STIs: Polyfidelity (STD Awareness Month)
Polyfidelity is style of polyamory where all parties sharing an intimate relationship with each other agree to only be s3xual and romantic with each other. Even if they are all polyamorous, once a relationship is created (whether it be a triad, quad, or more), they close off access to dating others outside of the unit.
Polyfidelity won't prevent STIs.
There is this myth that being in a closed polyam dynamic will prevent STIs. This is not true. If being in a closed dynamic where you only have unprotected sex with each other stops the chance of transmitting an STI - then why do monogamous people still get STIs?
So while polyfidelity can be a tool used to manage exposure - it is dependent upon the faithfulness (and risks of fluid exchange) between the other partners in the unit.
Polyfidelity can* decrease your exposure.
This is assuming all s3xu@l partners have no stis, or are on treatment for an sti, have not engaged in s3xu@l acts while waiting for their test results, and are not exchanging bodily fluids with others outside the dynamic. The fact of the matter is if you are exchanging bodily fluids - you have a risk of acquiring an STI.
There is nothing wrong with polyfidelity.
However, if the reason for polyfidelity is primarily rooted in unprotected s3x and prevention of STIs - this needs to be communicated beforehand. There are a lot of assumptions with polyfidelity that can lead to issues.
- every polyam person seeking a closed dynamic is not interested in unprotected s3x. some people still utilize protective barriers years into a committed relationship.
- all people seeking this dynamic type are not "STI-free". some people are living with STIs and polyfidelous. framing polyfidelity as "STI-free" is incredibly problematic.
- with the aforementioned thought process, open dynamics are considered "dirty/unclean".
- if a member of the closed dynamic gets an sti, for example, from an assault or fluid exchange (not cheating) - are they no longer considered to be a member of the relationship due to their STI status? especially if the basis of the closed dynamic is unprotected s3x & STI prevention?
- complete aversion is not STI education and prevention. the lack of education is how STIs continue to spread. parties must also understand fluid exchange.
What you can do.
Polyfidelity may still be the best option for you and that's okay. here are some things you can do to protect yourself.
- know your status. go get tested at LEAST once a year and every time you or even your partner(s) change a partner.
- use protective barriers.
- limit your amount of fluid exchange/bonded partners.
- practice abstinence.