Dubai: A Dubai based psychologist has warned of a disturbing trend of partner swapping among couples living in the UAE.
Dr Roghy McCarthy, Clinical Psychologist of the Counselling and Development Clinic in Dubai, who is currently counselling four couples of different nationalities, told XPRESS that these couples had engaged in sexual activities with other couples in the privacy of their homes or social clubs abroad.
She has counselled 10 such cases over the past five years in the UAE.
The French doctor said swinging couples in a committed relationship like a marriage usually agree to engage in sexual activities with other couples for a variety of reasons which may not be the same for both partners.
Some do it for variety or curiosity while others look at it as a social interaction to satisfy their or their partners' sexual desires.
"The agreement is usually mutual but in most cases I have dealt with, one of the partners is a victim. One of them floats the idea and the other agrees just to keep the so-called marriage going for fear of breaking up the marriage for the sake of the children, financial comfort or social stigma of divorce," she said, noting that the couples are usually well-off.
Dr McCarthy said the couples come from different nationalities and are above the age of 20. "They are caught in an unequal marriage where one is ready to do anything to be accepted by the other."
Swinging is common in the West and does not involve money, she said, noting that it reflects a combination of voyeurism and exhibitionism, besides a deep sense of emotional insecurity among those involved.
"Couples come to us for marriage counselling and we chance upon their swinging when they open up about their intimacy," she said.
"Some do it on a regular basis which could be one to two times a month while others have indulged in it at some point in their lives."
"The partners do not connect with each other emotionally. They have no love or respect for one another, only a sense of emptiness which they seek to fill," she said.
"The victim in the relationship needs to gain self-esteem and confidence to be able to say no," said Dr McCarthy, noting the moral, physical and health-related dangers of such activities.