, baby? Send questions, comments and tales of sexual escapades to [email protected]