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lol I know its a headline that yells at you but I really do need the advice...

Lately I've been getting a lot of negative feedback to the idea of polyamory, mostly centered around the topic of STDs

What kind of rebuttal do you give to that?

I mean I'm fully aware that STDs are a matter of safety...not relationship orientations! If you're reckless you're going to get it no matter if you poly, mono or other! But how would you clarify to someone from an ignorant view point that poly is not some childish excuse for promiscuous behavior?

You may answer the question via opinion or reference! If you do answer from a reference then please direct me to that website!


This is an ongoing debate with a friend of mine....she thinks poly, bisexual, open relationship stuff equates to having sex with every one and anyone which means so am I no matter how monogamous I am. She also assumed there are poor safe sex practices but I think she finally gets it. I just don't engage her in that part of my life any more..our sexuality is exactly that..ours.
It's the difference between theoretical risk and actual risk, a distinction that many people chose not to see. The more partners you have, and the more partners your partner has, the more vectors there are for disease, theoretically. However, in my experience, poly people tend to be very responsible about the issue of sexual health, including regular testing, honest conversations about past sexual histories and safer sex methods, more so than most of the mono people I know. I'm sure there are very responsible mono people and not so responsible poly ones, but overall, I think poly people tend to be more responsible, because more people are at risk of there is a problem.

In short, is a poly person at more risk of contracting an STI and a monogamus couple that only ever had sex with each other? Yes. Is the average poly person have more actual risk than the average mono person? Probably not.

I do hope someone comes in with actual data, as that would be really interesting.
Well, in my experience most people who want to debate from that standpoint are using it as a crutch to prop up their crumbling belief systems.

That said, from a purely statistical, mathematical standpoint you can't argue the point. In theory - anything but one virgin tagging up with 1 other virgin technically raises the risk. But it's (as Rubyfish) basically said) really a pointless argument.

Life has risks. We take them. We drive over the speed limit. We rock climb. We walk in the city at night without a handgun or mace.

We survive because we are calculated about the risks we take. But we never eliminate them.

Most people who believe in and live a poly lifestyle are probably more aware of such potentials and are therefore proceed with more caution. BECAUSE we are aware, it's a topic we don't shy from and generally bring out on the table right at the first entry into a potential relationship. We ASSUME our potential partner has/had a few - or many, lovers and has a sexual history that may include exposure to STDs. We talk about it openly. It's not taboo - but critical.

How many mono hookups / potential relationships does that take place in ? Not many I would guess. On a first or second date how often do you come out with - "so - how many sex partners have you had and how much do you know about their history?" <chuckle>

In the poly - even swinging, world this is pretty much the opening conversation :) (if it's apparent this is headed in a sexual direction)

So you decide which carries the higher REAL risk.

There is some stuff on this thread...

I don't think Poly people practice safer sex than mono people... at least not what I have seen and heard... I think the population as a whole doesn't practice as safe sex as they should... lets face it, it just isn't as fun to practice safe sex.

Actually I think I would hazard a guess that the non-fidelous kind of poly people who sleep with a variety of people practice it just as often as someone who is single or un-attached or cheating... maybe even less? I don't know, just a guess....

Sex under the guise of "love" brings down barriers sometimes, including condom barriers. I would actually trust someone more who doesn't put "love" into the context of their sex as they might be a bit more cautious... then again not as they are doing it for their own enjoyment and condoms just aren't as enjoyable to some.

When I worked with sex trade workers, I found that they were the population that practiced the most... I would trust them more than anyone.

As for more communication about safe sex in the poly community? I actually find that most people avoid it entirely. I know that people get tested fairly regularly, but I still am not convinced that people aren't giving blow jobs and going down on each other without protection etc. The swinging I did was not very comfortable for that reason and condoms didn't get changed up all that much... lots of double dipping.

I dunno, just talking off the top of my head really, how is anyone going to know. It's all so individual. It's all worth talking about with those that one is involved with.
Yup, I don't think anything is set in stone.
That said, from a purely statistical, mathematical standpoint you can't argue the point. In theory - anything but one virgin tagging up with 1 other virgin technically raises the risk.

That's not even 100% ... blood transfusions, trips to questionable parts of the world, irresponsible piercing parlours... there are a lot of non-sexual ways to pick up nasties.

It's also a weak argument to say that "monogamists" who sleep around a lot but don't get into relationships are at more risk than responsible polies. Risky sex is risky, safer sex is safer.

I think the best argument against these comments is just to make it personal. Sure, some people who sleep around are at high risk if they aren't practicing safer sex. But your personal policy is to always use condoms, to check up the sexual history of your partners, and to verify that they've tested clean for diseases before jumping in the sack. That's more than most people do, monogamous or otherwise, and if they don't accept it, there's nothing more you can do...
I remember hearing once that if you picked a random sex worker in Australia vs an average American adult, the sex worker would be less likely to have an STD. (I wish I could find that statistic to verify it.)
I agree with whoever said it really needed to be talked about on a personal level.

For me I've been with two men in the last 12 years. Maca and GG. GG hasn't been with anyone else at all. Maca and I have been with one other woman together and he's been with one other woman alone (both of those one time situations).

I already had an std before getting involved with either of them, they both are aware. It can't be cured and can be contracted. I take medication for it-and use many many precautions.
We have at this point agreed that we aren't any of us using protection (they are both fixed) with one another.

IF any of us were to be with another person we would use protection for ALL activities and we also would ensure that they knew the guys have been exposed to herpes (what I have) though they haven't either one ever shown signs of having it and I for certain DO have it.

Of course-the number of people out there who have herpes-and are married to partners who don't know it-is undoubtedly pretty high considering how many people are a-symptomatic (and yes you can spread it even if you don't have symptoms).

The REAL question is WHAT are YOU going to do to protect yourself and your partners?
The REAL question is WHAT are YOU going to do to protect yourself and your partners?

This is really the best thing that has been said so far. Quite frankly, there's no point in trying to convince anti-poly people of anything (not the safety of our relationships, and not their validity) with facts and statistics. Haters gonna hate.

Instead, we all, as individuals, as partners, as lovers, and as friends need to focus on how we're going to protect ourselves and the people we care about.
It's not about Harry Herpes and his relationship with Syphilis Sue and Amy AIDS. It's about YOU, and your body, your health, and the health of those you love.

Why put the people you love at risk?
Honestly, when this comes up I either politely point out that it's none of their business, or I explain that STDs are a risk in every sexual relationship, and then add that my partners and I use condoms and common sense. If I think I can get away with it, I ask what they're doing to minimize STD risks in their relationships, to turn it into a conversation instead of a soapbox. :rolleyes:
...But how would you clarify to someone from an ignorant view point that poly is not some childish excuse for promiscuous behavior?

How do they 'clarify' that monogamy is not some childish justification for jealousy?

And since when is there anything wrong with being promiscuous?

Yes I realize a lot of people frown on it, but in my opinion that's their problem. Whether I choose to be promiscuous (in a safe way) is none of their concern.

What is your frame of reference? What is the standard? The majority of people may claim that monogamy is the standard and polyamory is an aberration. Nature and statistics related to cheating would disagree. The standard IS polyamory, or at least some level of promiscuity. Once you make that your frame of reference you have no need to rationalize it to anyone. They have to rationalize monogamy to you.

I don't have much tolerance or empathy for ignorance though...