Fabswingers: Inside the sex hookup website FabSwingers
“Hey miss saucy panties, how you doing?” is one of the many messages gracing my FabSwingers mailbox. Tyler*, a “9×6.5 beast looking for fun” is objectively hot. He has the type of body that could get him cast on Love Island, but his chat is as dry as my “saucy panties” are right now.
FabSwingers is the “web’s first, busiest and best free swingers site”, with over 200,000 unique members. Since its inception in 2006, it has evolved from an online partner-swapping site to the mecca of casual hookups. FabSwingers is “fun, free and fabulous”, and the perfect antidote to millennial dating apps and sites. With forums, meet-ups, live cams, chatrooms and public photos, your libido is spoiled for choice.
There are an estimated 130,000 active users online at all times, but for such a popular hookup site it’s shrouded in mystery. It doesn’t have the same social media lure as the likes of Tinder or Bumble, so I signed up to see what the fuss was about.
How Fabswingers works
There’s no swiping on FabSwingers, nor photos of men on holiday in Thailand posing next to a sedated tiger. In fact, the site looks like it’s stuck in 1999. I’m partial to a good throwback, but I’m not Meg Ryan and this isn’t You’ve Got Mail. The user experience has as much sex appeal as a Gumtree classified, but the sheer amount of salaciousness on the site more than makes up for that. It’s the virtual embodiment of horniness, as free of stigma as it is full of POV backshots (I wonder how many of them were uploaded consensually). Definitely not the place for pearl-clutching.
To sign up you have to answer a few basic questions like date of birth, gender, sexuality and what you’re looking for. You also have to fill in an “interests” section and select all the things you’re into, whether it’s dogging, watersports, oral or what have you.
The site specifically asks that you don’t use your real name, and FabSwingers’ terms say that users must not publish any content which identifies other people except with their explicit written consent. So I go for Luna93 as my username-a little Myspace-y, I’ll admit. In hindsight I should have gone with something flirtier, like LunaLoveDick… a missed opportunity to tap into a possible Harry Potter fetish community.
Despite the anonymity behind the name, one of the most impressive features on FabSwingers is the photo verification process. You have to take a photo of yourself holding up a piece of paper with your username and “fabswingers” on it in order to get verified. It feels a little ransom-y but it’s a layer of security that many online dating platforms lack.
“I like the concept of photo verification, it makes it feel safer,” says Anna*, 35, who has been on FabSwingers with her husband for eight years. “My husband and I were looking for a way to spice things up, we had talked about threesomes before. We liked that people were verified on Fab, made it seem less dodgy.”
She tells me that although their expectations weren’t high, she met up with people from FabSwingers. “It was weird, nerve-wracking, but very exhilarating. Over the next few months, we met men two or three times a week, usually different ones, when we felt horny we’d invite someone round. It got a bit addictive, so we stopped for a while. Then we had a baby so swinging wasn’t really a priority. I felt a bit down, so when our baby was two my husband suggested we start again. Only this time we didn’t want random encounters, we were looking for a few people we could get to know, and have semi regular fun with I suppose.”