safe sex circles
Was wondering if anyone here has experience with this...basically, my partners and I and their partners want to create a series of simple regulations to allow us to have barrier free sex within the group, but I was wondering how others handled this. Specifically, I am curious about what your specific testing requirements are (frequency of testing, which STIs), and how you handle the issue of adding partners to the group and/or excluding partners that are--or become--too high-risk. Also, if people take partners outside the group, are there any requirements other than barriers (e.g. testing requirements)?
Unless you have a completely closed group I would suggest that everyone get tested every 6 months. When you get tested get tested for everything, after all it's better to know than not to know.
The only person who's behaviours you can control are your own. If you become uncomfortable with a partner or a metamour's sexual practices you can insist on using barriers with that partner. I think it is unfair to make a rule that someone would have to break up with a partner due to a previously existing rule. I think a better guideline would be that everyone is open and honest as to what is going on and that no one within the group should take offence if any one of you chose to ask that barriers be used again.
You may have already hammered this out with your group but I've found that 'safe sex' and 'barriers' can mean very different things to folks. For example, will the group use barriers for oral sex? Every time or sometimes? Or only when having PIV? What about using gloves? I suggest having lots of rather detailed, explicit conversations about what safe sex and barriers are for everyone, and hopefully get an agreement that everyone understands and accepts.
I would also make sure that everyone knows the STI's a particular clinic tests for. Not all clinics test for everything all the time. Some don't test for herpes or they may not test for more obscure STIs.
What you want is called "Fluid Bonding."
Here is one short article about fluid bonding aka "condom contract" and poly: Safer Sex Options
Here is another interesting short article about it (substitute the author's term "two people" with however many people will be bonded with you): Fluid Bonding
Here's another discussion thread on this site about fluid bonding: fluid bonding/bareback
You may also be interested in this thread: Safe Sex - Standards, Practices, Information & Resources
Get thoughly tested.
Read up about STI's and other virus's first. Then see if you want to go down that path.
My personal story is that we did the whole STI check thing and only had inter group sex. What we didn't know was that they don't test for Herpes unless you have visable blisters.
Long story short, I now have to tell people I'm positive for HSV1 (commonly causes coldsores, but can cause genital herpes). Finding that out was the kiss of death for our group, while I know intellectually that at least this isn't that bad, emotionally it stirred up and still stirs up alot of negative feeling.
Go into it with all the information and with open eyes, at the end of the day you just need to work out what your group is comfortable with.
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