Storytime: Driving the Car- An analogy for sexual health choices

10 Nov

Polyamorous folks are often asked how we manage risk reduction, and handle fears of STIs. I have a simple analogy I like to use:

Having sex is a lot like driving a car. You can keep yourself safe by:

  • make sure you only do it when you’re sober and making rational decisions
  • equip yourself with various safety measures (like airbags and seatbelts… or condoms and gloves)
  • keep the necessary equipment in good working order (with the help of a mechanic or doctor)
  • obey traffic laws (or principals of risk reduction, like using condoms and lube)
  • limiting how often and for how long you are driving
But ultimately, even if you are the best, safest driver in the world, you might get T-boned by a truck. So ultimately, when you’re thinking about driving, you have to decide if the destination is work the risk.
Are you going to take a few hours on the highway to see some sight that really doesn’t seem to interesting to you? No, you’re not. But if you’re really pumped about the end destination, and you’ve been looking forward to it, heck yeah you’re taking that drive!


Sex is like that. Sex for the sake of sex can be fun, but if you’re in a situation where you’re having a lot of sex partners in a short amount of time, perhaps limiting your “road trips” to ones where you’re very excited and looking forward to it may be practical.


And ultimately, you could always be T-boned. You may catch an STI. The other driver may be another safe driver, and just some accident happened.. or maybe they were not driving safely. Regardless, you fix up your equipment, and when the time is right, you take back to the road. If you ever find yourself with an STI, don’t beat yourself up: these things happen! Just go, get treatment, and move on with your life. And drive safely on the trips that you deem worth taking 😉

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