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Safe Sex for Swingers

cartoon man putting on huge condom

Swinging has an endless array of benefits- personal, in your relationship, self esteem, and physical just to name a few. Those of us in the lifestyle reap the benefits of swinging at every date, party, club experience and even alone with our partners. However, there is a caveat of sharing your body (and your partners!) with others outside your relationship. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are a persistent, lurking threat to anyone in a sexual relationship, especially people that are sexually active with more than one person.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases in the Lifestyle

STDs are rare in the lifestyle. The swing community is small and, in most circles, very tight knit so word travels fast. The only reported incidence of HIV among swingers was two women in a Minneapolis swingers club that contracted the disease by having unprotected anal sex with two bisexual men multiple times. Obviously, this could have easily been avoided. Using protection during any kind of sexual intercourse decreases your risk of contracting HIV by 80-90%.
Being sexually active in any way obviously opens you to the chance of contracting HIV. So why is the incidence of HIV so low in swingers even though they are overall very sexually active? Vaginal sex is one of the most common sexual acts among swingers. However, vaginal sex is not the most likely way to contract HIV. In fact, The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that the chance of a woman contracting HIV by having vaginal intercourse with a man that is HIV positive is less than 0.1% (or 1 in 1000). Additionally, HIV transmission is further decreased since it is even more unlikely for a woman to transmit the disease to a man.
According to surveys swingers generally practice safe sex. In fact, you are less likely to contract an STD while playing at a swing club or party than if you pick up a one night stand at a bar. The incidence of STDs is lower relative to the general population in most areas and swingers come prepared for safe sex.

Make The Decision To Stay Safe

The decision to practice safe sex is the most important choice for any swinger. However, it is still a choice so nobody HAS to practice safe sex. Anyone that has chosen to use condoms should be accepted as well as those that have chosen not to use condoms. BUT you don't have to have sex with someone that has chosen not to practice safe sex. To be responsible and respectful of yourself, your loved ones, and other swingers, you should never have sex with someone that has refused to practice safe sex.

Ways To Stay Safe

You can make your swinging experience even more enjoyable by reducing your risk of contracting a disease. Use the following tips to stay safe at swinger parties, clubs and on dates (these are even good tips to follow if you're not a swinger!).

  • Bring your own condoms! Come prepared for any fun (or anyone) you may want to pursue.
  • Replace the condom between partners EVERY TIME. No "switch-a-roos". No, not "just this one". It only takes one time to ruin a life.
  • Change condoms after anal sex (before you go to vaginal)! Anal to vaginal sex without changing the condom can cause a very uncomfortable infection.
  • When performing oral sex use a dental dam or condom. Condoms can come in flavors for just this purpose.
  • Use gloves (latex or nitrile- make sure to check that your partner is not allergic to latex before using latex gloves or latex condoms) and lubricant (again, check for allergies before using lubricant, especially if it is flavored or scented) when fingering (in any orifice).

Knowing What To Look For

You can greatly reduce your risk of encountering a partner that has less than perfect sexual health and/or hygiene by learning to inspect your partners (inconspicuously, of course). Follow your gut instincts. If something doesn't feel, taste or smell quite right it probably isn't quite right. See the list before for a few things to look for in a partner before playing. If you see any of these graciously decline any opportunity to play with that person.

  • Milk the penis (stroke from base to head a couple of times) and look for a sticky, green fluid or a yellowish thick substance coming out
  • blisters around the head of the penis (indicative of Herpes)
  • blisters or open sores around the vagina, even on the upper legs and buttocks (indicative of Herpes)
  • white discharge from vagina with a putrid smell (indicative of a yeast infection or a variety of STDs)

Caveat!! Don't confuse razor burn for Herpes sores or a rash. Razor burn is common in the public area due to the texture of the hair.
A great way to check out your potential partner(s) is to shower together before playing. Some clubs and many swing parties have shower rooms for the before and after cleanups. By bathing each other you get a chance for a close-up inspection without being obvious.
And speaking of showering, it is a good idea to take a shower and brush your teeth as soon after swinging as possible. If your partner did have any disease (even just a cold), you may be less likely to contract and spread it if you clean up quickly. Prevention is much easier than treatment (or even living with a disease for your entire life!).

Ask Questions Before Playing

Before playing in the lifestyle it is perfectly acceptable to as your potential partners any questions that may keep you all safe. Some questions you should ask of potential sex partners are:

  • How long have you been in the lifestyle?
  • Outside your relationship, do you always practice safe sex?
  • Do you or have you ever played with partners that are high risk such as bisexual men or anyone that uses IV drugs?
  • When were you last tested for STDs (especially HIV)?

These questions are important in protecting yourself and anyone that you will have sex with in the future. Neglecting to ask these questions could effect your life and others for years or even your entire life. If a potential sex partner is offended by you asking these questions or refuses to answer, you should probably not be having sex with him or her. The two most important things to remember to stay safe: 1. Better safe than sorry. 2. It's OK to say no!

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