Your thoughts on condom boundary.


Question: *Is 'required' condom usage a reasonable request/boundary for oso's by ones primary?

Background : My primary girlfriend, 'L' (50) and I (52) have known each other for 3 years *are in a long distance *relationship (she lives in Texas and I live in Florida). *We see each other about twice a year and talk & text multiple times daily. *L is planning on moving to FL within Two years.

We have worked through difficult periods of her polyfear, *I am poly, she is mono. * However, she now recognizes, albeit a strangely foreign feeling to her, that some poly aspects are appealing to her. * We are stronger for our perseverance and determination to find ways to make our relationship a joyful one and are happy that our relationship is deepening. *

L entered this relationship from day one *knowing I am poly and that Ive had an intimately close relationship with a mf married couple, T &J, *for over 10 years.
T&J and I are tested, fluid bonded and do not use condoms.
L has come to accept T&J as part of my life. She has not met them yet. *L recently said that because she was my 'primary' girlfriend she wanted to be the only one to have skin to skin contact and wanted me to use condoms with any oso's. *
I'm uncomfortable with this. *I've known T&J for a long time and would feel taking the intimacy of skin to skin contact away would be a slap in the face of our long enjoyable relationship.

I'm interested to know other points of view.


New member

Its required by me that my partners use condoms with others, the exception would be if they were in a committed long term relationship where their other partners were using barriers with others. So when jane and nate were together, they went barrier free until she got a live in partner.

So if nate met some lady who had multiple sex partners and and he only saw her a couple times a year it just makes sense for him to use condoms with this casual sex partner. Of course at any time if he wanted to go barrier free with others he could but the consequence would be that I would choose to begin using condoms with him after that point.

I think it's unreasonable for L to demand you use condoms, especially when she isn't your regular sex partner. Now when ahe actually moves there then perhaps renegotiate. For instance if t&j had multiple s ex partners whom they are barrier free with that would make me uncomfortable. That would mean I would have to trust they were being safe and all the people they were barrier free with was being safe. Honestly the whole thing kind of squigs me out with.

But either way ahe does realize that even with a condom there will still be skin to skin right?


Well, personally, I don't see fluid bonding as something you only do with romantic partners. For me, it is to do with convenience and a level of trust that I could have with a friend. The trust you need in someone to minimise the risk of Std transmission isn't only something that can be achieved in friendships, I think it's unwise to think that every primary style partner you have is automatically fluid bonding material. For me it depends on the person, the relationships they are currently in, their status in regards to some life long Stds, the other relationships they are in and their general view on Std prevention. It seems your girlfriend is trying to keep something that is only shared between the two of you out of insecurity and fear.

I know it could be that fluid bonding with someone who is fluid bonded with others is beyond her acceptable level of risk, regardless of what safer sex practices these other people have. I doubt that though. Especially as it seems she is already ditching the use of barrier protection with you. It really seems more about the threat she sees them having to your relationship and wanting to keep something exclusive. The fact that you're long distance may contribute to get insecurity amongst other things.

It would be more reasonable for her to say "I'm not comfortable fluid bonding with you whilst you are not using condoms with other people. Therefore, we will continue to use barriers." That way, you have the choice whether to respect her boundaries and always use condoms with her, or respect her boundaries and always use condoms with other people.

If she wants to fluid bond with you, instead of trying to stop you from going bareback with this couple, she should think about what she needs to feel physically safe shunning the use of condoms with you whilst you are also having barrier free sex with them. This mainly revolves around testing practices.

She needs to understand that although she may see fluid bonding as an act of intimacy that is only found in primary style relationships, you might not and applying your value systems to your partner's relationships is rarely a good idea. I'm guilty of doing that, myself.

(Although I was right!)


Active member
I think that L is the one you need to use condoms with, and it is highly unreasonable of her to ask or expect you to break your fluid bond with T&J just so she can feel more important to you than they are (it is also a bit arrogant - though arrogance often stems from insecurity) .


Well-known member
I'm kind of torn... On one hand, I think requesting that a partner use barriers with others is perfectly reasonable to maintain fluid bonding. On the other, since she entered the situation with you ALREADY going barrier free with this other couple, it seems odd that it's just now bothering her.

I would talk to her more. Find out where her motivation is coming from. Is it an STD concern? Or is it a control issue/wanting to seem more important? Is it something she wants you to do forever or something she would appreciate you doing until she is nearby and can meet these other people to become more comfortable with them?

Considering she's a mono person, I think it's a bit harsh to judge her too much without getting to the root of the WHY. She's working on completely changing her views on relationships to make this work, no point in making it any more difficult than it already is if it's something fairly simple to do.

