Can I Acquire Sexually Transmitted Diseases If I Sleep With Multiple People?

Cathy: Alright. Ready?

Kevin: Yes.

Cathy: Okay. So a number of people have written into my channel my YouTube channel and they…..they aren’t generally familiar with poly but they’re may be curious or want to know more about it and they are very concerned that if they do start being poly sleeping with multiple people they might be more exposed to STI and STDs. They’re more likely to get some kind of sexually transmitted disease and I’d love to talk about that a little bit more with you Kevin.

Kevin: Yup.

Cathy: This is Kevin A. Patterson from and I’m Cathy Vartuli from and you’ve interviewed hundreds and hundreds of people from poly that are in poly relationships and I know you do talk about you know safer sex practices. What do you have to say to someone who’s new coming in like “Yeah, I’m really curious but I don’t want to end up with….with….an STD or an STI.”

Kevin: Alright. I’m going to go for the tension but I promise I’m going to bring you to that.

Cathy: Okay, no problem. I trust you.

Kevin: The…. So an issue that I have with monogamy it is like really the only issue that I have in monogamy is that it set up actually the default setting that people aren’t having the conversation about it like this isn’t like people aren’t figuring out, people aren’t talking about like what do you want in this relationship? And then like come into the conclusion of monogamy

Cathy: Yeah.

Kevin: is just the goal to relationship and monogamy is expected.

Cathy: Yeah.

Kevin: And I say all that because there are so many of these conversations that we’re not having. Where there’s so many of these default setting conversations where we’ll argue all day about “where we’ll be going to eat tonight?” “What toppings do you want on this pizza?” “How are we going to raise these kids?” “Under which religion?” but we’re not talking about like sexual health.

Cathy: Yeah.

Kevin: And that’s such a thing that it’s you know you’re going into this relationship and you’re not really thinking about, you’re not really talking about it. The singer, Usher recently had an issue where….where I mean not all the details. I don’t know like you know allegedly might have infected someone with herpes

Cathy: Oh.

Kevin: and a lot of the comments where I heard was well, who really even talks about these things?

Cathy: People don’t in general

Kevin: Yeah! But polyamorous people do a lot of the time and it’s not because we are any better or you know better or worse at these things but because communication – honest hard communication really introspective emotionally literate conversation is woven into the fabric of the relationship structure like we have to have these called conversations for our relationships to thrive.

Cathy: Yes.

Kevin: And we can’t just put it on the back burner and pretend it doesn’t exist and still have a functioning relationship.

Cathy: Yeah.

Kevin: All relationships die without these conversations and one of those conversations is about sexual health

Cathy: Yeah.

Kevin: you know who are you sleeping with? What protection are you using with those people that you’re sleeping with? What you know

Cathy: When were you last tested? What were you tested for?

Kevin: Exactly…..exactly. If we’re not having those conversations our relationships balled up like my….my polyamory is….is really sexual, my partners need to know that I’m having safe sex conversation with anyone that I’m sleeping with.

Cathy: Yeah.

Kevin: My partners need to know that if there’s a change in status, if there’s a change in exposure from one….one STI to another that I’m…..I’m speaking to them about that.

Cathy: Yeah.

Kevin: If I’m….if I don’t like our relationship go away.

Cathy: Well, I’d love in a lot of what we’ve been talking about Reid Mihalko covers and his Safer Sex Elevator Speech and you can find that at and it just walks you through the steps of that which is I think really helpful to…..because a lot of people are uncomfortable talking about it. Kind of having a script or being able to watch a video. He is someone who has YouTube channel where you can like go through it and like “honey, watch this. What do you think?” But I….I agree I know that that people who get tested regularly there’s statistics showing that there are incidents of STI and STD’s much lower than

Kevin: Yeah.

Cathy: the general population where when I was dating monogamous people a lot of times I’d ask “have you been tested? Like no…… I know I’m fine.” And I’m like

Kevin: Yeah.

Cathy: “but you told me your wife cheated on you….your ex-wife cheated on you like four times.” “Yeah…yeah but I’d be able to tell.” And I’m like unless the paperwork says then I’m not feeling really comfortable.

Kevin: Yeah. Like I…I get tested on like I think every three very three to six months depending on like sort of like the….the change in change in partners and that’s a conversation and if you make it like a….I mean I…..I’ve…I’ve taken a workshop with Reid where Reid explaining us out the…the Safer Sex Elevator Speech

Cathy: Yeah.

Kevin: and if you’re proactive it builds confidence, it builds trust with your partners.

Cathy: Yeah

Kevin: So there are ways to do out words very low investment. It’s very low pressure, low stress. I’ve had a conversations where it’s like I’m taking all of her pennies, we’re having this conversation as it goes. She’s telling me her situation I’m… know I’m telling her my situation and it’s still a sexy thing that we’re doing.

Cathy: Yeah.

Kevin: It’s still…’s still a sexy dance that we’re dancing while we’re having this conversation. It’s not you know a hard set conversation that’s going to end in you know us being upset. It’s

Cathy: Yeah.

Kevin: we’re building a trust. We’re building a relationship and now let’s go f*ck.

Cathy: Yes. Well, you’re taking the fear off the table like this is… it’s a known quantity rather than I’m better not ask because they might run away.

Kevin: Exactly

Cathy: So it’s a known quantity and then part of it is also asking what do you like, what don’t you like?

Kevin: Yes.

Cathy: So now everybody feels like they’re a little bit more like a rock star because they know like oh don’t…..don’t he doesn’t like his head rub but he really loves that when like when someone does this to his penis. Okay.

Kevin: Yeah.

Cathy: If we get there I probably can make him feel really good.

Kevin: Yeah, exactly.

Cathy: And that’s fun.

Kevin: And how do these conversations? By getting use to have these conversations, it makes things so much easier. It… sound like in… a world where you’re not having these conversations and you just sort of going with default settings

Cathy: Yeah.

Kevin: It sounds like a hassle but it really isn’t.

Cathy: Yeah. No, it’s counterintuitive in some ways. It’s not how I was brought up to expect but it makes such a difference and in builds it builds a connectedness that makes it a lot more fun to… connect to sexually connect if you if you’re going to go there. So

Kevin: Yeah.

Cathy: Yeah. Thanks so much for sharing about that. I appreciate it.

Kevin: Yeah. No doubt, absolutely.

Cathy: Yeah. If you have any questions, comments please leave….leave them below. We’d love to hear what you say.