Beneath their conservative facade Waikato suburbs have been a hotbed of swinging for years, says the owner of a new partner-swapping venue in central Hamilton.
Louise Colton opened Club 52 in Victoria St last night – a new bar billed as a "classy, erotic lounge bar for adults" which is the city's first specifically for swingers.
"It's a swingers' club. As soon as you say that people know exactly what you're talking about," Ms Colton said. The business offers an upmarket venue for swinging Waikato couples to meet like-minded others and has been eight years in the making, she said. Couples will pay $100 for entry and the bar is not for the merely curious.
"It's a really relaxed, comfortable environment, and the only people in here will be people who think the same way you do. You're paying for that environment and atmosphere. It's not like the singles scene," Ms Colton said.
"Anyone who is purely curious won't pay the door fee," said the former swinger, who called the bar a business venture like any other and a response to an unfilled demand.
Single women can pay $40 for entry but single men need to be accompanied by a couple and will pay $60. The venue had been sited away from the city's existing nightlife to avoid accidental tourists becoming a nuisance.
Auckland boasted several swingers' clubs, with others in Wellington and Christchurch. Club 52 was aimed at people who had to either travel or invite friends to swingers' parties.
Ms Colton said she had enjoyed swinging with a long-term partner for six years but since that relationship ended she had not been interested and the bar was a business for her.
While coy on specifics about what would occur in the bar, she said sexual activity would happen.
The bar had strict rules for behaviour, including safe sex.
"It's a safe environment, nothing bad can happen to them in an environment like this. It's done in a classy, upmarket way with no sleaze at all," she said.
But swinging was not for everyone.
"You really do have to have a good relationship. If you're a jealous person and don't like other people looking at or touching your partner, don't swing," Ms Colton said.
Clinical psychologist and sex specialist Robyn Salisbury said swinging was often an alternative to people taking responsibility for their relationships by learning new emotional and sexual skills to stop it going stale.
"The difficulty is that the heart and genitals are connected. It's easy to fall in love or get involved with someone else. It might work for some people but I don't think they would have a relationship I'd want."
- Waikato Times
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