Sex on TikTok: Madi Brooks swinging scandal and the rise of #SwingTok
You might be familiar with the hashtag #SwingTok that promotes swing culture and has a jaw-dropping viewer base of 735 million
TikToker Brooke Maklin, whose real name is Madi Brooks, recently dominated the headlines for her unabashed admission of her swing lifestyle. Brooks, who has gained immense popularity on TikTok, revealed that she often "shares" her husband with her mother and younger sister. In one of her posts on TikTok, where she goes by the handle @brookemaklin213, she explained that she's more than happy to let her mother sleep with her husband when she's not in the mood for it. The video showed her and her mother posing for the camera as she admitted they were both swingers, shortly before her husband swooped in and grabbed the mother from behind.
While the viral video left most viewers baffled and scandalized, it also garnered millions of likes at the same time. Away from the eyes of critics and the moral police, the swing community has found its new paradise on TikTok. If you are an avid TikTok user, you might be familiar with the hashtag #SwingTok, which has a jaw-dropping viewer base of 735 million. The hashtag is extensively used by the #SwingTok Influencers, a new brand of ad hoc sex coaches who encourage couples to revise the idea of commitment. From Madi Brooks to Krystina Bolin, the swinging community on TikTok is more than thriving under the perfect guise of sex-positivity.
Swing culture dates back to the 1950s
For the uninitiated, swingers are couples who engage in sexual activities with other couples, often exchanging partners or engaging in group sex. They choose to have an open relationship with their partners and sleeping around with others is highly encouraged to preserve the marital bond. The culture is believed to be aligned with the idea of polyamorous relationships.
Swing culture is nothing new to America. In fact, you might be astonished to know that the roots of swinging can be traced back to the 1950s, where California Air Force officers often swapped their wives. The culture has always continued discreetly in secret clubs and private homes, but the emergence of TikTok has catapulted it into a mass fad. However, there is a stark difference between swingers in 2021 and their predecessors. Earlier, swingers chose to keep their sexual deviance secret, but now they wear the badge proudly as an expression of their sexual freedom.
The #SwingTok influencers and ad hoc swing gurus
Take Madi Brooks for instance. “Me and my mom are both swingers and it’s great, you know why? Because when I’m not in the mood I can just let my husband have her," Madi Brooks divulged in her viral TikTok video. “Yeah, I’m that kind of wife. I let my husband have her a couple of times a week.” What's more? Brooks admitted she also let her younger sister "play" with her husband sometimes. “You wanna know how I keep my man happy? I let him play with my little sister," she said.
Brooks is reportedly a school teacher who has a flourishing follower base on TikTok. In some of her other video clips, she introduces some of her pals from the swinging community. There is no prize for guessing how exactly Brooks values her friendship in this close-knit community. Brooks is not alone. Another popular #SwingTok influencer Krystina Bolin revealed herself recently as a swinger and shot to popularity. She and her husband even helped foster a thriving community of swingers on TikTok. Her videos are dedicated to luring others into the swing club while overcoming judgment from society.
Lacey and Dan from the Bible Belt are another proud swinger couple who often have sex with single women (referred to as unicorns) or swap partners with other swing couples. Though their rising popularity on #SwingTok eventually created a rift with their family and friends, they do not wish to stop, according to their conversation with The Daily Beast. Kylie, aka @sexyswingerchic on TikTok, is a 30-year-old mother from Cleveland, Ohio. She claims to be the first-ever woman to come out as a proud swinger on TikTok. "It feels good to know that I was able to talk about it and be so open. I’ve actually inspired some of the other #Swingtok people to be able to post about their lifestyle as well," she revealed.
Did the pandemic cause a rise in swing culture?
Besides #SwingTok, the hashtags #SwingerTok or #TikTokSwing are equally popular. Swingers generally use the pineapple gesture — where they pose with an upside-down pineapple — as a code for inviting other swingers. The upside-down pineapple is now a well-known symbolism in the urban dictionary. However, not many swinger couples seek partners via TikTok. Rather, they use the platform to promote their lifestyle and reassert why they are not the sexual deviants society portrays them to be. Swinging is endorsed on TikTok as a paradigm of sexual emancipation, and #SwingTok helps guide the amateurs in the community.
According to Amy C. Moors, assistant professor of Psychology at Chapman University, the vast shift in people's attitude towards monogamy might have had something to do with being cooped up at home during the pandemic. "We’re still looking at the data now, but preliminary data shows that something unique happened for people who were in long-term, committed relationships. A portion of them decided to open things up. Maybe it’s because they were watching new media at home, and Netflix has a few shows that talk openly and neutrally about non-monogamy. Maybe that sparked people’s fantasies. Also sex toy sales were at an all-time high during lockdowns, so maybe just doing new things with inanimate objects inspired people to say, ‘Hey, let’s think about what sex with someone else would be like,'" Moors shared.
The growing advocacy for swing rights
Despite the growing popularity and acceptance, not all followers of #SwingTok can be proudly open about their sexual activities. Many still continue to be hush-hush about their swinging, given the critical eye of the society, which includes community figures like landlords, neighbors or co-workers in the professional space. Nevertheless, the idea of swinging projected on #SwingTok is something inherently positive and empowering. The life stories and struggles of habitual swingers is portrayed in a way that is not so different from that of a queer rights advocate. That day might not be far when we get to see swinging as an accepted norm in modern society, and TikTok might play a huge role in that.