I think it's good (for myself) to check in every so often about safer sex. This post is a bit embarrassing for me to publish, but I figure other people can learn from my mistakes. Or at least have a chance to reflect on their safer sex practices and feel good about themselves. :-)
I recently posted about my hot experience at work. It was frickin' hot. But I kept that post positive and happy, because I was so excited to be sexual with a woman. What I did not include was the part of the story that read: I was not good at talking about safer sex. I was so overcome at getting to experience a stage show with a woman I was attracted to, that I skipped out on the most important rule (to me anyway) about our open relationship- talking to other partners about safer sex practices, STIs, and testing. There was not any good excuse on my part for not doing this, but the context was that it all happened really fast, and it was over and done with really fast as well (three minutes or so). To my credit, I at least visually inspected her pussy before I started to do oral, washed my hands after playing with her, and used a couple of baby wipes on my pussy. Afterwards, I went up to my lovely lady friend, and said, "You know, my boyfriend and I have an open relationship, and I really meant to talk to you about STIs before we did anything. I wanted to let you know that I was recently tested and everything came back negative." Her response: "Oh yeah, I'm good, I wouldn't have done anything if there was a concern." Which I interpreted in the moment as, 'I wouldn't have been sexual with you if I had recently tested positive for anything,' but obviously, that is not what she said.
In the future, my interaction would go something like this:
"Before we play, I just wanted to talk a little bit about STIs. I was recently tested (in December) for HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis and all tests came back negative. I don't use condoms with my boyfriend, but I use condoms with all other male partners. I talk to other partners about STIs and safer sex practices they use before I play with them. I haven't ever tested positive for anything in the almost 2 years J and I have been open. When were you last tested and what were you tested for? Do you have other partners? What kinds of safer sex practices do you use?"
I can attest to the fact that this kind of interaction and communication can be quite challenging; obviously, I didn't do nearly my best in communicating with my friend at work. I went up to her afterward and did not push her to explain more. Not only that, but for some reason (I think I was sort of high from this experience for a good day or two) I failed to talk about this interaction with J until a couple days after it happened. Putting my primary partner at risk is not okay with me and I am pretty darn sure I have learned my lesson. I feel like I should also mention, though, that there are different risks associated with different sexual encounters. Fingering a woman is pretty low risk on the STI risk continuum. (Here is a nice summary chart from SF City Clinic)
It seems like discussing safer sex practices with individuals in the open community is much easier than it is with individuals that you might encounter in the vanilla dating world. (And, I think simply discussing STIs and testing is itself a safer sex practice; communication is so essential.) I think because safer sex is so highly negotiated among open individuals, people are generally better at discussing it because they find it really important and have practiced talking about it. So, here is to me continuing to learn and practice. Whew.