Created By: TrustBen on November 15, 2011 Last Edited By: TrustBen on March 18, 2016

Spousal Swap Meet

Party or gathering where couples trade partners

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Trope
Trope that started to crowd into public consciousness in The '70s. Married or otherwise seemingly monogamous couples get together for the purposes of having sex with the others' partners. A popular variation is the "key party", where (usually) the wife picks the car keys of another husband out of a pile. One name for this in the U.S. was Wife Swapping Party (obviously named from the male perspective).

Examples

  • A feature of the CBS Short Runner Swingtown.
  • The key party variety shows up in the novel and film The Ice Storm.
  • Radiohead tackle the subject in their song "House of Cards."
  • The key party variant is seen in Wanted (it's how the protagonist's parents met).
  • One of Roald Dahl's adult stories (can't remember the name) has a guy fascinated by his neighbor's wife (his own wife following All Women Are Prudes), so he spins an intricate web of lies and subtle hints to get the neighbor to agree to a wife-swap while thinking it was his own idea. On the morning after the swap, he is completely devastated to discover that the neighbor was a much better partner, and that he was the only one responsible responsible for his wife's lack of enthusiasm.
  • A spousal-swap party takes place in the movie Summer Of Sam, attended by two of the main characters as a means of trying to help their marriage. It doesn't work.
  • These types of gatherings are among the central plot of the early porn movie The Resurrection Of Eve, starring Marilyn Chambers.
  • All American Orgy uses this as a central plot device. Although, things don't go as planned.
  • Kitty and Red accidentally end up attending they key party version in (what else?) That '70s Show. They are appalled when they realize where they are.
  • In a flashback to the late sixties/early seventies on The Venture Bros., Jonas Sr. is seen hosting one of these. David Bowie is one of the attendees.
  • Aki Sora: In chapter six, Runa talks Sora into posing as her boyfriend in order to get into a couples party she'd been invited to. It seems innocent enough until it's revealed to be a gathering for swingers that turns into a full blown orgy. Runa not only has Sora watch as she gives up her virginity, she has sex with all the guys present, excluding him. Not that Sora was left unattended by the other girls.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus. In one restaurant sketch the head waiter said "I met my second wife at a second-wife-swapping party. Trust me to arrive late."
  • There's a key party in, of all places, the live-action version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas!.
  • Sam and Annie go undercover at a key party in Life on Mars.
  • The Simpsons: In a flashback Homer & Marge went to a key party, not knowing what it was. Kirk & Luann Van Hauten also attend; Luann gets the keys of Dr. Hibbard. Characteristically, Kirk winds up with the key to the Dr. Hibbert's parrot cage.
  • Very common (naturally) in Literotica stories, especially in the "Loving Wives" section.
  • A common plot point in Netorare Genre (aka "cuckold") stories, and a very, very volatile subject to write in that context. The plots typically start with a married couple that timidly show up at a swingers club to add some "spice" to their relationship. One of them (usually the wife) has sex with one or more of the persons present and really, really likes it. Over the rest of the story, the wife finds herself craving more and more extramarital sex while the husband tries to convince her to stop. Usually, the wife's lover(s) are superior to her husband (sometimes not just sexually, but in every conceivable way) and she either ends up divorcing her spouse, getting pregnant by her lover, or turned into a sex slave. Stories in which men are the seduced party do happen, but they are more rare.
  • Saturday Night Live: The first sketch about Horatio Sanz's Recurring Character Carol is at a key party. Carol takes all the keys for herself.
  • According to IMDB, the 2013 film Key Party.
As a way to improve their love life, a couple decides to attend a key party which provides disastrous results for their marriage.
  • My Name Is Earl: In one of the many flashbacks, we see Earl's dad (whom young Earl has dosed with Vicodin in order to make him mellow out) try to turn his birthday party into a key party.
  • A sketch in Oh! Calcutta! involves a couple new to swinging meeting up with an old couple, who have been involved so long that they're from a time when it used to be called "wife swappin'."
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus also had a sketch treating wife-swapping as a spectator sport.

