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Whether you’re just dipping your toes into kink for the first time or have been a player in the scene for years and consider yourself more sadistic than de Sade himself, your health and the health of others should always be a concern. Of course, this applies to vanilla sex and relationships as well, but due to the very physical nature of kinky sex, it applies for our community twofold, not least if you decide to explore polyamory and/or open relationships as your leather life grows.

A good starting point is to ask yourself a few questions: What are the risks you are willing to take? Do you play only with condoms and dental dams? Do you use birth control? Do you know your partner intimately and understand who they will be with and what that person’s sexual life involves?

Safer sex is very sexy to others and if you are known for playing safe, you will find potential partners more attracted to you. My number one rule of safety at all times is Know Your Partners. There should never be a situation where someone says, “Oh, I don’t what his health status is; I never bothered to ask.” If you are going to be with multiple partners then I suggest the buddy system. Just like when you were in swim class as a child–you looked out for your buddy and he looked out for you. In Poly and open relationships, you will have multiple buddies, not just one. Check in with them, find out what is going on and get tested on a regular basis. Having regular open communication about who you are seeing and when and what activities might be involved or what you did last weekend will make any conversation that involves a heavier subject easier to talk about if at some point your sexual health is compromised. You have other partners and their sexual health to think about, not just your own. Don’t be selfish; be open and discuss these issues before you play. If your reputation is one of being a safe partner who takes time and care regarding safe sex then your attractiveness in the community will go upward. If you have a terrible reputation for being selfish and self-centered with your emotional and physical safety, you aren’t going to find many people willing to be with you. I always find it interesting that vanilla people don’t tend to be subject to this type of social circle warning system. It’s one of the checks and balances that help our communities police themselves.


Questions I ask myself before I get involved with new play partners: Do they practice safe sex? What are their other partners’ practices like? How comfortable are they with discussing health issues with their physician? How often do they have STI testing and can they show me the results when I show them mine? What are their limits with kinky play, e.g., whipping, bondage, blood play, et cetera, and how do they dovetail with my own interests or limits? In a casual play setting do they need aftercare, and can I provide it or not?

Your sexual health is important and you should cherish it, not subject it to unnecessary risks. Kinkier play and situations are fun and awesome, but you need to make positive, healthy sexual choices and only you can be responsible for that.

By choosing an open or closed poly or an open relationship, you are opening yourself up to more than one partner on emotional, mental and physical levels. Discussing what is intimate and meaningful to you and your partners and establishing clear boundaries will help you all to nurture your relationships and have fun exploring others and welcoming them. Your sexual health and safety is important; there is nothing more expensive than regret, and making sure that your health is taken care of will allow you to concentrate on figuring out How To Be Kinkier!


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