When one examines the different sexual practices and norms observed all over the world, it would confirm that nobody, indeed, is created equality. Western societies have seen the emergence of several sexual preferences considered divergent from the traditional monogamous, heterosexual pairing and have slowly recognized and accepted these relationships. This has added the emphasis on the importance of promoting safe sex and AIDS prevention. Though not all may agree, adhering to the principles of safe sex would undeniably avoid much suffering, if not prevent death itself.
As sexual practices become more diverse with each passing time, a evolution of different sexual norms also occur.
One is the practice of swinging, or sometimes termed as wife-swapping. Nowadays, swingers have come to be defined as anybody, single or otherwise, who freely practice promiscuous sex. Though swingers groups consist mostly of married couples, singles have long taken an active part in this lifestyle. Those who practice swinging have to adhere to two simple rules: that free choice takes precedence over all aspects, and that nobody is encouraged to engage in swinging unless he or she is absolutely sure that they do want it and are secure in their relationship with their partners. Swinging is meant to enhance the existing romantic relationship a couple has and no other emotional attachments are formed with other members of the group, albeit sex with different partners are encouraged. As these sexual relationships are often fleeting and unattached, the need for safe sex practices should be even more pronounced.
BDSM, which stands for bondage, dominance, sadism and masochism, is another sexual practice which has seen popularity in modern society. Beyond the popular, though decidedly wrong association of BDSM with cruelty, this sexual practice can be considered as a form of self-actualization and should be considered in safe sex promotional campaigns. As with swinging, practitioners of BDSM place much emphasis on consent and free choice. Honest and clear communication is also essential when participants engage in role playing.
Polyamory is practiced when a person publicly acknowledges having more than one romantic relationship at a given time. Despite the lack of fidelity, polyamorous individuals pride themselves in being honest and open of their physical and emotional attachments to numerous partners.
One common thread in all three relationships described above is having multiple sexual partners. Though there is no stopping consenting adults from indulging in whatever practices that take their fancies, this does not exempt them from the responsibility of practicing safe sex. Having several partners increases their chances of contacting sexually transmitted diseases. One effective way to prevent this is the use of condom every time one has sex. Their safe sex responsibilities also extend toward gaining knowledge of how to store, put on, and use condoms properly. It is also emphasized that safe sex and the use of contraceptives do not rely on men alone, women must also take charge of their sexual lives and practice birth control themselves.
And because these individuals possess adventurous spirits themselves, they might also use various sex toys to enhance their sexual encounters. Keep in mind that though sex toys eliminate the use of birth control, it still can transmit several sexually transmitted diseases. Again, the importance of safe sex is underscored. Users should ensure that all sex toys are properly cleaned and stored. Slip condoms on dildos and vibrators, especially if more than one person shares it.
Though these sexual practices may not widely recognized and discussed in mainstream societies, there is no denying that such groups and individuals do exist. Because these persons do not operate on the traditional norms established by society when it comes to relationships and sex, emphasis must be placed on the practice of safe sex at all times. Knowing your partner’s identity and asking them to divulge their sexual history might not be enough in these cases, as honest and full disclosures are not always guaranteed. Condoms are and will always be the most convenient and popular form of protection and means of safe sex.