Group sex as play: Rules and transgression in shared non-monogamy

J. Tuomas Harviainen, Katherine Frank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Drawing on ethnographic and interview data collected from the United States and Finland on lifestyle (‘‘swinging’’) events, this article explores the implicit and explicit rules influencing negotiations for group sex as a type of play. Participants maintain a sense of freedom and spontaneity while acting within situational constraints—ethical expectations, preexplicated rules, implicit rules, and complex negotiations that occur during the play itself either openly or more subtly. Because it has implications for the participants’ everyday lives, lifestyle group sex is a phenomenon on the border between games and adult play. Through an analysis of the rules and social contracts arising in group sex, we demonstrate how participants learn to read interactions at group sex events in the way that players learn game systems and how they can and do become ‘‘good players’’ in such situations.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalGames and Culture : A Journal of Interactive Media
Volume13
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)220-239
Number of pages20
ISSN1555-4120
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed

Keywords

  • 514,1 Sociology
  • social negotiation
  • 616 Other humanities
  • sex as play
  • adult play
  • group sex
  • swinging
  • rules

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