I'm married and poly. My husband and I recently opened up our relationship, and I've started seeing someone. My actual concern is that I have my yearly checkup this month, and I'm not sure how to bring it up with my doctor. I know it's really important information to share with them, but I'm honestly a little nervous about bringing it up because I don't know how they'll respond. I made a mention to one of the nurses once a couple of years ago while discussing birth control that I might have sex with someone other than my husband in the future because I'm not mono, and she looked at me like I had two heads. I have a pretty hard time articulating what I want to say when I go to the doctor already, but this is something totally new for me. Do you have any advice on how to approach the subject?
It’s not necessarily critical that your doctor have all this information - they just need to know what’s relevant to your health, especially your sexual health. If you ask for an STI screening and they say “oh, that isn’t recommended/necessary for people who are married,” you can say that your circumstances are unique and leave it at that.
If you want to tell them, it’s fine to just be blunt and matter-of-fact: “I’d like to update my ‘sexual history’ since I filled out my patient forms. My husband and I have opened our relationship, and I now have multiple sexual partners, who may themselves have multiple sexual partners. We use [protection method]. I just wanted to make sure you knew that so we can discuss my health in an accurate context.”
If you’re worried, you can print something out or write something down to bring to your appointment. You can also email your doctor or call their office ahead of time if that makes you more comfortable. Check out this article about how to talk to your doctor about polyamory for some extra resources. And if you have health concerns that you really need to address in a context of safety and knowledge around polyamory, check out the poly friendly professionals index of healthcare providers.