Look, I’m not going to lie, becoming genuinely non-monogamous in your outlook and lifestyle is hard work. I’ve been doing it for about seven years or so now and I’m just starting to get the hang of it. The problem is that you’re generally brought up with monogamy all around you and it’s treated as the default. I never really knew that there was an alternative option until I was in my mid-twenties and I’ve been living my life that way ever since – mostly by way of adult dating sites!

I don’t have a traditional polyamorous relationship. Mostly you’ll find a couple dating other people together as a couple, or a “closed triad” (i.e. three people who don’t date others outside of the triad). Instead I prefer more of a “no strings” arrangement, but with more feelings and emotions than you’d perhaps expect. Treating everyone kindly and being honest seems to be a great way to live my life.

But like I said, it’s hard work to get there, so here are some tips that I’ve taken directly from my own experience about dating online and no strings encounters when you’re non-monogamous:

Be Honest

Online dating is the way forward, but make sure you’re honest from the start. Some sites are the kind that encourage monogamy, so if you’re signing up to those make sure you’re very explicit on your profile about what you’re looking for. Tell people openly and honestly about who you are and what your goals are. And if you don’t know that yet, then don’t be afraid to say that either! Honesty really is an attractive trait in people and you shouldn’t be afraid to show it. Don’t be afraid to show a little vulnerability either – you’re only human after all. Never jump into meetings before you’re ready either, even if it’s just for coffee. Make sure you’re one hundred percent certain that you want to go ahead before you actually do. And don’t be afraid to say no at any point.

Be Courageous

When people find out you’re living non-monogamously as a conscious choice they’ll try and drag you down about it. In fact, any time you step outside the norm you’ll find this happens. Don’t worry, live courageously, and trust your own mind to make the choices that are best for you. Other people don’t know you as well as you know yourself. How can they know what is best for you?

Be Brave

Taking the first step to accepting that using sex dating sites is a perfectly fine way of living your life as an adult is a bold one. We’re all adults here, and sex is something that can be enjoyed for recreation if you wish. That’s one of the good things about living a non-monogamous lifestyle, it allows you to do all the things that you enjoy, with the people you want to enjoy them with. I know we’ve largely been brought up to believe that recreational sex is something only for teenagers and bored husbands trapped in long marriages, but if you fancy it then give it a go. Meeting relative strangers and spending an hour or two in bed with them can be a fun evening!

Be Safe

I know I shouldn’t have to say it, but so many people seem to forget this point. Think about your safety whenever you’re meeting people from adult dating sites. Make sure that a friend knows where you’re going, and arrange to check in with them at a certain time if it makes you feel safer. Take a note of the persons number plate and text it to a friend if you get in the car with them. I’m not saying that everyone on an adult dating site is a serial killer, but it doesn’t do you any hard to be vigilant.

In addition, make sure you’re safe when you’re actually having sex too. That means, if possible, using two forms of contraception at all times. It’s probably best not to be taking risks unless you’ve actually discussed it with the other person first. Plus, if you’re meeting strangers you can never be sure about their sexual history. They might say that they’ve recently had a checkup at the sexual health clinic, but there’s just no way to be sure. Always use barrier contraception, like a condom. Part of being non-monogamous means looking after your own health, as well as the health of your partners. And messing up your health just isn’t worth it for a few hours of fun.

And remember that thing I said earlier about saying no? Find your NO and use it whenever you like. You should never be afraid to say it if you want things to stop.