Personally, I hate condoms. Boy and I go back and forth between using them and not, depending on what other sexual connections he has at the time/testing/etc. I have no problem whatsoever telling him that I'm dating someone new, that person is uncomfortable with me going bareback with someone who I don't have many agreements with, therefore we're using condoms again. Hubby and I have multiple agreements in place about who we do/don't have to use barriers with, what activities are okay with/without barriers, how often we get tested, and all that jazz. I would NOT be willing to use condoms with him because I know he takes all the precautions that I feel are necessary to keep us as safe as possible (without being a complete buzzkill).

I guess, I think it's a matter of priorities. Yeah, it sucks to be fluid bonding and then go back to barriers, but I personally think it's worth it for some people. And I have never once had someone complain when I've decided that barriers are needed again for whatever reason (be it my own personal thoughts or someone else's that I decide to respect). What's more important? Maintaining fluid bonding with this couple or respecting your partner's feelings on the matter?


Well-known member
*L recently said that because she was my 'primary' girlfriend she wanted to be the only one to have skin to skin contact and wanted me to use condoms with any oso's. *

I suppose you should be thankful that she's being honest. Usually people jump on the fear-of-STIs bandwagon when they are feeling insecure and want to control their partners other relationships. At least L (it would be easier to read if you would use more than one letter) is openly saying that she is being competitive and wants you to demonstrate to your other partners that she is more important than they are.

I'm uncomfortable with this.

Sounds like you've made your decision. I personally would find the suggestion wacka-doodle and would have difficulty not laughing.

Only you can know what you find reasonable and I encourage you to be genuine in how you respond.


Inyourendo, *I truly believe I am the only person, other than each other that T&J have sex with so I feel 'safe' regarding Std's. * I've had a few casual relationships over the last few years and always used condomswith these relationships *when having sex with them.

Not quite sure what you meant by : "But either way ahe (she) does realize that even with a condom there will still be skin to skin right? "*
By this you mean caressing, kissing & all the other lovely kinds of contact.... Correct?

Thank you for your thoughts London. *I do think it is more the exclusivity she feels she 'needs'. *
Mutual std testing could help satisfy the health risk issue.

nycindie : *I agree to a point, but as AlwaysGrowing identified, L has made huge strides in adjusting her way of thinking. *I don't consider myself and my poly way of thinking 'easy'. * I am patient with L and do my best to reassure her when she has trouble understanding.... Ok, *she freaks out sometimes but always rides out her internal storm and we continue forward.
I have made some concessions willingly for the good of L's and my relationship. *I have no regrets about the decisions I have made. *
It wouldn't kill me, ... rather, *I would use condoms with T&J with the caveat that L and I *re-address the issue in the future. *
I believe being in a poly relationship is asking a lot of a mono person. *Yes, *there is always individual choice, *they don't have to stay with us. *But our lives would be so much less without them that some concessions *prove worthwhile. *Then again, some lines can not be crossed, and there lies the choice.

By the way Natja, *this is out of context a bit but L does acquire 'flaming cheeks' of another sort when her occasional extremely over Zealous *imagination sets her version of a monogamonster loose.... * I wouldn't have believed 'taking in hand' redirection was anything short of abuse. *However it has proven to refocus her on the issue at hand... So to speak ... and productively communicate vs. having her internal fear thoughts control her. *
It was her idea.*
The difference between that and abuse is the love that's behind it, a different kind of love. *It is 'loving differently'. * *
Sorry if I derailed my own thread.
Thank you for your thoughts, once again you loving people have helped.


New member
Skin meaning your bare genitalia would still touch their bare genitalia. The only thing condoms do ia prevent sharing fluid.


Active member
I don't use protection with either of my guys. But we do have an agreement that if any of us gets a new partner, we will use protection with the new person until such time and all of us (including new partner) feel unanimously comfortable with no protection.
I don't think there is anything wrong with her asking.
But-her reasoning sounds possessive and that could be problematic.


Active member
I have to agree that asking you to go to back to condoms in a 10 year relationship is likely asking for too much. (I am unclear - are you fluid bonded with her too?)

However, I wonder if L would get her needs met another way? She seems to be searching for a way to feel special to you, to be someone unique in your life. I realize you already feel that way about her but perhaps talk with her about ways to help her feel more special/unique in your life. It might be really helpful to you both to dig down to the reasons and emotions behind the request.


Inyourendo~ Lily (L) *specifically requested internal skin to skin contact be between she and I only. * If you meant using the 'withdraw before you cum' practice thats another thing. *That option isn't on the table due to the little swimmers that jump the gun before the big bang.. ****That is meant tongue *in cheek*** *please don't take offense if I misunderstood you.
Lily recognizes that Tahiti (T) & Juno (J) *are a constant in my life and will be in the future still once she moves here. *
I believe she wants/needs something to make her feel special. *In my mind she is already unique and special and I try to show her that. *Apparently not enough.
*I am now willing to accommodate her wish with the understanding & effort to replace that need for another meaningful aspect. *I'm hoping this will be 'fulfilling' for her, and I look forward to finding something mutually special/sacred between us.

