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A swolly is a person who identifies as both a swinger and a member of the polyamorous community in that they have multiple relationships simultaneously and also enjoy recreational sex. The term is a portmanteau of the words swinger and poly/polly, a common abbreviation of polyamorous. Ken Haslam of the Kinsey Institute, a renowned polyamory activist, coined the term.
Many people who identify as swollies balance their lifestyle choices with monogamous relationships. Swinging provides the excitement of casual sex while poly relationships offer the benefits of commitment and security, without the confines of a monogamous relationship.
Swinging and polyamory are closely related, as both involve alternatives to monogamy. However, many swingers only participate in their non-monogamous activities as part of a couple and do not want to form close relationships with people outside this couple. Similarly, many polyamorous people do not enjoy the more casual sexual encounters found in the swinging community. For these reasons, it’s a common misconception that all swingers are polyamorous and that all poly people are swingers.
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