Sexual health is as important as respectful, open communications.
Ethically non-monogamous people talk about ‘safer sex’ rather than safe sex. Safer sex acknowledges that, outside truly monogamous relationships, there are risks that can not 100% be eliminated.
One sexual health nurse told me that using condoms was the generally accepted norm for sexually active, multiple partner people. This came at the end of a conversation in which the Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) that you aren’t protected from by condoms were discussed. Herpes (cold sores down under) was one. Genital warts and syphilis were the other two mentioned.
As with many things ethically non-monogamous, there is an infinite range of ways that issues are managed. Some strategies to consider and discuss with your lover/s:
- Research STIs including how long they can be carried before showing up in someone’s STI test results.
- Have STI tests every 3-6 months.
- Become comfortable with having ‘the conversation’ with anyone you are interested in well before the juices start flowing. Ask specific questions about when the person’s last STI tests were, what was tested, what the results were and if they have had unprotected sex since. It’s not a sexy conversation but a necessary one.
- Use condoms as a commitment to your own health and as per agreements with your significant other/s.
- Admit it straight away to anyone you have unprotected sex with if you ‘slipped up’ and had unprotected sex with someone else.
- If you are interested in parties, research the rules for sanitary sharing of toys etc.