Loving radiance~ I think your agreement with new partners is very rational. *
Lily acknowledges she can be possessive, *she and I both know that I'm hoping with continued & consistent assurances from me, she will further her faith in us. Hopefully in time, the 'monsters' she encounters will be rationalized away and become mere shadows of insecurity and fear.


Well-known member
we will use protection with the new person until such time and all of us (including new partner) feel unanimously comfortable with no protection.
I don't think there is anything wrong with her asking.

Personally I think there is something wrong with asking. The request itself is a red flag to me which would *immediately* prompt a discussion about expectations regarding how we relate. Now, what I am in favor of is discussing fluid bonding openly, asking that "if you have unsafe play in X ways, let me know so that we can move back to protection until we discuss it again". To me, that is a boundary which is purely requesting that my partners respect my health as they would their own and inform me of any changes PRIOR to our having sexy play again.

As and example: IV and I were fluid bonding for a time and I was using protection with my other partners. I ended up having some play with one partner which could be construed as risky so before IV and I had sex again I just told her and asked her if we needed to go back to condoms. She said 'yes' and thanked me. Then once I was retested again and all was well we went back to fluid bonding. No rules, no one controlling someone elses actions, just adults being honest and taking care of themselves.

BUT, I don't approach dating as a team sport.


The fact that the other relationship and the fluid bonding in that relationship predates this woman makes her asking completely unreasonable from an egalitarian poly perspective.

Perhaps those who subscribe more to hierarchical models won't view it as chutzpah in quite the same way I do.


Well-known member
She has asked. Rather than worry about whether or not that is reasonable for other people, you could ask you if that is reasonable for YOU and whether or not you want to meet the request.

If you want to, do. If you don't want to at this time, say so. If you need more detail, ask. Is this for the first few months she's living in FL? Or forever? Maybe that changes your willingness.

You could also ask her if there is a different way for you to demonstrate how important she is to you.



Active member
(Marcus) What a person asks may bring red flags. But-I still don't think there is anything wrong with asking. My reason is-that sometimes what seems unreasonable to request-is actually not a big deal to the other person either.
It's a way of understanding each other.
Also-it's a conversation starter. Just because someone asks, doesn't mean they are going to get it. In fact, it doesn't mean that they are even going to want it after the conversation. But it opens the conversation.

That said; I would raise an eyebrow if a new lover asked me to not be fluid bonded with Maca or GG. But-I would take it as an opportunity to explain no I won't and why AND an opportunity to explore the underlying issues that the question signals for me.

Often times, just acknowledging and talking about an issue-can resolve it. If they were insistent-that would be a deal breaker. Because I won't meet the request.


Staff member
I find it a bit odd that there is this "primary/secondary" struggle. She's hundreds of miles away and you've only spent time together 4 times in 2 years? Then you have 2 local partners (who happen to be married) that you see much more often?

You don't live with any of these people. Don't share finances, kids, a mortgage, a vehicle. I don't see a need for hierarchy at all. Obviously Lily is jealous that you see the others all the time, and even though she's far away, wants *some kind* of assurance she comes first in your heart, and sexually too.

Hm. Trouble that goes far beyond "safer sex." She's jealous, she's insecure in polyamory. She's struggling with your mono/poly relationship. It's like she's saying, "If you really love me, you will do this inconvenient annoying thing with your lovers of 10 years, that will remind you of me every time you go to have sex with them! Ha!"

Does your couple have sex with others besides you? If they do, --maybe I'd discuss using condoms, for your gf's sake, since she obviously doesn't trust the couple. But if you 3 are poly fi, then condoms are pointless.

I'd suggest, rather than going to condoms to satisfy her possessive feelings, she meet this couple, ASAP! She needs to view them as family, not competition. You've still got 2 more long years to wait until she moves nearer to you!


New member
This is one of those cases where I favor relationship anarchy; it's ultimately up to me and my partner to decide where our boundaries are. Each relationship is a unique thing. I like partitions.

HOWEVER, while I won't dictate what other partners do with my metamours, there can be consequences! If I have a partner who's fluid bonded with someone and then there's an STD scare, you better believe I will be abstinent with that partner until all the tests done. I do this to protect myself and my other partners. But I trust my partners to make the best decisions and to be responsible and safe.

But, honestly, to me, condoms are an emotionally neutral item. From a strictly pragmatic standpoint condoms are generally a good idea. They stop yeast infections (which SUCK!) and also make cleanup much quicker.


New member
I don't use condoms with either of my guys. One is my spouse, the other we did away with them, with spouses permission, when he was no longer sleeping with his wife and agreed to use condoms with everyone else. I can see where L is nervous because she doesn't know these people, but she is asking you to change something long standing.

If my boyfriend got a new 'primary' girlfriend or picked back up with the wife, i'd be hurt if he asked me to go back to condoms.