Non-monogamy (having more than one sXual partner) carries extra risk for STI/STDs. No matter what type of non-monogamy you practice, the more partners involved in your network, the more risk you have for catching something that could stick with you for the rest of your life. For those who have multiple partners, there are also the considerations of others you are intimate with. Whether you are open with your other partners about being non-monogamous or not (or to what degree) is a seperate discussion on ethics. Here, the ethics center around our other partners being able to choose what risks they are exposed to , and being able to give truly informed consent to those risks. STI/STDs are not just passed via intercourse , but also through things that used to be considered safer, like kissing. HSV-1 & 2 are both able to be passed through oral or genital contact, including open mouthed kissing. And we've all heard the somewhat infamous story about Michael Douglas coming down with throat/tongue cancer , likely from his love of cunnilingus, right?? Find local STI testing now As we are all finding out thanks to COVID-19, public health information is rarely complete, and continues to evolve as scientists learn more, and better studies get done. I know that some things have changed from when I first learned about STI/STDs, such as how herpes can be spread asymptomatically , and does not require a person to be having an active outbreak to spread it. Some people never know they have herpes because they never had an outbreak, and doctors usually don't test for it unless you specifically ask for it. Why am I bringing this up? Because I think it's important to know what risks you are encountering if you decide to pursue any non-monogamous relationships. This foundation of knowledge can help to define the boundaries you need for yourself, mitigate the risks to yourself and your parnters, and communicate/navigate implimenting those needs in your relationships. Because I am non-monogamous myself, these are practices I am more familiar with, and want people to know I am someone you can come to talk about these concerns with, openly and honestly . I may not always have all the answers, but I want to help you find the answers you need, and learn to practice what you need in order to feel safe in all of your encounters. Want to learn more? John's Hopkins Safer sX Guidelines Planned Parenthood: Safer sX: reducing your risks of getting STDs Safer Sex Guide by Whitman-Walker Health & Human Rights Campaign Foundation (may not be secure) Our Bodies Ourselves Today: Safer Sex Articles Educational images below: must be at least 18 or over to view Got any favorite safer sX tips?? Resources? What ways you have found to be helpful in navigating safer sX with new partners? Share your experiences below, and pay it forward to others who may just be learning!
Hi friends! I wanted to share this resource I found about how to help identify monkeypox symptoms and learn more about how it is spread. The virus is spread through close contact via respiratory droplets (not as small/far traveling as C19 it sounds like...), body fluids (assume all until more studies are done), skin to skin contact, and contact with surfaces that came in contact with an infected person. Things I have found noteworthy in my research about MP: Symptoms will start where any skin to skin/contaminated surface contact happened, then follow a head>trunk>extremeties pattern. (If contacted via respiratory tract, I assume just head>trunk>extremeties progression). The way monkeypox is spreading in the west is different then how it has presented in cases in Africa in the past. (some evolution) Initial skin symptoms can look like mosquito bites or inflammed hair folicles until they progress (and become VERY painful!) The video above shows the stages the liasons work through over the course of the virus. Lymph nodes are often enlarged and tender, and an early symptom. This virus seems generally harder to contract then C19 due to supposedly needing closer contact to spread, but there are specific communities that may have higher risk factors (ie: anyone who participates in multiple partner play/intimacy, is non-monogamous, works in medical settings and/or works in a job involving public service or is service oriented). it's noteworthy that the virus can live on surfaces or skin cells that have shed off of an infected person, even after that person has left (including bedding - video notes one case where hospital worker who was gowned/gloved/not masked contracting it from changing bedding in a room that had previously had a monkeypox patient in it). The virus is only spread when an infected person is symptomatic , which includes mild symptoms (aches, fever, tired) before skin rash develops. The reported pain by some is very severe, and while not usually deadly, it sounds like it could be very challenging. One self-report I read had the infected person stating they contemplated suicide, and was a "30" on the one to 10 pain scale, unable to control the pain with prescription pain killers. These are things that are reported to help reduce spread of monkeypox: Wearing masks in public spaces where there is close contact/conversation with other people who may be infected. Washing hands frequentely, and using alcohol based hand sanitizer Limiting skin to skin contact with anyone suspected of having monkeypox Cleaning any/all surfaces that may have come in recent contact with someone who is infected with monkeypox Getting a monkeypox vaccine (especially if high risk)
Other resources about monkeypox: Johns Hopkins Medicine CDC Monkeypox Index CDC Monkeypox Prevention WHO Monkeypox Fact Sheet Cleveland Clinic Monkeypox Causes, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention Mayo Clinic - Monkeypox: what is it and how can it be prevented? Precautions I will be taking to protect myself and my clients:
Low volume operation: 1-2 clients per week max, spaced apart 2 or more days Watching for symptoms (daily temperature checks, internal & external body scans/awareness). Cancelling/postponing appointments if any possible symptoms present themselves Extra touch surface cleaning and extra protection/cover for active work spaces/furniture at meeting location. Monitoring for any symptoms to arise after meetings, contacting clients ASAP if any questionable symptoms arise.
These highlighted points are also things I ask my clients to follow to protect my health, and the health of others I may come in contact with in my life. Thank you for showing mutual care and respect as we do what we can to reduce risks and spread of public health issues such as this. In my personal life, I am still trying to figure out what my new normal is going to be... I no longer have the same interest in group parties and events. Is it my maturity & experience level wanting something different in my group play? The current state of public health? The current solo work I have been doing on myself that has deepened the past year or so? Concerns about my role working in a public service job, and the responsibilities I feel I have to my other clients, as well as those I love?? All of that really... I miss parties/clubs/events, and I still crave that energy, but I want it a different way moving forward. I'm not exactly sure of how to manifest that yet, so I am going to continue following what feels right to me at the moment, which is sticking to just my own personal play practice, which still allows for my own journey, but reduces risks for all involved. What I ask from my clients is that they please do the following in return: PLEASE CANCEL OUR MEETING IF YOU HAVE ANY OF THE FOLLOWING SYMPTOMS:
Fever Headache Muscle aches and backaches Chills Tiredness Swollen lymph nodes Skin rash YOU DO NOT HAVE TO HAVE A RASH TO BE CONSIDERED SYMPTOMATIC, AND THEREFORE SPREAD THE VIRUS. Initial rash can seem minor, and look like irritated hair folicles or mosquito bites. I will apply any deposit left after expenses to reschedule if it is within the 72 hour window that normally is non-refundable.
Original recipe:https://www.coeurdexocolat.com/hot-chocolate-port-drink Ingredients 40g dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa solids 600ml ruby port 30g caster sugar A large pinch of plain flour Method Pour the port into a saucepan. Break up the chocolate into small chunks and add to the saucepan. Add the sugar to the saucepan. Alcohol goes bitter when you heat it so you may need more to taste. Whisk in the flour. Cook over a low heat for 10 minutes, until small bubbles form around the edge. Do not boil. Whisk the mix together. Pour into your favourite (sic) cups or a chocolate pot if you have one. Drink whilst it’s still hot. What I did: ½ - ⅔ c espresso dark chocolate chips 1 bottle Sandman Reserve Ruby Port ¼ c. sugar (could use less next time? To taste at end…) 1 t. + flour I mixed flour with sugar, whisked into port, then added chocolate to warm while stirring frequently. Top with whipped cream. Serve with biscuits or biscotti, and citrus sparkling water (no sugar) to balance richness.