Guest writer The Secret Swinger lifts the curtain of one of Merseyside’s most intriguing spaces, and wonders why partner-swapping is still an alien concept to many.

There are around fifty swingers’ clubs in the UK. Offering seven days-a-week escapism, I’ve had sex in many of them. And one of the best venues, you may be surprised to learn, is somewhere in the nether regions between Birkenhead and Bromborough.

A relatively new phenomenon, swinging clubs evolved during the mid 1990s from specialist nightclubs such as London’s Sex Maniacs’ Ball which were initially introduced as an outlet to allow voyeuristic and exhibitionist lovers of fetishwear to dress up and admire one another. In a short time, the night had become a thinly-veiled excuse for all and sundry to turn up and behave naughtily with each other in dark corners.

By the mid 1990s, I was vaguely aware of so-called ‘libertinage’ clubs in Paris – deliciously Bohemian venues which provided consenting couples a safe place in which to socialise and then swap partners; which of course couples had been doing at those car-key house parties since provincial permissiveness had become socially acceptable in the early 1970s.

Changing public perceptions over the last decade have more or less very quietly decriminalised certain brothels and other selected ‘places of ill repute’, so that hosting a club where people get naked and have sex with one another has moved into the realms of hushed acceptability.

Birkenhead’s Townhouse has been open for swinging since 2005 with themed nights. You’ll find over 50s specials, BDSM, ‘radical desire’, uniforms and more. But what does that actually involve? People really do actually have sex and swap partners here, right?

Husband & wife managers (and swingers themselves), Lee and Kat, burst into laughter. “Oh yes!” they agree in unison.

Er, but people don’t just turn up and dive straight into an orgy, do they?

“No, not at all,” explains Lee. “Swingers enjoy the social aspect of swinging as much as the sex, and so it would be a typical night where people often just spend the first few hours catching up with friends and meeting new ones. Then maybe after, say, 11pm, people might begin disappearing upstairs. Our nights are very friendly and very social so strangers to the club tend to fit in pretty quickly.”

I must personally admit that the social aspect of swinging surprised me at first. I recall that being a newbie is nerve-wracking beforehand, but once you’re there, swinger clubs are actually surprisingly friendly and welcoming places.


Lee smiles broadly. “We get newcomers all the time. Some may just want to watch other people in action and be voyeurs. Some may want to just hang out around the bar and soak up the sexually charged atmosphere in the club together, and others may feel so comfortable on their first visit to actually take part. But the main thing I will say is that nobody is ever expected to do anything or coerced into doing anything if they don’t want to, and that’s not just the case for new members.”

Does that mean some of your regular swingers don’t actually swing?

Kat’s already shaking her head. “Not everyone who goes to a swingers club is into full swap (both partners having sex with other people). Swinging is multifaceted and members might typically start off with gentle play, like sitting naked in our hot tub while chatting to other members, and then push their boundaries little by little over the course of a few visits. A swinging relationship evolves like any other relationship, and I would definitely recommend that new members talk openly before they arrive about their boundaries.”

I have to agree. I suspect swinger couples tend to be excellent communicators because you really do need to talk before you swing. So, let’s assume a couple has chatted about their dos and don’ts and have decided to bite the bullet. What can they expect? How many other people will be there, for a start? Kat beams.

“We have lots of different nights at Townhouse and the numbers really do depend on the event. We have quieter nights for those who want something more low key, and then busier nights for those who like more of a party atmosphere. So, for example, our Fridays and Saturdays are busiest, with maybe 40-plus couples coming to our end of month party Saturday. Just over 100 people came to our Halloween party night, comprising over forty couples with a few single males and females too.”


That’s a point. Swinging isn’t just about couples. What’s your policy on single men and single women attending the Townhouse?

“We generally restrict the numbers of single guys because supply can be high, and having too many single guys in attendance would upset the balance and atmosphere of the club,” says Lee. “Single ladies do attend the Townhouse but there aren’t quite so many of those. Even so, the Townhouse is a popular swinging venue and we may get up to five or six single ladies on a busy night.”

One thing I’ve always wondered is, are swinging clubs actually legal? The thought has never stopped me from going, but I guess I’ve always had it in the back of my mind. Kat goes all business-like and efficient on me for a second. “Yes, swinging clubs are legal, as long as they have local authority permission for a club to operate. So it depends on the local area. There are some cities in the UK which have swinging clubs in abundance, whereas others don’t have any at all.”

Speaking of a permissive-based society (kind of), I figure Lee and Kat are well placed to comment on the effects of swinging on people’s relationships. There must be risks to relationships, surely? Or do they subscribe to that dusty old adage, ‘couples who play together, stay together?’

“I would say that can be true if the couple are absolutely secure,” says Kat. “I reckon any swinging couples who have been on the scene for a long time are most likely very much in love and have got their boundaries sussed.”


Lee agrees. “Both parties must want the same thing and the relationship has to be solid, I think. There is no way in the world that swinging would help a relationship that was already in trouble.”

“Swinging is a recreational activity,” adds Kat. “It brings a new dimension to a relationship and can be very exciting indeed. But swinging should never be tried to replace something that is missing in a healthy relationship. It works best when it’s an addition to a strong and loving relationship. Oh, and we actively promote safe sex for our members if they’re going to swap, and provide free condoms.”

