In polyamorous circles, you may have heard the term “fluid bonding.” Someone may have explained to you that they are “fluid bonded” with a specific partner when asking you to use a condom.
What does fluid bonding mean?
No, it’s not a specific kink for man juice or breast milk! Fluid bonding is a level of trust and intimacy that a couple achieves. Since most sex today, and sex with multiple partners, means using condoms to provide a barrier between fluids and the potential infections they carry, fluid bonding simply means an intentional relationship where that separation isn’t necessary.
Fluid bonding can indicate a primary relationship.
Some polyamorous people have a main relationship and although they are open to other relationships and take lovers, the focus of their commitment and their priority is their life partner. They may have safe sex with any other lovers they encounter, but only share the full monty with each other.
Members of polycules may have a commitment that includes fluid bonding.
It isn’t just couples who might be fluid bonded. In a polycule, which is a group of lovers, there could be a commitment to keep sex within the agreed-upon number of lovers, and all of those people have been tested for STIs. Trusting each member to be committed to others in the polycule, or to use safe sex outside the polycule, means lovers inside the group have decided to forego condoms.
Lovers who are planning for a baby don’t use barriers during sex.
The essence of fluid exchange is ultimately pregnancy, the thing we are often trying to thwart. Obviously, lovers who are hoping that sex culminates in getting pregnant will need to participate in the full natural sex act. This is often times the goal of fluid bonding, which makes sense. Couples, throuples, or polycules who are hoping for children will naturally have some arrangement in place that allows nature to take its course.
Some proponents of fluid bonding experience greater pleasure and intimacy.
You will meet some enthusiasts of fluid bonding who are not polyamorous and prefer monogamy because they have a belief in quality over quantity. While many of us believe in both, some people experience safe sex as lacking in complete connection and natural intention. They feel a deeper emotional bond to one person and don’t feel sex is complete without being “fully naked” with each other.
There is some truth to the fact that semen is nourishing and acts as an antidepressant, and this can contribute to a partner’s sense of greater well being.
There are poly people who share this view, but don’t limit fluid bonding to monogamy.
Some folks are careful and bond within a committed polycule, and some simply prefer unsafe sex because the pleasure is greater than their concern for risk. This is not “fluid bonding” but risky behavior. They may be sincere or they might be players, no matter—never let someone else decide your fate when it comes to safe sex.
Fluid bonding and “unprotected sex” are not the same thing.
Guys who whine about having to use a condom are not the same thing as “fluid bonding.” Lovers who take risks in the heat of the moment are also not the same thing. Fluid bonding is an intentional choice for greater intimacy and personal satisfaction with a specific partner or partners. It’s not something for everyone and doesn’t happen with every lover you have.
Share your fluid bonding experiences in the comments below.