Warning for the prudish: Some mild but blunt discussion about doing adult things follows. (Hi to all the perverts who just paid attention!)
I wasn’t introduced to the idea of “fluid bonding” until I started running into polyamorous people.
Fluid bonding is one of those things that seems like it should be fairly straightforward: It’s when you engage in unprotected sex; that is, your fluids mingle. Some folks (including myself) also put a bit of significance upon this as a “milestone” in the relationship, in that it implies a level of commitment that is beyond the casual.
As is too frequent, polyfolk think and talk about this concept a lot more than monogamous folks. The Solopoly blog has a pretty good explainer that’s worth reading.
But it also highlights a failing of my own that I had; a hidden pocket of sexism and patriarchy I wasn’t consciously aware existed.
I only really considered it fluid-bonding if there was penetrative sex.
When a girlfriend of mine was also dating a woman, I didn’t even stop to think about dental dams or other oral barriers. It literally did not occur to me.
But when that girlfriend started dating another man, I suddenly stopped and asked if there was protection used during oral sex. Again, that’s something I hadn’t ever even thought about asking while she dated a woman.
I could – if I was being a dishonest asshat – hide behind statistics about transmission rates. But that would be … well, dishonest.
It was about there being a dick involved.
And that’s kind of the point here. Not that I was jealous about there being another guy, but that even for someone who had spent SO much time examining their own societal sexism a rather large (and potentially risky) pocket of sexism managed to escape notice for so long.
(As an aside, things got sorted out rather quickly with that girlfriend, especially since I realized the bullshit double standard I’d unconsciously imposed.)
I’m not here to judge whatever protective measures you and your partner(s) have agreed upon. Do what you and your partner(s) are comfortable agreeing to.
But I am here to say that those measures should be consistent across genders and sexual preference.
And that even if you’ve spent years examining your own biases and prejudices, you’re never finished exhuming that crap from your psyche. Combating the prejudices and biases that society programs you with is not a two-week crash course.
Be aware, and don’t be afraid to challenge yourself.