Wise words, indeed. I recollect that when I’ve swung with my long-term partners in the past I have, perhaps paradoxically, felt closer to them afterwards. They sneak a look at each other.

“It’s made another connection between us,” says Kat. “The way we see it is, we have an amazing sex life and we can share that with other people who equally have amazing sex lives. Swinging can be a wonderful experience for people who are connected, horny and love sex… it’s a no brainer for us.”

And what about jealousy?

“We are solid in our own relationship,” says Lee. “If Kat is having sex with someone else and having a good time, then so am I. We share that experience with honesty and respect for each other. And that works both ways; we know that the other couple are enjoying us as much as we are enjoying them. When we go home after a ‘meet’ we have the best ‘after sex’ ever. It’s a huge turn on.”

I logged on to just one of the big UK swinging websites and searched for men, women and couple swingers aged between 21 and 70 looking for a swinging meet, and who were registered as living within the Liverpool postcode. About 1,000 profiles were returned in my results.

So why is swinging such a taboo hobby to admit to? And why do some people look down on us if they find out we do it?

“Swingers aren’t bad people,” says Kat carefully. “We’re living our lives to the fullest, being true to ourselves and not hurting anyone else in the process.”

The Secret Swinger is the author of the “I am the Secret Swinger” trilogy, currently available on Amazon for Kindle and Kindle apps, with free chapters available in the Look Inside feature. Adults only.

For more information on the Townhouse, click here

25 Responses to “Behind the scenes at Townhouse: Wirral’s swinger hotspot”

  1. I’ve been to townhouse many times and other clubs too. At first your expectations maybe grubby seedy places with creepy men, although a few of them do exist the majority are spotless, friendly and most of all fun. Townhouse as you can see from the pictures is very plush and even if you don’t want to swing its a great social place to meet new friends. They hold great events and well worth a visit. Btw I’m a single lady who’s had some great evenings at swinging clubs. Don’t knock it until you try it ; )

  2. ManchesterGirl

    I’m a single girl and I am a member of Townhouse, as well as a few clubs in Manchester. It seems there’s lots of positive press for the scene lately, it seems to be becoming something of a trend in fact! Glad to see people have an increasingly good and healthy attitude to sex. I wonder what the other poster below who says its filthy and disgusting takes offence to exactly? The fact there are houses in the area seems to be a problem for that person, why? What’s the difference in consensual adults having sex in a clean and safe environment than someone having a threesome in their semi detached?

  3. lol…yes there are houses just 100 yards away….are the people living nuns? Do they not have sex in those houses?! The area is quite well known for people on the dole and druggies…so it’s ok for people snort coke but not have sex. How very strange! lol

  4. To the negative comment below:
    The club has been establised for 10 years now and is closely monitored by the council, licensing office and police. In all of that time, we have had to call the police three times and that is not because of trouble in the club, it was because of the local scallywag kids making a nuisance around the properties in the trading estate. We spotted them on cctv. The police only visited a few days ago actually to do a spot check and they told us that we are the least of their problems as we never call them out, we never get complaints, we never have people falling out of the club drunk and disorderly and we keep ourselves to ourselves. Do you know why? Because we are respectful, professional people who want to keep our private life private. Look around you…at the teachers, the doctors, the solictors, the police, the civil servants…pillars of the community some would say? Yes they absolutely are AND they are members of our club.
    Yes there are houses further up the road. What do you think we do? Parade drunk and naked through the streets?! hahahaha…no the locals do that for us!

  5. As someone who has visited the Townhouse since it opened, I can confirm that it is a safe and welcoming place which is not at all seedy. It did get a bit stale after the original owner left, but since the current owners have taken it on they have invested significantly in the building, created a quality bar area and updated the other facilities, as well as introducing some new and different events which attract a diverse group of friendly people. It is true that there is a negative perception of swinging among some people who think it is all about throwing car keys in a fruit bowl, but that is far from the truth. What you get is people of all ages, all backgrounds and all social classes coming together to explore their sexual desires in an environment where no-one makes judgements about each other. I have had some unforgettable nights at the Townhouse, and I wish it every success for the future.

  6. Callie08

    This place should be closed down its like a private orgy house for vicky and jims friends. If your face doesn’t fit your out. So so cliquey

  7. Callie08: I have not seen any cliques under the current owners, in marked contrast to other clubs I have been to. I am not a friend of the owners, so that blows you theory about a “private orgy house”. Can’t really understand why a social worker is facing a conflict of interest if they visit it. They are entitled to do what they want in their spare time.

  8. Nicola

    Wow, I love the fact that this place exists and I live in port sunlight and drive past it most days! Good on you Kat and Lee, ignore the naysayers, you’re clearly doing a fab job! May have to check it out myself one day….

  9. Callie08

    Thanks for the replies you are right I should be concentrating on my recovery but I feel part of that was being able to put my side across. I now understand this will never happen. Goodbye and every success with your club because yes I did enjoy it and yes maybe I was put out when being banned when I have always behaved myself when there never causing any trouble. It was a personal issue that started this that I tried over and over again to resolve but I was hit with a brick wall. Goodbye and take care x

  10. Hi I’m am planning a few day break away from Ireland in the nx few weeks how can 2 single men 40 & 42 yrs old book into your place without any hassle can you please let me know thanks