Swing Free

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Dining at the swingers party. Photo by Jessica Sheldon.


I just shake my head sometimes. At least once a semester, usually more, Salt students find themselves in the most out-of-the-ordinary places. It boggles my mind.

A couple of semesters ago, a student wound up on a deer hunt gone awry. Another semester, a student spent hours if not days in a home overrun with cats, dogs, birds, and who knows what else. Still another navigated an island of warring lobstermen.

Last semester, it was swingers. Julia King produced a story about a weekly swingers party in central Maine. In case you don’t know, swingers are…. well, here’s Julia’s definition:

“A swinger’s party is a place where people go to engage in open sexual activity and just have a good time where they seek support and comfort of friends and a group of people that is just openly accepting of people from all different walks of life.”

On this edition of the Saltcast, Julia talks about recording people making love and her choice not to include the sounds of sex in her story. Have a listen to “Swing Free.”

Cheers, Rob


  1. One Response to “Swing Free”

  2. By Kerry on Sep 11, 2009

    I agree that this is an interesting piece because of what it leaves out. I have to say I didn’t really miss the sex sounds. I agree with the producer that I don’t really want or need to hear grunting and moaning. Maybe some pillow talk would have accomplished the same purpose with more subtlety.

    What I _did_ miss was more than one point of view. I realize that access might have been really difficult with a taboo subject like this, but I wanted to hear the inner voice of Maggie, Nadine’s steady. And Maggie’s husband.

    Maggie presents her relationship with Nadine as the intimacy that she lives for, but it was hard for me to believe in that intimacy because swinging sex doesn’t actually sound very intimate (hedonistic yes, but intimate?).

    So, without those other voices, it’s hard for me as a listener to really believe Maggie. She makes a big statement there at the top of the narrative arc, but there are no scenes to support what she says. So the relationship and the piece sound two dimensional.

    Still, it’s kind of a fascinating piece. I listened to it twice through, but I just felt empty afterwards – no satisfying connection.

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