I always assumed that people just used the swinger sites. Everyone who was swinging had a profile and they were out there. So when I see 77,000 possible profiles on a site, that must be how many swingers there are in the U.S. Right? Wrong.
Not only do a lot of swingers not use the websites, but a lot of people don’t even know about them. Or they’re intimidated by them. Or they tried one and didn’t like it so they just quit. Well, we currently have a profile on two different sites, and each has it’s strengths and weaknesses. Although I do believe that one is superior to the other.
The two sites that we have tried in the past, and are currently trying, are Swing Lifestyle, heretofore referred to as SLS, and Swinger Zone Central, or SZC. They function in pretty much the same manner, but they couldn’t look much different.
First there is SLS. When you login this is what you see. The menu bar on the left side of the screen, circled here in blue, allows you to see who is currently logged in (for the stalker in all of us), has a search button, a chat function, forums, and so on. The indicator that tells you if you have mail or not is on the upper right, circled here in black. It’s small and inconspicuous. If you have mail there will be a little gif of a bird carrying an envelope there, along with a number indicating how many messages you have. Because of the bird you will see, in profiles, that people will say things such as, “If you want to chat, send us a bird!” There is always a horizontal bar that features one of their proprietary events, like the Vegas Exchange or a Bliss Cruise. And there are also your newest matches, circled here in green. Basically the site uses some sort of algorithm to determine who you might possibly like. It’s not a very good one and seems to be predicated mostly on distance.
The SZC homepage looks like this:
It has a darker screen, and looks more polished and professional, in my opinion. But you know what? You can make just about anything look good. It doesn’t mean it is. I’ve seen sites more attractive than this that completely sucked. Fortunately, along with the polished look comes a friendly interface. It looks almost like the apps on your smartphone, and I don’t believe that’s on accident. It’s an interface we’re all comfortable with. One of my favorite things is the “Who’s Viewed” icon, circled here in yellow. It allows you to see who has viewed your profile since the last time you were online. Stalk me, will you?!?! I’ll stalk you right back. It’s the digital equivalent to making eye contact with someone in a club. It’s that first sign of interest, or at least curiosity. Below that is a gallery request icon, circled here in red. This indicates that someone has requested to see your private photos. You also receive an inbox indicating the same, and can accept or deny in either you mailbox or in this icon. Gallery requesting is a fickle thing. Most people find it a major turn off if you request to see someone’s private pictures without ever sending a message of greeting first. It’s a sure-fire way to strike out before you even get up to bat. There is also an icon indicating a meet request, circled here in green. I liken this to the wink and smile you give someone after you make that eye contact. Up at the top, circled in purple, is your search button, which will take you to another screen, and finally, way at the top, circled in orange, is a really handy feature. It tells you how many days are left in your subscription. Unless you are a lifetime member, or are on autorenew, you have to make sure you re-up every so often. This little reminder helps ensure you don’t lose your paid status. SLS simply sends an inbox message. The winner here, in my opinion, is SZC.
Once you decide to search, what do you see? Well, it depends on which site you use.
The SLS search page is no-nonsense and pretty plain. However, it is functional and has a decent level of customization. It allows you to filter by smokers and drinkers, which can be handy if that is your bugaboo. It also allows you to search from any location simply by specifying a zip code. SZC also allows you to do this, but it is a bit more cumbersome.
The SZC search page is a bit more visually appealing. The search criteria are nearly the same. However, one thing I really like is the ability to not only search according to your own preferences, but also according to the preferences of other users. Only looking for those who are interested in couples? Then specify that in the “Will Meet” drop down menu, circled here in red. You can also customize how many results show up per page, which is nice, but not a huge deal with our superfast internet connections.
How about profiles? A good profile can make or break your online experience. Don’t believe me? Go ahead and do a search and start opening them. Wait, why are you skipping that one? And that one? Notice how certain ones grab your eye while others don’t? So does everyone else.
Profiles really breakdown into 2 parts. The top part, pictured here from SLS, features username, location, height, weight, age, sexual orientation, and some pictures. This particular user has photos, but not a profile pic. Big mistake. Doesn’t really grab you, does it? A nice picture would probably grab your attention. The menu bar, circled here in red, allows you to send mail to the person, friend request them, certify them (meaning you have either met them, talked to them, or even played with them, and therefore can vouche for them), block them if they’re a creep, take notes (this person is a douche, don’t talk to them) or even report them.
The SZC profile look similar, but includes a little more information. In addition to the standard height, weight, age and orientation, it includes hair color (in case you’re a ginger lover), body type, eye color, and preferences. It even tells you what they are interested in. There is a tool bar at the top that is similar to the one on SLS. They call it validating instead of certifying, but you get the picture. Again, pictures are huge. You can also click the thumbs up or down, circled here in green, if you are interested in meeting someone. I’ve never used it. If I want to meet someone, I send a message. But I’m wacky like that.
The bottom portion of the profile, if you make it this far, is probably the most important, and easiest to screw up. There are some fields to fill out. Leave it blank, and you won’t get any interest. Write too much and it guarantees that most won’t read it. Spelling and grammar are more important than you think. Have boundaries? Put that here. But don’t be shocked if people try to go around them. Admittedly our profile is too long, but we like it that way. If words scare you, we probably aren’t your couple. Plus, I’m hilarious. But you already knew that, didn’t you?
The SZC written portion is pretty similar to the SLS one. It just has a few more fields. No biggie.
Having used both of these sites for a few years now, I have to say that I like the overall fit and finish of the SZC site a little better. However, SLS is simple, functional, and has a forum section that I didn’t mention earlier. The forum section can be fascinating, and if you need a support group of people to ask for advice, it’s a big plus. I’ve gone on there a few times, and it is entertaining. But it’s not a deal breaker for me.
When creating your profile, don’t be afraid to state what you want. What you won’t accept. What your limitations or boundaries are. Otherwise, how are others to know? Ultimately it will give you a better online experience and will likely lead to a more successful attempt at meeting others. Don’t be afraid to tell us what you think of our review!