By Charlie De Mar
From Fox 59
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- You might already have your mind made up, or perhaps you know nothing about the swinging lifestyle.
Whatever the case might be, central Indiana is home to a growing number of swingers. FOX59 was given unprecedented access into a local swingers club. It was quickly apparent that people in the lifestyle come from all types of background and they don't fit a particular stereotype.
Couples talked openly with us about the lifestyle that's normally discussed in whispers. They asked not to be identified, so the names that appear in this story are pseudonyms.
They are doctors, lawyers, judges, teachers, accountants, executives, mechanics and just about any other profession you can imagine.
Swinger couples live outside the conventional definition of a relationship. They lead non-monogamous lifestyles, and in many cases, share their loved one with others.
"You are sharing the most important thing in your life with another couple," said "Frank."
Frank has been married to his wife, who we'll call Rachel, for 40 years.
"We’ve been married a long time and we’re just very secure," said Rachel.
"It’s not about me being attracted to another woman or her being attracted to another man, but the guy and I bonding and being comfortable. The same goes for the two women," said Frank.
Edward Fernandes, a professor at Barton College, is an expert on the swinging lifestyle. He has published more than ten studies on the subject. His extensive research shows the average age of swingers is between 36-55.
They are typically college-educated and have a household income between $40,000-$200,000.
"There is an estimation of over 50 million swingers in North America. That's a lot of people," said Fernandes.
"People think you go to the club take your clothes off and go at it and that’s far from the truth," said "Peter."
The lifestyle has such an appeal for some Hoosiers that Peter has been documenting the local lifestyle on a website since 1998.
"I just want people to know what’s out there and what’s available to them and give them good information," said Peter.
Once inside the swingers club, couples can dance, socialize and there's even lockers available to change into something more comfortable. However, as we discovered and to the surprise of some outsiders, the night doesn't always take a deviant spin.
"The biggest misconception is what goes on here. People think you are going to walk into a mass orgy," said Frank.
For some couples, the night does end with walking off to the back rooms, but that is not the case for everyone.
"You don’t have to swap. You don’t have to partake in anything you don’t want to," said "Jessica."
Jessica has been married to her husband "Bill" for eleven years. They enjoy the social aspect of the lifestyle but they don't share partners and they don't plan on it.
"We can come here and have a great time with each other and talk with other people and not have to have everything else that everyone else comes here for," said Bill.
"As a therapist who has done this for 35 years, I've found it is hard to share your partner with other people," said certified sex therapist Carol Juergensen-Sheets.
When the allure and initial excitement of swinging fades away for some couples, Sheets says they often end up in her office.
"What I have experienced is that it can cause conflict and friction. What I recommend at all times is negotiation and compromise," said Juergensen-Sheets.
So how do you share your wife or husband with someone else and not feel jealous?
"It takes a committed couple to have a strong relationship. I know the majority of people would have a problem with jealousy," said Rachel.
"The main thing with this is honesty, if you are honest, it will work out," said Peter.