Advice as to how to accept the STD risks in order to swing?
The wife and I are very interested in the swinging lifestyle...however, our largest concern is STD's. There are things out there that you can't look at and say, oh, sorry, you have something...we can't do this. Even using condoms may not help for some items...esspecially if you like to touch and do oral things...can anyone give advice on how to overcome, or to better understand what we can do to feel better about this aspect before we try this?
We are both fit fairly attractive people that are looking for some good company, and possibly to add another level to our sex life...not that ours is suffering. We just want to get all of our questions answered first.
I think that most couples have had to seriously consider the possiblilities of contracting an STD from swininging. "Getting over it" can be difficult, but sticking to safer sex and get to know your partners first should help ease the mind. Excluding intercourse and partaking in soft swing only may also be an option that you may like to consider.
Regardless of what you choose to do, there are some risks. You and your partner have to decide what risks you are willing to take. Each couple sets their boundaries and your boundaries may grow with time. Go with your instinct, if something doesn't seem right it probably isn't.
First let me Welcome you to the board, marriedr. Glad you decided to join us.
As for sexual protection...you about summed it up in your comment on using condoms. There are certain risks that are inherent in swinging, just like there are risks inherent in getting in your car and driving to work each day. You have to decide, for yourselves, how much risk you are willing to take. All you can do is minimize some of the risk by getting to know people, selecting your play partners carefully, not being in so much of a hurry to play that you forget some of the common sense safety factors, asking questions and sometimes very direct questions. "Are you concerned about contracting a STD? Do you get routine testing for STD's? How many sexual partners have you had?" Bear in mind, tho', that these questions might be a turn-off for some people and most importantly, people can and do lie. Outright. Bottom line, each person has to decide for themselves the risks they are willing to take. Unfortunately, there is no real answer to your question and you will find as many opinions on this topic as you will find people offering opinions.
Use the search feature to do a search on STD's and you will find lots of prior discussions, some of which may help.
Again, Welcome and we hope to see you around frequently!
Wouldn't it be nice if we could live in a cradle-to-grave risk-free world? Alas, that is a fantasy. When you consider your chances of experiencing life-altering injuries or illnesses from sources OTHER than STDs, the relative degree of risk gets put into perspective. Consider the chances of being seriously injured or disabled or killed every time you leave the house, especially when driving. Also consider the odds of being struck by lightning, or receiving a bee sting that causes an allergic reaction which can be life-threatening. Even people who have never had an allergic reaction can have a serious one the very NEXT time they are stung.
When we were new to swinging, we had the very same concerns you are expressing about STDs (as well as about several other issues that are best discussed elsewhere). I went to the website of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, GA, to look up statistics about STDs in the United States. Some things I learned that are relevant to your question are:
1) STDs are not evenly distributed among all segments of the population. Certainly, STDS of all kinds are FAR more prevalent in IV drug users and male homosexuals than in the general population. Certain cities are "hotbeds" of STDs, whereas some areas have extremely low incidence of STDs in their populations.
2) Unmarried, single people under the age of 30 have a much higher incidence of STDs than married people.
3) Ethnic, educational, and economic differences in groups of people also make a huge difference in the incidence of STDs. For example, married white couples with college degrees, over the age of 40, and with household incomes over $70,000 a year have probably as low an incidence of STDs as any demographic group you can find.
4) The really helpful thing to know is that the incidence of STDs in Americans (all groups combined) is really extremely low - much lower than your risk of getting killed in an auto accident, or of being struck by lightning. The exception was Herpes. I was shocked to read that one out of every FOUR American adults carries the herpes virus, whether or not they know it or have ever had an outbreak.
Putting things in perspective, your overall odds of ever acquiring an STD (other than herpes) are very, very low, even if you are totally undiscriminating in your choice of sex partners and are essentially having sex with people selected totally at random from the entire U.S. population. Of course, you will be SELECTIVE in your sex partners, so your odds will go down even more.
In our 7 years of swinging we have become fairly well acquainted with probably 50 or 60 swingers (no, we didn't play with them all!), and none of them has ever had an STD, and none of them knew anyone in the lifestyle who has ever had an STD or even ever heard about someone who had an STD. I suspect that since we swing in the "married white couples over 40 who are educated and have high incomes" crowd, that we are playing in an extremely safe crowd.
Condoms? Well, as a nurse we play with says "If you're going to do oral sex without protection, there is no use using a condom." In other words, you are exposing yourself to STDs through oral sex, whether or NOT a man ejaculates in your mouth. Still, vaginal penetration, and especially anal penetration, greatly increase the chances of small tears in tissue, leading to minor bleeding, which can lead to risk of acquiring STDs.
We NEVER use condoms or dental dams for oral sex, and don't know anyone who does. That's our choice, and it's a personal one. We don't recommend our own choice for everyone. Like everything else you do in swinging, you need to establish and stay within your OWN comfort zone. When we are playing with partners we just met or don't yet know very well, we always use condoms. However, with couples we have been with repeatedly for a year or more, and whom we know well enough to have confidence in their sexual practices and selection of partners, we no longer require condom use. Yes, that increases our chances of getting an STD, but minimally, in our opinion.
We continue to believe that your best protection against STDs is good judgement in your selection of sex partners. And we recommend using condoms for vaginal and/or anal penetration, unless you know your sex partner extremely well and have confidence in them based on your observations of them over time, not just on what they tell you.