Here's the truth about STIs when you're having sex with more than one person:
I’ve heard it said that people in honest open relationships are less likely to get sexually transmitted infections than the average person because they are more likely to have safer sex conversations and practices. I like this argument, but the fact of the matter is, when you choose to have sex with more than one person, your risk of exposure to STIs increases. For some people, that’s not a risk they’re willing to take. For others, though, the benefits of connection outweigh the risks. So, the question is...what is your tolerance for risk when it comes to sexual health? Whether you have a high, medium or low tolerance for risk with STIs, there is no right or wrong way as long as you are communicating honestly with your partner(s) about your choices/behaviors. Let me repeat that: There is no right or wrong way. There are just different tolerances for risk.
Here are some examples of how different STI risk tolerances play out in relationships:
Some people don’t have sexual interactions with anyone besides a main partner (low risk tolerance).
Some people do “hands only” stuff with people other than their main partner (medium-low risk tolerance).
Some people have unprotected sex with their primary partner but use barriers for sex with other partners (medium-high risk tolerance).
Some people and their partners are OK with having unprotected sex with multiple people at a time (high risk tolerance).
If you’re thinking about opening up your relationship, talk to your partner about this. You might not share the same risk tolerance when it comes to STIs, but you can create compromises together.
Ultimately, the goal is to help you get closer and understand each other better. 💜