Society is progressing regarding our health and well-being, and the topic of sex is always a part of that progression. During this current evolution, you will find out many terms to describe sexual behaviors that you never knew existed.
As you explore your sexuality, identity, relationship style, and expectations surrounding sex and pleasure; you will learn many ways to achieve the pleasure you desire. One approach that does not get talked about enough, that is heavily practiced, is called fluid bonding.
What is Fluid Bonding?
There are some of you since you read the title of this article who’ve been scratching your head asking what is fluid bonding? The term fluid bonding refers to the agreement between partners to no longer use barriers of protection during sex and it is acceptable to exchange bodily fluids with your partner or partners.
I’ve included partners in this definition because some people identify as polyamorous and fluid bonding can be an intentional choice to make with multiple people. Those fluids include vaginal fluid, semen, saliva, anal secretions, and blood. There are risk factors at play whether you are monogamous or polyamorous which I will discuss.
Intentions for Fluid Bonding
There are several reasons why people participate in fluid bonding. One is they believe sex is better without protection. Another is they feel confident in where the relationship is headed and consider fluid bonding to be more intimate and it signifies a deeper emotional and physical connection. It indicates that you would like to be exclusive. You are committing to a monogamous relationship. You are deepening trust with your partner. It’s just a conscientious choice made for all involved.
In order for fluid bonding to be successful and safe, you must understand the intention behind it. This allows the opportunity to create a safe space to explore and establish expectations, goals for parties involved, and STI status. Although, this is typically not the case since most of the time fluid bonding is typically started on a whim.
Which stated another way means it’s not planned or discussed before it happens. Some may be asked to not use protection and you make an impulsive choice to not do so in the heat of passion.
My professional experience has taught me that many couples participate in fluid bonding on an impulse choice and the intention is an afterthought. It should not be labeled as fluid bonding but simply having unprotected sex. Ironically, it is technically fluid bonding because of the mixing of bodily fluids.
I find many couples do not practice safe sex. Such actions are generally only called fluid bonding if they are an active choice of the people in the relationship. The decision to become fluid bonded usually occurs after a period of time during which the couple has been practicing safer sex (Boskey, 2020).
Fluid bonding is a well-thought-out decision and I believe the term was pinged to differentiate between the act of communicating do’s, don’t’s, goals, and boundaries related to unprotected sex and the other notion of just having unprotected sex with no discussion about it beforehand.
Even just asking to not use protection before the sexual act would not be considered fluid bonded because there is no discussion about what this means for the relationship and why it may be important to the person. I have also found when this is asked and people make a quick decision, they simultaneously assume that protection is not needed during oral sex.
The intention behind fluid bonding is you have the secure space to specify when you would like to be unprotected during a sexual act and when you would still prefer to use protection for example dental dam during oral sex but not using a condom during anal or penis-vaginal sex.
There are risks to this bond that include contracting STIs, pregnancy, and having trust in someone who can’t be trusted and will tell you anything to convince you why having unprotected sex is to your benefit and also to prove their trust and strong feelings for you to sway you into doing it.
When you decide to fluid bond with your partner, there are things you can do to reduce some of these risks that include being honest, trust building, getting updated STI testing, using selective barrier protection, and picking a new form of contraception (Holland, 2019).
Fluid bonding is making a careful decision to not use protection when you are with a partner who may have an STI. This is especially important because if you have a partner that has disclosed having an STI and you continue to cultivate the relationship at some point discussing what unprotected sex means for your relationship will include fluid bonding and what that entails.
In this circumstance, I recommend seeing a medical doctor together to discuss your options and understanding that you accept opening yourself up for exposure and also a sex therapist to assist in navigating what type of sex and type of fluid bonding works for you. Usually, this scenario is only when couples have decided to commit to each other with the goal of having a long-term partnership for example marriage or life partners.
9 tips to remember when deciding and engaging in fluid bonding
- Set clear goals and boundaries
- Define what your relationship is with the person or persons
- Have trust
- Identify any worries or concerns
- Determine how often you will test for STIs
- Identify what it means if you decide to stop the fluid bond
- Establish risk you can live with
- Identify the level of exclusivity
- Have respect
Understand that fluid bonding is not a way to prove your trust or commitment to your partner or partners and practicing safe sex means there is a lack of trust or commitment. Safe sex should be seen as a sign of respect for your body and a symbol of your desire to protect the person (or people) you love from harm (Boskey, 2020).
Fluid bonding should be viewed as an intentional choice made from transparency, trust (not to prove trust), and authenticity about how you feel with your partner, desire, and progression of the relationship. This is a choice that is well thought out with plenty of consideration rather than made from impulse.
Boskey, E. (2020, October 31). What It Means When a Couple Is Fluid Bonded. Retrieved from Very Well Health: www.verywellhealth.com
Holland, K. (2019, May 30). Everything You Should Know About Fluid Bonding. Retrieved from Healthline: www.healthline.com