Swinging and STDsBy: Dr. Ziggy
Much attention has been to AIDS and HIV in the general public. This attention has often exaggerated the dangers from multiple heterosexual partners and specifically exaggerated the dangers from the swinging LifeStyle.
We in the swinging community have correctly challenged the claim of high AIDS risk from unprotected heterosexual sex. However, we have probably erred by implying that swinging and sexual play with multiple partners is risk free. Intimate contact with others frequently spreads germs. There are disease risks in swinging. There are also strategies to reduce the risks. The highest disease risks (all of which we have seen at our couples' massage events) are the following:
There are strategies to prevent infections and reduce risks. These strategies still allow couples to enjoy erotic pleasure with others. We have listed three categories of strategies and we have named them "minimal, moderate & highest." Each strategy provides a different level of protection. The "highest" strategy provides the most protection. Strategies can be mixed or matched depending on comfort levels.
Minimal Prevention Strategies
1. Check your genitals, labia, penis and anus for cuts, sores or open wounds. Check your mouth, lips and tongue for sores. Do not participate in sexual play involving direct skin contact with open sores. Do not participate in sexual play when you have cold or flu symptoms.
2. Check your spouse and sexual partners for sores. Do not participate in sexual play with a partner where there is direct skin contact with open sores.
3. Wash your hands and urinate after sexual play. Use this strategy before playing with a different or new partner. Drink plenty of water. There is evidence that urinating after sexual play reduces the risk of UTI.
4. Use lubricants particularly when playing with multiple partners. Avoid frequent hard or rough play. Both of these methods will reduce the risks of abrasions.
Moderate Prevention Strategies
1. Use male or female condoms with intercourse.
2. Limit intercourse and/or oral sex to one set of multiple partners per day.
Highest Prevention Strategies
1. Use latex shields when having oral sex.
2. Avoid intercourse and/or oral sex with multiple partners.
3. Use erotic massage as a substitute for oral sex or intercourse with multiple partners.
4. Use same room sex with your monogamous partner, watching and being watched, as a substitute for oral sex or intercourse with multiple partners. Choosing A Strategy That is Comfortable for You and Your Partner
In all aspects of living there are risks. There are risks in driving your car to work. There is virtually no activity, particularly recreational activity, that is risk free. There are risks in downhill skiing, swimming in the ocean, playing golf and hiking in the woods. There are also great pleasures and great enjoyment gained from recreational activities. It is sensible that we evaluate recreational sex in the same way we evaluate other pleasurable activities. We cannot expect it to be risk free. However, we can minimize the risks. From our experience in the LifeStyle, here are the factors that allow us to take greater risks:
We can take greater risks when we have more information about our new sexual partners.
We can take greater risks if we believe our new sexual partners can be long-term supportive friends.
We can take greater risks when we as a couple have talked about it and are taking the risk jointly.
We can take greater risks if we are gaining greater enjoyment.
We can take greater risks when we accept the possible need for medication or other treatment, just as one accepts the possible need for sunburn medication when vacationing at the beach.
We can accept greater risks when we know we also have the option of accepting lower risks if we are uncomfortable. We are not locked into only the two options of monogamous sex and unprotected intercourse. We can develop a full menu of erotic pleasuring options depending on our sense of safety.
Of the four highest risk infections, Genital Herpes raises the most fears and concerns. This is not because it is more dangerous. In fact, a severe bronchial infection or flu infection is harder to treat and will likely result in more severe symptoms. Genital Herpes, however, raises more fears because it is contracted only through sexual play and therefore is more embarrassing.
Herpes type 2, or genital herpes, is a viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2). It is transmitted sexually, and typically causes blisters on the male and female genitals that rupture into painful red sores. Most people who have herpes find that it recurs. While there are effective treatments, there is no cure.
This article was printed with permission from DrZiggy. The article is based on a presentation made by a professional couple in the health care field.
Dr.Ziggy is a Clinical Sexologist and Social Psychologist that has conducted research in the Lifestyle for the last 10 years. His area of concentration is Sexual Behaviour and Sexual Motivation.