I’ve been an organizer of Sex Positive 805 for over two years, steeped in consent, boundaries, community, sexy parties, and education. I found that there was something ruminating in the back of most people’s minds: they had no idea what their risk profile was or how to learn about it! I wanted to share what I’ve learned and what I decided worked best for me, there is *no* golden standard on risk (see the title).
What’s a Risk Profile?
When I get in my car, I always put on my seatbelt before I start moving. This is part of my driving risk profile, I’ve only *needed* that seatbelt twice in my life, but it saved me from death or permanent injury. I don’t plan to change that seatbelt practice because I understand its value, and that driving is risky. The same is true about sex, BDSM, and life in general.
Red Flag Warning
Consent needs to be your and your potential playmates top priority: no means no, and once is enough. That’s it, don’t compromise your boundaries to make someone else more comfortable. You are responsible for your own health and safety, no one is going to do it for you. Telling someone “no” and them being cool about it, them respecting my boundaries is like wearing that seatbelt with a new person. There are situations that can go awry, people take advantage, it happens, and I want to acknowledge that it happens. Be clear, and if you’re uncomfortable, get out!
My Sexy Risk Profile
I choose to be in relationships that allow me freedom, I’m talking about the ability to: date romantically, hook-up not so romantically, tie people up, or go to cuddle parties etc. That comes from being honest with new people about what they’re getting into, and honest with myself about what I’d like to do or not do with a new person.
When it comes to sex, it’s important to have a safer sex talk. Mine includes when I was last tested, a few turn-ons, avoids/injuries, and my relationship expectations, followed by asking for the same from them. If the other person isn’t sure about when they were tested, or what for; if they don’t know how their partner would feel about this etc; then I do not have sex with them. There’s a lot of people in this world, and a safer sex talk lets me know if the other person values their health and wellness enough for me to engage with them.
STI risk is somewhat of a boogie monster to most people, these unknowable nasty untreatable diseases that dirty people get. The reality is that most STIs are totally treatable, and the shame we feel around them is the real problem. Getting tested is quick, involving a vaginal swab (you do yourself), finger prick, and blood draw; that’s it! Planned Parenthood will give you this test for free, even to teens with discretion! I get tested quarterly (every 3-4 months)
If the talk goes well with a new person, I have one more personal rule. I require the one doing the penetrating to use a condom. This won’t protect me from everything, but it massively lowers risk of catching an STI. I feel that if it’s a one-time thing, and I never see them again, then I can still feel good about my health. If they come back for more, then I can negotiate higher risk play with them in the future. I’d continue to require condoms for anal, because it carries a higher risk than vaginal sex. I generally do not require dental dams to be used for oral, even though chlamydia can be spread this way, I accept the
BDSM is another kind of monster, a safer sex talk is great but there is additional risk awareness that both you and your partner need to work out. My kink of choice is rope bondage, that includes risk awareness of breathing, nerve issues/numbness, and potential death. It’s important that both parties understand those risks and take steps to play safely. If the rope is out, so are trauma sheers or a hook knife; there’s checking in with each other, communicating numbness if it comes up, and always the knowledge that if someone needs out immediately, the rope will be cut immediately. . . and that’s one kink! Every kind of BDSM play has different risk, and thankfully there are a lot of folks around to educate on every type.
Educate yourself on what risk you’re comfortable with and don’t let a hottie talk you out of it! Make sure you’re comfortable saying “no” to what you don’t want, and that your partner will be cool about it, and vice versa! Remember there’s a lot of fun that can be had with toys, gloved hands, and barriers. Get tested quarterly if you see lots of people, and annually if you’re solo or monogamous. Remember it takes two weeks to test positive after being with a new person, and no symptoms is common with STIs!
Be empowered to feel pleasure by educating yourself
More about risk:
Jamie is a leader in sex positivity, educating others on how to set boundaries and create their ideal relationships. She is an ethical slut, polyamorous, kinky, and an educator. Find out more about her at www.givenconsent.org