From the Ask Me Anything Series:
Do you recommend safer sex agreements with partners to clients? How detailed should they be?
I am so glad you asked! I see clients come up with all kinds of arrangements about their sexual health.
I’m not going to offer any recommendations here (talk with a sex-positive medical provider to get updated STI information), but wanted to share some of the vast differences among the clients I work with.
Here are a few examples that have worked for relationships I support:
Donnella (28) & Shawn (32), married 12 years, open 2 years, Portland Oregon
“We have agreed to let each other know if we plan to have non-barrier vaginalor anal sex with partners and we tell each other after any oral sex happens. We get tested every three months.”
Allison (40) & Jason (40), cohabitating 10 years open 10 years, Madison, Wisconsin
“Allison has herpes she has to disclose to new partners and that’s often a real challenge because of the stigma and shame related to STIs. She’s lost a lot of potential partners because of it.”
“So far, Jason hasn’t tested positive for herpes so he hasn’t had to disclose, but he tells his partners about Allison anyway just to be honest.”
Shauna (38), Therese (32), & Richard (47), partnered 15 years, Minneapolis, Minnesota
“We only have sex with each other and it’s been that way for years. We’d get tested if any of us started dating someone new and would expect them to get tested too.”
Mark (41) & Holly (44), monogamish married 22 years, Chicago, Illinois
“We only have sex with other people when we’re both present and we always use condoms for vaginal sex (we don’t do anal or oral). We also take extra vitamins in the winter flu season.”
Charlotte (43) & Daniel (46), dating 18 years, open relationship 1 year, New York City
“We ask partners for test results if we think we’re going to sleep with them (before we sleep with them). If they’re not willing to show us results there’s no reason we’d want to be intimate.”
Tony (44) & Rashida (28), swinging together 3 years, Portland Oregon
“We don’t worry about it. We only swing in clean places and only hook up with people when it feels right.”
Heather (36) & Gwen (37), married 13 years, open marriage 3 years, Seattle, Washington
“Heather sleeps with cis-men and uses condoms when they have any penetrative sex. Neither of us use any barriers with other cis-women. We test annually at our gyno exam, but we’re not worried about getting anything.”
Elle (30) & Mikah (30), dating/living together 5 years, playing openly 8 years, Miami, Florida
“We host invite-only play parties at our house where we ask everyone to play with barriers. We provide gloves, condoms, and other barriers as well as clean up supplies for messy play. SO far no one has complained. When either of us has a new partner we use barriers for all sex and fluid bonding except kissing. We both take our health very seriously.”
David (32) & Ryan (36), married 10 years, open marriage 6 months, Naperville, Illinois
“We started on Prep last month and have decided barebacking is an option if we’re both present. We ask every new partner if he’s been tested but they’re on their honor to tell us. We always use condoms when we fly solo.”
Sarah (52) & Hans (56), married 32 years, monogamish 2 years, Evansville, Illinois
“Sarah makes out with other women and sleeps with them and we’re not worried about disease transmission. Hans just watches.”
Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a communication consultant, sexuality counselor and certified relationship coach specializing in polyamory, open relationships, jealousy, and infidelity.
She coaches online clients all over the world and leads retreats in the U.S.
Call me for a free consultation to rethink the way you do relationships.