What Is Fluid Bonding? Here’s How Sexperts Explain This Deeply Personal Choice

I am so grateful for condoms. When used properly, they are highly effective at preventing pregnancy and STIs. Plus, they are inexpensive and easy to get. Condoms are awesome. That being said, there may come a time when you decide with your partner that you are ready to forego them and fluid bond instead. If right now you're wondering, "Wait, what is fluid bonding?” then allow Stefani Goerlich, LMSW and sex therapist who specializes in working with the BDSM and kink population, explain. "Fluid bonding is the act of choosing to engage in activities that will allow for the cross-sharing of bodily fluids," she tells Elite Daily. Basically, it's exactly what it sounds like.

While the definition of fluid bonding may be clear, the choice to actually do it with someone is far more complicated — and one you should not take lightly. It's incredibly intimate, but it’s also not without a lot of serious potential risks. So, if fluid bonding is something you and your partner are considering in the near future, you need to know how to do it safely and responsibly. Here's how to be sure you're ready, and how prepare to go condom-free, according to an expert.

What Does Fluid Bonding Mean?

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According to Goerlich, the term fluid bonding originated in the BDSM and kink community, and can mean a few different things. “[It] can mean choosing to forego barrier contraception, such as condoms or dental dams. It can also mean committing certain sex toys that are porous and difficult to sanitize, such as leather floggers, certain types of stone dildos, to being used with only one person,” she explains. This is a great reminder that if you are not fluid bonding, don’t share your sex toys with multiple partners!

When To Consider Fluid Bonding With Someone

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There are a few reasons why people decide to fluid bond, says Gorelich. “Fluid bonding can be an incredibly intimate step in a relationship or it can be a pragmatic matter based on the type of sex toys used and a desire to maintain hygiene,” she explains. Regardless of the reason you’ve decided to take this step, she says the first step is to talk openly with your partner about it. “The most important thing is to have the conversation with your partner about what fluid bonding means to you, and how your understanding may vary from theirs. In some relationships, fluid bonding is a step towards monogamy. For others, it may simply be a way to differentiate a primary partner from others. Communication and open dialogue are the most important steps when considering fluid bonding.”

How To Prepare To Fluid Bond Safely And Responsibly

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If you’ve decided this is the right step for you, then Goerlich says it’s essential to take the steps needed to protect yourself, while unprotected. “First and foremost, both people should be tested for STIs,” says Gorelich. However, there are some other considerations with this, as well. “It is possible to fluid bond even if you're not virus free — herpes is incredibly common and many HIV positive couples choose to fluid bond when both share the same status,” Gorelich says. “The key here is informed consent. No one should share fluids with another person until and unless they are fully aware of the implications of such an action.”

Ultimately, your choice to have unprotected sex is yours and your partner’s to make, together. If this is the right path for you, that’s wonderful, so long as everyone is on board, and so long as you have taken all the necessary steps to avoid an unplanned pregnancy.

One last thing: Only fluid bond with someone when you both want to equally. Someone who pressures you to ditch protection because it “doesn't feel as good,” or who tries make your health or reproductive choices for you, does not deserve to have sex with you. Period. You’re the boss of you, both in and out of bed.