As someone who prides herself on being a part of the sex positive community, I am a little embarrassed about how little I talk about safe sex, and more to the point, about how there are absolutely zero resources to be found anywhere on my site for those who want to practice safe sex, and get tested regularly. Well, with this post (Thank you STDcheck.com for showing me the error in my ways and sponsoring this post), I am striving to improve on that glaring oversight. Sometimes I forget how limited the access is for people to get tested regularly, and practice safe sex because I live in Canada, where healthcare is free and I am extraordinarily lucky to have a family doctor that I can be open and honest about being non-monogamous with. And as an added bonus she supports me in regular testing and screening and will even remind me on occasion when I am due or ask me if I have had new partners and want to book a fresh screening. But it took me years to find her, and I recognize that very few are as lucky as I am in that regard and thus I feel it is my duty to write this PSA.
If I am being completely honest, having a strong network of safe sex, support and resources makes my non-monogamous life possible. For you see, I subscribed for a long time to the stigma about how dangerous sex with other people can be, and how your chances of catching something grew exponentially with each new partner. It kept me monogamous to a fault, and when I was first introduced to open relationships, held me in a steadfast fueled by a strong fear of actually exploring sex with other people due to inherent risks. It was one of the biggest hurdles for me to overcome in my early years of non-monogamy, well and a mix of jealousy and insecurity.
And that is why, for me, writing this post about safe sex is so important, because it makes being non-monogamous possible, and ethical. Safety is not just about condoms. It is about disclosure, consent and regular testing. These are the fundamental building blocks that make non monogamy fun, and allow me to relax and enjoy new people and situations. While safety will always be a concern, my partner and I have developed rules that work for our lifestyle and values. For example, we do not kiss or have any fluid contact with strangers or people we have just met. This allows us the freedom to have spontaneous and often very hot, same room play with a new couple, but keeps the risk down, until we can have a conversation about safe sex, disclosure (if any) and a few likes and dislikes in a sober state of mind with new people. Secondly, we always use condoms with other people, zero exceptions. Simple rules, that keep us active and healthy within our community. And again, living in Canada it is definitely easier to access certain resources, but that is not necessarily the case for those of you in the US.
I read constantly in forums about people not being able to talk to their family doctors about non-monogamy due to privacy or religious reasons, and therefore forgo regular testing. Or the people who preach that herpes is a normal part of the lifestyle because most doctors don’t even test for it. These are dangerous mindsets to have and I am super excited that there is now a simple and cost effective way for you to get the tests you want, and when you want them. With STDcheck.com you can pick the appropriate tests online, or via the phone, then choose a test sight and have your results e-mailed securely within 1 – 2 days. No longer do you have the hurdles that prevent you and your partners from accessing what I often take for granted.
Safe sex is important. And the more you know about your status and those of your partners the stronger and safer the community grows as a whole. We can all do our part to disclose, test and practice safe sex every single time. While your rules may not be the same as mine, it is important to have a conversation with your partner and agree to something that makes you both comfortable. This is a community, whether you are dipping a toe in for the first time or have been doing this for decades. We want to work to eliminate the stigmas and keep each other safe. So do your part, get tested, and disclose each and every time you interact with new partners.
Take control of your sexual health today!