Swinging couples provide insight into surprisingly normal lives - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Swinging couples provide insight into surprisingly normal lives

Tony and Diana McCollister shared their experience as swingers on an A&E reality show. (FOX19 NOW) Tony and Diana McCollister shared their experience as swingers on an A&E reality show. (FOX19 NOW)
CINCINNATI (FOX19) -

Most people who are part of the “Lifestyle” keep it a secret. But Tony and Diana McCollister decided to share their story with millions.

“We did it for a reason. We want our story told,” Diana said.

From the outside, the McCollister's lives look typical. They live in a nice home in the suburbs with three busy children. They just happen to be swingers.

"This is how we swing. We just want to show our side of things because we do feel like we're happy. We have a great life,” Diana said.

[Previous story: Leaders, locals mingle at swingers club]

The couple was at the center of A&E's series focusing on suburban swingers called "Neighbors with Benefits.” After two episodes, the network pulled the plug on the show.

"We got some bad reviews on the first episode and some great reviews on the second episode,” Tony explained.

They're hoping the other seven episodes shot over hundreds of hours do air eventually. Tony has also started his own podcasts about swinging.

In the meantime, they're sat down with FOX19 NOW's Amy Wagner. They say their ultimate goal is to educate others on swinging or what's known as "the Lifestyle.” The couple has been a part of it since they started dating nearly 12 years ago.

"We wanted to show the other side. That we are still normal people and put all of those negative images people think of when they think of swinging to rest,” said Diana.

Wagner asked, “Are there times in the relationship where the lifestyle got in the way of marriage?"

"Got in the way? I wouldn't say that but there's definitely ups and downs with it. Definitely harder times. Arguments and disagreements,” Diana said.

They say they've worked those disagreements out over the years and still feel the benefits of their lifestyle far outweigh any negatives.

Wagner asked "Why would you say this makes your marriage better?"

"It keeps your marriage exciting. There are no boundaries. We don't know what we are going to do tomorrow or the next day or the day after,” Diana said.

And they respond without hesitation to critics who say this isn't what marriage is supposed to look like

"Us defining marriage our way does not hurt your marriage. It does not belittle your marriage. It doesn't do anything to your marriage.

Life your marriage. Be happy with your marriage. We're happy with ours,” Tony said.

While they say it does work for them, they warn others who are interested in the “Lifestyle” to enter it with eyes wide open.

“The lifestyle isn't for everyone. You're not going to force your spouse into it and it end well. There are a lot of negative things that go along with this but it can be a very positive thing if you approach it in an open honest way with open honest communication,” Tony said.

PART THREE

If you have any preconceived notions about what a couple who swings would be like, this story might make you change your mind.

We aren't using their names but their story is different from most in the “Lifestyle.”

"We met at a religious retreat. We met at a youth group. Became friends first actually and became best friends and started dating,” the husband said. “We actually waited over two years to have sex the first time not because of faith necessarily but because we valued the friendship element of our relationship and the bond that we had more than pushing this physical thing.”

The couple describes themselves as open and adventurous. A few years into their marriage, after discussing it at length, they decided to try out swinging. Their first time was at a club like this one that specializes in "the lifestyle" or swinging.

“The first time we ever played with anybody we went into the bathroom and said I love you. No matter what happens if this is the worst decision we've ever made we can survive it as a couple,” the husband said.

They did survive it and they say they liked that first experience, but they say they never lose sight of the potential dangers.

"Our biggest thing is safety and making sure it is not a bad situation,” the husband said.

But swinging is something they say they do enjoy together. "Some couples like to golf together. Other couples do other things. We like to do this because it works for us but it doesn't define us as a couple,” the husband said.

And to those who question their lifestyle, they are very clear.

"Frankly, I don't care what you think. It's mine. It's ours. As long as it works for us and makes us happy, we don't hour decisions, you're not going to hurt ours,” the husband said.

This couple says the lifestyle works for them. In fact, they claim their marriage is better and stronger because of it. "If anything it makes you more intimate with each other, it forces you to communicate more than you would ever even think you could,” the wife said.

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