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Coping with STIs in Poly Relationships

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Some folks won’t consider dating men or women who have sexually transmitted viruses like herpes, HPV, or HIV. They’re kidding themselves, because STIs are incredibly common, not just among those who honestly admit them.

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If you have an STI, you might feel like a pariah and think it’s better not to mention it. Don’t be that guy, or gal.Here’s how to cope with your herpes, HPV, and other STIs when dating.

Honesty is the best policy.

WHEN to disclose is another issue, but avoiding the truth is not acceptable. Some folks say so on their dating profile: “HIV-pos guy looking for same” is admittedly more common than “Dude with genital herpes hoping for hot oral.” Still, the earlier the better. It’s easier to mention ahead of time than right before sex.

Being “out” is a big relief.

One of my lovers says that “coming out” about having HPV was empowering. He no longer worries who knows. He says it’s no different than people knowing you have diabetes or the flu. And if people are judgmental, he says it’s easy and automatic to cull those who shouldn’t be part of his life from it.

Remember that almost everyone who has ever had sex will have an STD or more.

Do you know anyone who has never had a cold or flu, not one? Didn’t think so.

Look for women who also have STIs.

Don’t take part in the discrimination against folks who have herpes or other conditions. In fact, dating them will make your disclosure and discomfort a whole lot easier. There are polycules formed entirely with folks who share a particular affliction.

Look after your health.

Get tested regularly for gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, HIV, and any other venereal diseases. Some of these are asymptomatic, but left to grow can cause fertility or sexual damage. Finding out what you’ve got is key to treatment. Many STIs are easy to treat, so treat them. Others are chronic, and finding out how to look after them and prevent outbreaks will make it easier to cope.

Eat healthy, exercise, get fresh air and sunshine, reduce stress—these general health tactics will help your sexual health too.

Get creative in bed.

You have two choices: never have sex again and feel sorry for yourself, or accept the awkward and irritating reality that you have a sexually transmitted virus and get on with your sex life.

It’s not just about condoms and bodily fluids.

If you have an outbreak of warts, your penis might not get to make an appearance until they’re gone. Work restraint into your sex life, experiment with pants on pussy worship, and think about getting her off with a dildo. If she’s being treated for an STI, maybe it’s your turn for guilt-free blowjobs and nothing but, until she’s back on track.

Use other body parts, or connect intimately through foreplay without hurrying on to sex. Pretend you’re still a virgin. Watch her and her other boyfriend in bed while you jack off without touching.

There are a million ways to enjoy sex, and a limitation might be how you discover them in the first place.

How do you cope with an outbreak, disclosure, or safe sex? Share your tips with us!

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