Fluid bonded partner and outside sex with partner with Herpes


New member
Hi there,

im feeling very concerned and hoping for some thoughts on the situation and advice for how to approach this conversation.

I have a fluid bonded partner, who is not a primary partner per say, but is someone I have a very intimate and loving relationship with. We are extremely communicative about our other partners and our lives in general.

I have been engaging in more casual dating and hookups bc I have expressed that sense of independence is important to me and my partner has been very understanding.

last night I am afraid I had a significant lapse in judgment and I am feeling concerned about hurting my fluid bonded partner. I very much do not want him to think I am incapable of taking care of him. HOWEVER, I did a very bad job of doing so last night.

I was on a date with a new person which will likely be a casual relationship as they are from out of town and are leaving soon. I do trust this person and they are a communicative and caring individual. They also know that I have a fluid bonded partner and are poly themselves. We had not yet hooked up but were getting there on this date. They were very communicative that they have Herpes and we discussed. They did not currently have an outbreak and I did some research regarding the risk.

I thought, I should Talk to my fluid bonded partner before I make This decision. However, I got caught up in the moment and we did have penetrative sex. I was very cautious about skin contact and we of course used a condom.

however, I’m feeling very stressed about telling my fluid bonded partner about this and hurting them by breaking our trust in our communication skills. Does anyone have experience with this situation? Best practices? Suggestions about having this conversation?

we had not had this specific discussion in the past and I know poly is often unfortunately trial error. However, I feel that this may be obvious ettiquette which I failed to follow.

thank you in advance for your insight!!


I can't comment on the "etiquette" aspect, but from personal experience of a similar 'near miss' I do know that the risk is probably smaller if the person is not experiencing a flare up and given your precautions. However it may be worth seeking advice from a STI clinic, and they may be able to prescribe a course of antivirals (eg Valtrex) which can also, if taken early enough, reduce the risk even further.

Obviously you may also want to discuss with your partner increasing your own protection for a while; I do appreciate that's a difficult conversation to have but probably for the best.
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Well-known member
Could just be up front.

"Hey, before you and I share sex again, I need you to know that I shared sex with a new person. Condoms were used, it was penetrative sex and I was very cautious about skin contact. The person has herpes but does not currently have an outbreak. I felt ok going there, but I need to make you aware so you can give continuing consent from an informed place."

They might feel ok enough as is, or want a condom, or want to wait or whatever. But you'd be doing the right thing about being up front. And looking out for them in that sense.



Active member
I would encourage you to think of condoms as a normal thing to use even with your fluid bonded partner as needed. Like, just because you have the option of being fluid bonded, you can still use a condom together when one of you hasn't done STI testing recently, or has a new partner, or a higher-risk partner, etc.

I find there is sometimes a danger in categorizing a partner as "fluid bonded" because it implies there is some emotional significance or deep intimacy in connection with not needing to use condoms. But condoms are just a tool for safer sex. Sometimes it is better to use them, even when there are other times that you don't need to use condoms.


Official Greeter
Staff member
Hello Rock,

You should definitely tell your fluid-bonded partner what happened, yes there was a lapse in communication but you would only be adding another lapse if you failed to tell him what happened.

Perhaps you could say something like, "Honey, I had penetrative sex with someone who has herpes. I'm sorry I didn't talk to you about it first. I did use a condom with this other person, I was very cautious about skin contact, and this other person was not currently having an outbreak. I feel very bad about not talking to you about it first. I would understand if you wanted us to use a condom for awhile, or even if you wanted us to not have sex at all for awhile. I would be willing to get tested for herpes." Actually I think it would be a good idea for you to get tested regardless of what your fluid-bonded partner says.

I know it's scary to contemplate having this kind of a conversation with your fluid-bonded partner, but you must do it. Otherwise it would only make things worse. Your partner needs to know that he can trust you to tell him about it if you make a mistake. You can do this. You've got this.

Hopefully all the posts on this thread have helped you so far.
Kevin T.