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Safe Sex Risk Rankings

Because of a confluence of societal factors, more and more partners are considering becoming “monogamists.” Whether that’s threesomes, parallel play, or soft swaps (which I define below and rank by safety), the most significant risk is not emotional. It’s physical. What is safe group play, what is risky, and why?

Discover a Parallel Play “Twist” You Can Do At Home Together

The term STIs or sexually transmitted infections replaced the use of STDs or sexually transmitted diseases in our lexicon a decade ago. This idea of exchanging disease with infection made people think these contagions were less dangerous.

STIs are on the rise. More people are having sex with more partners. And there are more infections and diseases to test for now than ever.

Separating infections such as Chlamydia (bacteria) and Trichomoniasis (a parasite) from viral diseases (incurable with long-term effects) such as Herpes (HSV), HIV, HPV, and Hepatitis is a crucial distinction to make. Further, there is no test for men for HPV, which causes cancers of the throat and reproductive organs. And only a pap smear can detect HPV in women.

Scroll down to see the risk profiles of threesomes, parallel play, and soft swaps. And I have the latest and best testing recommendation for you.

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🦠 3somes, Soft Swaps, and Parallel Play Risk Analysis

The risk profiles in order are:

Parallel Play ⇐ Not Risky

Soft Swaps ⇐ Risky

Threesomes or Moresomes ⇐ Risky

I recommend thinking about having sex with other people as a two-tiered risk situation.

Level A: Kissing, toys, and hands-on body and genitals are low risk.

Level B: Oral and penetration are high risk.

That a “soft swap” is less risky because you’re only doing oral, not penetration, is a false assumption.

STIs and STDs are not just contracted through exposure to semen or vaginal fluid. Condoms only protect against some risk. Skin-to-skin contact passes MOST STIs. Therefore, a body scan is vital to being intimate. You want to SEE with your eyes if there are any scabies, lice, or open sores on the genitals, the lower back, or anywhere on the body.

In addition, I do NOT recommend Doxy-PEP, which is a post-sex dose of antibiotics used commonly in the gay community, because of the familiarity of PrEP, an HIV antiviral.

Every time you take an antibiotic, especially preventatively (prophylactically), you kill off the good bacteria in your gut. That leads to emotional and physical problems downline.

It’s so much better to get a full panel test before doing any B Level physical intimacy. So parallel play—where you as a couple have sex with each other next to another couple having sex with each other—is much safer than soft swapping. 
One benefit of the pandemic was our collective experience of having tests at home for fast results. This technology has now moved forward with STI Testing kits.

I’m the new Chief Advocacy Officer of BasisDx, a state-of-the-art home collection kit. They started during the pandemic, bringing COVID testing to remote locations, focusing on the convenience of home collection without sacrificing quality. Now, they offer “home-collected” STI testing. Keep kits at home. When you need fresh tests, the lancets, swabs, and urine collection are included in the kit. Mail it back. Within 48 hours of receipt, your results will be sent to your email. 

They also work with your health insurance and cover many people’s tests.

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Sexual Health (8) – STI Comprehensive Kit is a genital swab and finger stick PCR/Antibody panel test for the eight most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs).  

Use this kit for a self-collected, mail-in test for a panel of the eight most common STIs:

  • Chlamydia trachomatis (bacteria)  
  • Gardnerella vaginalis (bacteria)
  • Hepatitis C (virus)                           
  • HIV 1 & 2 (virus)
  • Mycoplasma genitalium (bacteria)    
  • Trichomonas (parasite)
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae (bacteria)           
  • Syphilis (bacteria)                 

Nothing says, “I’m a safe lover,” than offering testing to a prospective partner.

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