How do we talk to each other about sex with other partners?

Talk early; talk often. Talking to your partner about what kind of sex you can have with other men can sometimes be difficult, or not very romantic — or both — but it’s really important. It can even bring you closer together, and will definitely reduce the chance of misunderstandings. You may find that you both have very similar opinions about what is acceptable to you. If you are both HIV negative, the two safest options are:

• No fucking with casual partners (e.g. oral sex only)

• All fucking must be with condoms

Also, think about how you would like him to raise the issue with you. Do it when you are not rushed for time and when you are not stressed with other issues or annoyed with each other.

While ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ might work for some people, if you are not open with each other about sex outside the relationship then this makes it hard to put rules in place about keeping each other safe from HIV and other sexually transmissible infections.

Also, make sure you agree to revise your agreement regularly to check you are both happy with it. This means at least once a year and every few months if the relationship is still in its early days. If you set up a special time to do it then it is more likely to happen, rather than just waiting for each other to bring it up.

These conversations can be difficult, so waiting for ‘a perfect time’ may be a very long wait.

What if one of us is HIV-positive?

If one of you is HIV positive, also talk to each other about the type of sex you can have. For example, is fucking without condoms allowed with other HIV-positive partners?

Around a third of men in relationships also have sex with other partners.