Community Feedback Replies: 23
  • November 15, 2011
    Chabal2
    • The key party variant is seen in Wanted (it's how the protagonist's parents met).
    • One of Roald Dahl's adult stories (can't remember the name) has a guy fascinated by his neighbor's wife (his own wife following All Women Are Prudes), so he spins an intricate web of lies and subtle hints to get the neighbor to agree to a wife-swap while thinking it was his own idea. On the morning after the swap, he is completely devastated to discover that the neighbor was a much better partner, and that he was the only one responsible responsible for his wife's lack of enthusiasm.
  • November 15, 2011
    LuxExterior
    For Film:

    • A spousal-swap party takes place in the movie Summer Of Sam, attended by two of the main characters as a means of trying to help their marriage. It doesn't work.
    • These types of gatherings are among the central plot of the early porn movie The Resurrection Of Eve, starring Marilyn Chambers.
  • November 15, 2011
    ChunkyDaddy
    • All American Orgy uses this as a central plot device. Although, things don't go as planned.
  • November 15, 2011
    Psychobabble6
    Kitty and Red accidentally end up attending they key party version in (what else?) That 70's Show. They are appalled when they realize where they are.
  • November 15, 2011
    TrustBen
    Ooh, thanks for reminding me, Psychobabble6. Walter Skinner invited them.
  • November 15, 2011
    SmashingMelons42
  • November 15, 2011
    MiinU

    Manga

  • November 16, 2011
    Arivne
    One name for this in the U.S. was Wife Swapping Party (obviously named from the male perspective).

    Live Action TV
    • Monty Pythons Flying Circus. In one restaurant sketch the head waiter said "I met my second wife at a second-wife-swapping party. Trust me to arrive late."
  • November 16, 2011
    TonyG
    Most people are familiar with the term "key party". Have that as a redirect at least.
  • November 16, 2011
    GinaInTheKingsRoad
    Sam and Annie go undercover at a key party in Life On Mars.
  • November 16, 2011
    TrustBen
    Good idea, Tony G. Definitely a Key Party redirect if this survives launch.
  • February 8, 2012
    KingZeal
    • Very common (naturally) in Literotica stories, especially in the "Loving Wives" section.
    • A common plot point in Netorare Genre (aka "cuckold") stories, and a very, very volatile subject to write in that context. The plots typically start with a married couple that timidly show up at a swingers club to add some "spice" to their relationship. One of them (usually the wife) has sex with one or more of the persons present and really, really likes it. Over the rest of the story, the wife finds herself craving more and more extramarital sex while the husband tries to convince her to stop. Usually, the wife's lover(s) are superior to her husband (sometimes not just sexually, but in every conceivable way) and she either ends up divorcing her spouse, getting pregnant by her lover, or turned into a sex slave. Stories in which men are the seduced party do happen, but they are more rare.
  • February 8, 2012
    randomsurfer
    • The Simpsons: In a flashback Homer & Marge went to a key party, not knowing what it was. Kirk & Luann Van Hauten also attend; Luann gets the keys of Dr. Hibbard.
    • Saturday Night Live: The first sketch about Horatio Sanz's Recurring Character Carol is at a key party. Carol takes all the keys for herself.
    • According to IMDB, the 2013 film Key Party.
      As a way to improve their love life, a couple decides to attend a key party which provides disastrous results for their marriage.
  • February 8, 2012
    jate88
    Couldn't the Netorare Genre be put into the description as another variation or split off into its own trope?
  • February 8, 2012
    KeithTyler
    Isn't this just called "swinging?" q.v. "swingers".
  • February 12, 2012
    randomsurfer
    • My Name Is Earl: In one of the many flashbacks, we see Earl's dad (whom young Earl has dosed with Vicodin in order to make him mellow out) try to turn his birthday party into a key party.
    • A sketch in Oh Calcutta involves a couple new to swinging meeting up with an old couple, who have been involved so long that they're from a time when it used to be called "wife swappin'."
  • February 19, 2012
    Prfnoff
    Monty Pythons Flying Circus also had a sketch treating wife-swapping as a spectator sport.
  • February 24, 2012
    abk0100
    Is there a reason you aren't using the term "swingers"?
  • February 25, 2012
    MorganWick
    Swingers are slightly different. I thought we had a swinger trope or Useful Notes, but I guess we don't. But read through Polyamory and Ethical Slut.
  • March 3, 2012
    TrustBen
    ^^ What Morgan Wick said. Basically the proposed trope is more about the social gatherings than the polyamorous lifestyle.
  • March 18, 2016
    DAN004
    So "Swingers Gathering"?
  • March 18, 2016
    BKelly95
    Video Games
    • In Grand Theft Auto Vice City, this is implied in the radio commercial for Domestobot.
      Domestobot: Put your keys in the bowl and the fun will begin.
  • March 18, 2016
    MiinU
    Wow. I'd completely forgotten about this one.

    Anyhoo, some of the examples in the OP lack context. The first three basically amount to: 'this show had one'.
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