By far one of the most common questions/concerns regarding the lifestyle or swinging activities is the issue of sexually transmitted infections or STIs (formerly known as STDs).
First, I must say that there is ABSOLUTELY no way to know for 100% certain that someone is disease free. Even if they have paperwork showing negative test results, they may have picked something up since their last encounter that even they don’t know about.
our my philosophy on STIs. My husband and I have slightly differing views on STIs, so I am going to add a disclaimer that this is just my own thoughts. Those thoughts are also constantly shifting. I accept that there is some risk inherent in this hobby of ours. We do whatever we can to reduce that risk as much as possible. First and foremost that means using condoms for every encounter, no matter what! This is a non-negotiable for us. Pretty much like putting a seat-belt on when we get in the car. Just like any other dangerous hobby – downhill skiing, motorcycle riding, parachuting – there are ways to increase your safety while still enjoying the thrill and rush.
Also, I educate myself about the
diseases infections that are out there; How are they spread? Fluid exchange or skin to skin contact? How are they treated? Bacterial infections are cured up with a dose of antibiotics, just like an ear infection or strep throat. Although there is a huge stigma attached to STIs, it seems to me that embarrassment is really the biggest “issue” with them as long as you don’t let them fester for a very long time. Viruses, on the other hand, can’t be cured by antibiotics. These include HSV, HPV, and HIV. Two of these (HSV and HPV) don’t even require fluid exchange to be spread. Which means that, you aren’t really protecting yourself when you wear a condom. Sure, you are probably increasing your protection, but even if the condom does it’s job perfectly, you could still pick something up.
All this being said, I think the most important thing is that, if you are going to pursue this lifestyle, you need to find a doctor or clinic you trust where you can get regular STI testing. Just get the tests done and do what needs doing to monitor and support your own sexual health. When I told my doctor that my husband -monogamous relationship, she recommended annual testing unless I noticed any symptoms.
My first official tests were in May of 2009. I was tested for syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, HSV 1 and 2, HIV. Because I had some unusual vaginal discharge, I also got tested for yeast, trichomonosis, and bacterial vaginosis. (Also cholesterol and insulin).
In July of 2010, I was tested for syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, HSV 1 and 2, and HIV. This year my doctor also added Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C and recommended a Hep B vaccine once the test came back negative. (Also cholesterol and Vitamin D.)
My hubby is not comfortable speaking to his doctor about our lifestyle, so he went to the local Planned Parenthood clinic for his testing and is due again in November.