Transcript for These Couples Say Swinging Makes Their Marriage Stronger
If you and your spouse are allowed to sleep with anyone you want, is that still a marriage? If you are in an open relationship, what kind of message does that send to your children? These are the kinds of weighty issues that participants at the New Orleans swingers convention probably would rather not wrestle with when they're trying to enjoy naked speed dating or bondage class, but ABC's Ryan Owens went and asked them anyway. Reporter: New Orleans knows a good party. And the home of mardi gras really knows a good parade. This is a swinger pride parade. We're going to show the world that we're proud of who we are. Reporter: But even the big easy has never seen one like this. Hold on tight. We're about to roll down bourbon street, baby. Reporter: Welcome to the first ever swingers pride parade. Down a busy bourbon street. Yes, couples who sleep with others with the full consent and often full cooperation of their partners. The pride parade is just a tiny and tame example of what you'll find at naughty in n'awlins, an annual swingers convention. "Nightline" got an all-access pass. So, naked speed dating? Yeah, today is naked speed dating. Reporter: At least as much access as we could handle. First thing is bondage. Reporter: Of this year's gathering of 1,300 swingers from around the country, all based at a boar bone street hotel. Among them, 28-year-old Holli and 37-year-old mychal bell. They have been married two years and swinging longer than that. How does it not ruin a marriage to be with all these other people? Not everyone that's a swinger is sexually involved with other people. You know? And if she was with another man, I'm okay with that, as long as it's a decision that Holli made personally. Being a swinger is about a community, where you can be with wonderful people that have an open mind. Don't hurt anybody. Reporter: It turns out Michael and Holli are sort of the brad and Angelina of this convention. At the end of the day, it's about us. We're 100% emotionally Mon nothing mouse. We're not worried. Reporter: Isn't that sort of taking the easy way out? Absolutely. Reporter: I'm totally Mon nothing mouse with you but I'm going to screw everybody we want. We're not. There's rules. There's boundaries. Michael, my gorgeous wife Holli. Reporter: They host the show "Swing" in its fourth season on "Playboy TV." And they've become ambassadors of the lifestyle. Early on, we also meet John and Jackie Melfi. Married swingers from Dallas. They're getting a sneak peek at the sex play rooms at the hotel. Play in that white room tomorrow night. Reporter: Complete with 65 mattresses the convention asset up. This one's nice. They do a really good job setting these up. Reporter: For the melfis, this convention is more business than pleasure. They own swingers clubs in Dallas and one here in new Orleans. Are you really married if you can just sleep with whoever you want? Is that really a marriage? Absolutely. Absolutely. I don't have to stop loving him in order to have feelings for someone else. And that's pretty spectacular. Reporter: You guys are not just swingers, you're parents. What about that? Don't you worry about being role models to your kids and what they might think of this? I think we're good role models. We instill in our children honesty between your spouse and everyone. And that's really important, I think, in growing up and becoming an adult. I'm here to tell the world, I'm a kinky guy. Reporter: The next day, we catch up with bob Hannaford, the event's organizer and our tour guy into a world unlike anything you've seen. We've taken the meeting space and changed it into something magical. Reporter: Every night at 11:00 sharp, these play rooms open up for couples to explore. Reporter: What exactly goes on in here? Anything that people want to go on in here. Reporter: For bob, the swinger lifestyle is a full-time job. With a staff of seven, he runs a number of so-called couples cruises. And he's hired 45 people to help run this convention. People will come in here and they can leave it open, which is more inviting. They're saying, we're open to people joining us. Reporter: I want people to understand, this is just a regular meeting room. Next week, they'll be guys selling insurance in here. There were conference tables in here yesterday. Reporter: And now beds. How many rooms are there like this? The entire floor. Reporter: A lot of people think, this is just an excuse to cheat on their spouse. Cheaters don't tell their spouse. These people are here together. I think that's the big difference. Reporter: But doesn't the act of swinging, doesn't that threaten marriage as we know it? Think about how many divorces there are. And most of it is infidelity. This is not infidelity. They're doing it together. How many people are breaking up every day? Reporter: Back now to the seminars. 20 in all. Things like naked speed dating and bondage for beginners. Sure. Reporter: This is the layout of the day. We'll head to naked speed dating next. Reporter: Demand is so high, they have to close it off. It's full. You have to get here early. Reporter: Some people might think everybody here is an Adonis or bash bea. There's all shapes and sizes. I know. We have couples in their 20s, couples in their 70s. And we have big, we have small, we have everything in between. We're just society. Reporter: Just a little more Na naked. We head to another seminar. Wrong dungeon. There's the maid. What kind of tip do you leave her? A few doors down, we find the introductory bondage class. This is my assistant dolly. And bondage can be a fun thing. Reporter: All of these classes, we should point out, emphasize safe sex. Once you have them in an interesting place, you can work with the fear. Reporter: He also just said he has a class tomorrow on flogging, which is even more intense, apparently. Most of these couples have been to the convention before. Many have been swinging for decades. But we did find some newbies. Lisa and Jake green from new York City got married just two years ago. We're both in our mid 20s. If we live to 80, that's a lot of years with the same person. So, looking for excitement and keep things different. Yeah, we feel like this is the perfect time to start exploring what we're into. Reporter: It seems like this could easily ruin a marriage, especially a new one. Are you worried about that? No, not at all. Because we communicate really well and if any of us were ever uncomfortable with something, we would just stop. It's brought us closer so far. Yeah. Reporter: That's sort of the party line here, that opening up a relationship can strengthen it. Surprisingly, many of the women here told us it's oddly liberating. It's very empowering, as a woman, to step outside of that man's world and do something for myself. And not only do it for myself, but then to receive affirmation from him, it had me hooked from that. Reporter: And clearly, she's not the only one. Remember Michael and holholli? They had a busy weekend. There's tons of stories we can tell. Reporter: Even the strongest advocates of swinging warn couples, this will not fix a bad marriage. It will expose the problems and people who weren't communicating are going to get even worse and they're going to end. Reporter: But for thousands, maybe millions of couples, this works. And they aren't shy about showing it off. I'm Ryan Owens for "Nightline" in New Orleans.
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