I don't want my partner having condomless sex, but I feel guilty. Am I wrong? | I'm Poly and So Can You

One of my partners recently started dating a person they've been very into for a long time. This is kicking up a lot of jealousy and comparison for me, and we're mostly navigating it well. Recently, my partner mentioned that this person would like to have sex without condoms, and ran it by me. I said no, and am feeling guilty about it, and as I can't (birth control mostly not an option), I'm also feeling badly about my own sexual pleasure/experience. Need some reassurance that saying no is fine, both for my sexual health and intimacy needs.

“No” is perhaps the most underutilized word in the entirety of the English language, particularly when it comes to folks who have been socialized female, as we’re routinely told to accommodate others even if it means sacrificing our own wants and needs. However, based on your question, I believe you are a cisgender man, so I’ll be speaking to you as such; apologies if that assumption is inaccurate!

First of all, kudos to you and your partner for working together to navigate the feelings of jealousy that their other partner is bringing up for you. It sounds like you both care for each other deeply, and have worked to facilitate a healthy and open channel of communication. I will also go ahead and recommend The Jealousy Workbook: Exercises and Insights for Managing Open Relationships by Kathy Labriola, which has been instrumental in the conquering of my own jealous feelings in the past and offers an array of both solo and partnered exercises.

I’m curious - are you in a hierarchal poly relationship? If so, would you consider the partner in question your primary? Assuming they are your primary, asking for a particular sex act or dynamic to be considered “special” and exclusive to the two of you is not unreasonable. Just make sure that this doesn’t become a trend, where you’re now emboldened to naysay all of your partner’s future asks. If your partner isn’t your primary, however, then I feel as though you don’t have the right to dictate their safer sex preferences. If you’re concerned about your safety, it’s your right to request that the condomless intercourse be dependent on everyone having an informed sexual safety conversation and going to get comprehensive STD panels beforehand for extra peace of mind. If that doesn’t work, hey, no one's forcing you to fuck your partner!

Also, if hormonal birth control methods aren’t an option for your partner - and if having condomless intercourse with them is something you truly desire - then it may be time to consider having a vasectomy. I’m writing this on the afternoon that the repeal of the AHCA passed through the House, and if it passes through the Senate hormonal birth control is about to get extremely inaccessible. Having a vasectomy during this tumultuous political time is a defiance, a resistance, and it communicates to your partner that you not only want to fuck them; you also want to stand up for - and with - them.

Andre Shakti