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Since the 1500s humans have used sexual barriers to protect sexual health and prevent pregnancy. In modern times, using condoms greatly decreases the risk of gonorrhea, chlamydia, trichomoniasis, hepatitis B, and HIV/AIDS, and to a lesser extent, they also offer some protection against genital herpes, human papillomavirus (HPV), and syphilis.


  • Decreases the risk of STI transmission
  • Decreases the risk of pregnancy
  • Makes sex safer, especially when everyone has multiple partners


  • Improper use is the #1 reason for failure
  • They have to fit right, and be at least of a decent quality, or they aren’t comfortable
  • You gotta stop the action to find one and put it on

March 11, 2024
When people ask me about how to make polyamory work in real life from a practical perspective, I will often jokingly reply, “with lots and lots of condoms!”

Why are condoms so important to polyamory?

How do we make sex safer for everyone involved when multiple partners increase the number of potential points of exposure? Barriers are our first weapon of defense against STIs, and when used properly are also damn good at preventing pregnancy if that is a concern for you. 

Condom or barrier agreements also offer us a sense of reassurance and security. When we know that our partners are using them with their other partners we feel safer and protected. Condom contracts are usually some of the first rules and boundaries a nonmonogamous couple needs to discuss to ensure mutual consent and understanding of sexual health risks. They are frequently the first and most revisited clause in your "polyamory contract". 

When a condom accidentally breaks, or a condom agreement between partners is violated there are often serious consequences, and sometimes for many additional relationships. Situations that require morning after pills, and additional expensive or invasive medical testing can be easily avoided by just using condoms. So this is why we are starting with condoms as one of our very first resources for the poly community. 

Why do some polyamorous couples not use barriers?

While condoms of course have their downsides, like being potentially uncomfortable to wear, or that it can be an awkward interruption to stop & grab one to put on, their benefits far outweigh their drawbacks. However, there are many reasons someone might not be able or willing to use one. 

For those who insist that condoms are uncomfortable or prevent them from orgasming, we hate to break it to you, but you have probably been wearing ill fitting or low quality condoms. A high quality, properly fitting condom, with excellent heat transfer should allow all partners to almost be able to forget that it's there while at the same time enjoying the security it provides. When it comes to the daily practice of polyamory, condoms & STI risk should be one of the first areas we gain an education in if we didn't have one before.

This is why we create condom buying guides. To give you an opportunity to learn and explore the world of condoms and barriers for yourself, and be able to make the most informed decisions possible about what polyamory looks like for you and your partners. 

When partners are having sex without barriers, some in the community call that practice fluid bonding. Bonding in this way can happen once, or be a recurring agreement. However you feel about the term or practice, going barrier-free is great when that’s consented to, but even partners who usually prefer to skip the wrapper sometimes find themselves having to go back to barriers temporarily due to issues like an STI exposure or needing a temporary backup birth control method.

Just Poly Things - Polyamorous Condom Buying Help

Checkout our Condom Buying Guides!

Condoms come up so often in polyamory that we wanted to make an epic resource for our community so that everyone can personally find the absolute best condoms for their body and make sex safer for everyone!

Do you have questions about polyurethane condoms vs latex, or have you ever struggled to find non-lubricated condoms that were safe for use with your toys? 

Have you used the same brand all your life, but just started dating someone with a latex allergy?

Are you switching up your birth control and suddenly need to use a backup method with all of your partners until your new bc is all the way effective?

Did a partner of yours violate a barrier agreement with someone else and now to enforce your own or another relationship’s boundaries, you are requiring that they start using condoms with you?

No matter what reason suddenly put you in the market for a box of condoms, we've got you covered!

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