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If you and your partner enjoy recreational sex and emotional intimacy, you might be Swolly! Swolly is a form of consensual non-monogamy where a couple is open to both polysexual and polyamorous relationships.  Are you Swolly?  Tune in to find out. 

But first, mix up a Tennessee Peach, this episode’s sweet and sophisticated cocktail while Ams fan girls over Bridgerton and  shares her hot tale of a total mindfuck with a smart and sexy new partner. 


Next, the Wives explore the difference between swinging and polyamory, including this middle ground of Swolly.

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 polyamorous. Ken Haslam of the Kinsey Institute originally coined the term Swolly. 

Here are some key components to Swolly:

  • The foundation is a marriage/committed couple.  That relationship takes precedence over all other polysexual and polyamorous relationships 

  • The couple is open to polysexual relationship and may  seek out casual sexual encounters or sex with “friends” that don’t involve deep connections. 

  • The couple is also open to polyamorous relationships that involve both physical and emotional intimacy. 

  • The level of intimacy can vary between relationships (some relationships are purely polysexual, polysexual with friendship, or polyamorous). 

Polysexual relationships are less complicated and involve less commitment.  You have a responsibility to make sure your partner is well taken care of during a sexual encounter (consent, pleasure, aftercare, the basic “camp-fire rule”), but you don’t have responsibility toward that person outside of the sexual encounter.  You might be friendly, you might be friends, that aspect might ebb and flow, but you don’t have a responsibility to build on anything outside of the bedroom.

In Polyamorous relationships, you agree to share emotional intimacy, which means that you are committing to be an emotional support for this partner. These relationships can be more meaningful and rewarding, but also a lot of work.   

To get a sexpert’s opinion, the Wives interview Dr. Elisabeth “Eli”, Sheff, expert witness, researcher, educator & relationship coach with expertise in polyamorous culture. 

Finally, the Wives assign themselves sexy homework: The Wives and the Misters are going to explore more emotionally intimate relationships with some of their swinger friends, including solo dates and lots of talk about “feelings”.

About dr. elizabeth "eli" sheff

Dr. Elisabeth “Eli” Sheff is a researcher, expert witness, coach, speaker, and educational consultant. With a PhD in Sociology and certification as a Sexuality Educator from AASECT, Dr. Eli specializes in gender and sexual minority families, consensual non-monogamy, and kink/BDSM. Sheff is the foremost academic expert on polyamorous families with children, and her 25+ year Polyamorous Family Study is the only longitudinal study of poly families with children to date. 

Eli headshot higher res

Currently teaching at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga, Dr. Eli has also taught at the University of Colorado, University of Montana, Georgia State University, Oglethorpe, Emory, and the University of Zurich. Sheff co-chairs the Consensual NonMonogamies Legal Issues Team for the American Psychological Association, Division 44. Dr. Eli has published four books and over 25 journal articles and chapters, and is currently editing a series of books on diverse sexualities, genders, and relationships with Dr. Richard Sprott and the publishers Rowman & Littlefield. In collaboration with three colleagues, Dr. Eli developed The Bonding Project, a test people can take to explore their preferred bonding styles. Find Dr. Eli at and

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