This article was published on December 14th, 2017
No one can argue that relationships are hard work, but the ones that succeed have one common thread: open lines of communication. No matter what kind of relationship you are in, whether it be monogamous, open, or polyamorous, maintaining positive and healthy sexual experiences is a priority. Whatever your relationship status, there are some basic principles that they all share. These similarities are key to maintaining the positive and healthy sexual experiences we all desire.
It is imperative to educate yourself on medical advances that impact our community, with the ultimate goal of risk assessment and reduction. We are fortunate to live at a time when we have multiple options for keeping things safe. Take the time to educate yourself or speak with your physician about what is currently medically available. Learn more about daily PrEP, party-dosing of PrEP, condoms, and TasP, with Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) as a backup plan for high-risk encounters. Self-analysis combined with a full understanding of ramifications allows for fruitful encounters that satisfy one’s desires, while continuing successful relationships.
Serial Medical Evaluations
Consistent and routine medical surveillance is a must, with STD screenings every 3, 6, or 12 months, depending on your activity level, relationship status, and/or number of partners, as well as HIV management with viral load assessment when applicable. Creating a culture of self-responsibility fosters safe spaces, specifically when complicating or altering one’s relationship. Honest discussions with full disclosure to one’s physician are mandatory and should be fostered with continued re-evaluations, making sure all parties are at their lowest risk and highest potential for healthy experiences. But the key person to engage in this assessment is yourself. When you look in the mirror and see your reflection, make sure you are honest with him!
Psychological assessment isn’t about whether or not someone is bat-shit crazy—far from it! Rather, it’s about understanding your happiness with your sexual life and questioning if you are reaching your deserved potential. Without these internal and external conversations, you and your partner(s) can never attain that ideal. The good, the bad, and the ugly foster learning and without this, one’s climax may never be fully achieved.
Now that we have a foundation on positive engagement, we can look more deeply at different types of relationships and how to maintain healthy and fulfilling sexual experiences in each.
The key to the oldest relationship in the book is communicating—and that’s the hardest part. What works? What doesn’t? What feels fucking amazing? What sucks (and it ain’t his mouth!)? The clients that have the best monogamous relationship are constantly exploring new ways to engage mentally, physically, and sexually. New experiences, both positive and negative, allow for heightened relationships to develop; however, without these discussions, the realization or newfound understanding is limited. We should all be so lucky to meet that one person. But that person changes and life changes and with that comes the responsibility to stay true to the cause or to re-evaluate how to continue with positivity.
Desires outside of a relationship are natural and commonplace, specifically in the gay community. But what’s key is to understand the role these desires play within one’s primary relationship. From there, boundaries and clear rules must be defined and an understanding of the consequences if these rules are broken must be acknowledged. When considering encounters outside of your primary relationship, discussions must take place prior to engagement. If you follow my work, you know that my motto is: the cock always wins. It’s what we do with the mind behind the cock that can keep a relationship going strong. And believe me, relationships that last through ups and downs are built on the understanding of an ever-changing and ever-evolving dynamic. I think we can all agree how unhealthy it is to be in a relationship built on lies and deceit.
If one decides they want to open up their relationship, the first step (besides the previous paragraph) is to analyze one’s sexual practices, desires, and realistic expectations, all while maximizing safe encounters. And it’s not only one’s personal risks, but also all the risks then multiplied by different partners, primary and beyond. Defining your openness calls into question what specific sexual acts will be performed. Understanding one’s true practices allows for the best insight into the minimization of risk. There should not be any judgements or biases on what one chooses to practice, as long as it is mutually agreed upon.
This practice or engagement is the desire for intimate relationships with more than one partner, with the knowledge and respect of all who are involved. It has been described as ‘consensual, ethical, and responsible non-monogamy’. Not an easy feat by any means and it can become hugely complicated very quickly, since ‘the more players, the more layers’. Honest discussions here are beyond essential, with constant updates and check-ins on not only sexual positivity, but also supratentorial happiness. Similar to an open relationship, clean sexual culture with serial examinations in polyamory allow for fruitful engagements. Though if infection does occur, immediate and appropriate planning and treatment for all parties involved is critical. It is bound to happen and with this understanding in mind, clarity will ensue, leading to positive overall wellbeing and also sexual wellbeing.
Jealousy and/or lack of partner participation can lead to negativity. Fostering discussions on everyone’s expectations and desires for the relationship is not selfish at all, but can lead to rewarding outcomes. Direct communication or routine meetings can resolve protracted issues, allowing the mental and physical components to jive across partnerships.
Regardless of the relationships one creates, it’s critical to initially focus on self-reflection and realization of one’s overall life goals and sexual experiences. Having access to healthcare that provides support for one’s desires—like Bespoke Surgical—is vital in not just open relationships, but all relationships. And constant re-evaluation with direct communication allows for successful encounters. With the ever-changing tide of relationships, don’t count anything out until the discussions are had. Education, serial physical evaluations, and periodic psychological assessments are key to the ever-amazing positive, healthy sexual experiences you desire.