Gonnorhea, HPV, Herpes and other nasties you need to prevent if you are swinging.

Where I come from there has been sex education taught in the schools for over 40 years. Often taught by gym teachers who would rather be doing anything else then discussing Fallopian tubes and dealing with “the smell of puberty in the morning” but accurate details about STI’s have long been in the public domain. And yet many adults have no idea that the four non-curable sex infections, and that you can get things like penile cancer from a STI or that gonnorhea can live in your throat. STI’s for many people remain a mystery they simply pray to avoid.
Given the global reach of the Covid-19 pandemic we are all far more sensitive to the impact of invisible viruses and bacteria on our health. And the worry that connecting with someone might kill us. It can be especially scary if you want to play or swing outside of your relationship. Swingers or other non-monogamous people have a vested interest in being safe and sexy. Anyone dating – especially if you are a bit of a germaphobe- may stop you from venturing out to get your sexual needs met. But there is still a huge about of mis-information about swinging and sti’s. In a time of great uncertainty and anxiety about the global pandemic there is also a need for prudent, balanced facts about our communal health. That includes Sexually transmitted infections. The early (and albeit not 100% proven) news about Covid-19 is that if there is no kissing or exchange of breath and mouth droplets the pandemic virus isn’t transmitted sexually. But as well trained as I am about in the area of sexual health I wouldn’t chance it right now with a stranger casually.
So what about the STI’s that have been in our bodies for decades now? It may be time to re-visit how to best prevent getting those infections. I was too young to date during the beginning of the AIDS outbreak in the early 80’s when they didn’t know exactly how you could contract it but it did have the swinging 70’s move to “leave it to Beaver” in a few short years. HIV and Aids had us all scared for awhile.
A few months ago my husband and I did a talk at the largest swinger/lifestyle convention in Canada (VIN). While there were condoms everywhere there was certainly indiscriminate play in the hot tubs and playrooms around the convention hall. We fielded more than a few questions about sexual infections. Few of the people we spoke to had their garnacil (for the HPV and genital warts virus) or twinrix (for Hepatitis) vaccines. And most of the couples we spoke to didn’t use condoms for oral play. Even when STI’s like Chlamydia and Gonnorhea can live in your mouth. Few of the people we had spoken to seemed to be concerned.
As the Popular Science article summed up beautifully.
“Why is this important? Well, a lot of people assume STIs are gross—thanks, society—and part of that stigma is a misconception that all STIs produce gnarly and horrific symptoms. In reality, this is pretty rare! Herpes, for instance, is asymptomatic in almost everyone who has it, and gonorrhea and chlamydia can also infiltrate your body’s defenses without making much fuss. They can even go away on their own, but the problem is that they don’t always do so.
That means that you should not wait for an outbreak of oozing sores before getting tested for STIs. If you’re sexually active—and we’re talking about any kind of sex—you need to get tested two to three times a year.
A mucus membrane is a mucus membrane. STIs, like all infections, are caused by viral, bacterial, or fungal microbes. While many of these infections have particular parts of the body they’ve evolved to thrive in, most of them aren’t too picky. The risks vary between diseases—a 2016 article from the San Francisco AIDS Foundation really hammers home the message that the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae will take any opportunity to hop off your skin and onto someone else’s, but not all STIs are this industrious.
This doesn’t mean you should spend your next date in a hazmat suit. The solution is actually really simple.
Get tested.”
The challenge of this time is to walk the line between prudent and paranoid. And while I am locked away in quarantine doing my part to stop the global pandemic I will admit having a few eye rolling moments. Some intakes of breath when the American President dismissed the risk of Covid-19 and some exasperation of the exaggerated numbers and banning of even the solo sitting on a park bench. And at a time when we need connection more than ever it’s important to get the facts and get tested. My $500 four week program to help you find a partner (or partners) includes a discussion on the latest facts about sti’s. And during this time of
health uncertainly facts and clear science are what we need most of all.