These days, sex and dating don’t have to be about traditional relationships or monogamy unless you want them to be. The world is filled with fun, interesting people who are well worth loving, so it’s understandable that you wouldn’t want to limit yourself to just one. There’s a fine art to successfully dating multiple people at once though. Here’s how you can do it without stepping on any toes along the way.

Figuring Out What You Want

First thing’s first. You need to be clear on what you are and aren’t looking for from a connection with another person before you get involved with anyone. Are you strictly interested in casual dating and no-strings-attached sex right now? Would you be open to a committed relationship if the right person came along? What do you need and expect from any partners you do get involved with.

It’s a good idea to think long and hard about why you want to date multiple people in the first place as well. If you’re doing it solely to prove you’re over someone else or because you want to boost your ego, it’s probably not a good idea. If you’re doing it to explore whether monogamy is even for you or simply because it feels like a good fit right now though, carry on.

Honesty Is Always the Best Policy

The days when there was only one “proper” approach to dating are over. Today, there are as many ways to enjoy love and sex as there are types of people in the world, so you’re free to make your own rules. Just make sure you’re honest with other people about where you stand and what you’re looking for.

If you’re already seeing other people at the time you start seeing someone new, tell them that. If you’re not looking for anything more than the occasional Friday night hook-up, tell them that too. If someone doesn’t care for being one of several people on your radar, they’re not the right choice for you anyway. Keep looking until you find someone who’s looking for the same things you are.

Safety Is Key

It should go without saying that unprotected sex is a no-no in this day and age. Responsible adults are not only conscientious about safety but insistent that anyone they sleep with is too. Have as much sex as you want with as many people as you like, but always use proper protection. No sex is so good that it’s worth risking a nasty STD.

And don’t ever count on the other person having protection. Always be prepared with some of your own. Don’t forget that options like condoms are good for more than just private parts either. You can slip them onto your favorite sex toy, like the FemmeFunn Cadenza, if you’re in the mood to share some good vibrations. This keeps things extra safe, hygienic, and responsible. It makes clean-up a little easier too.

In Case of Feelings

Be aware that sometimes things happen. You could be uninterested in anything serious one day only to see something extremely special in one of the people you’re dating the next – something that makes you completely rethink your stance on commitment. Alternatively, someone you’re seeing could develop deeper feelings for you. It’s a good idea to know what you’d do in both those situations.

Feelings on either end are a sign that it’s time to reevaluate things. Is the person in question someone you could see yourself with? If so, do you like them enough to drop the other people you’re seeing or does a polyamorous set-up sound better to you? Whatever you’re thinking, be sure to communicate it clearly with the other person so they know where you stand. Also, be aware that unreciprocated feelings for either person can complicate things, meaning it may be best to just end things.

Don’t Overextend Yourself

When you’re dating more than one person at a time and everything’s going better than you could have hoped, it might be tempting to say yes to every opportunity that comes your way. Be careful not to overextend yourself though. Even if you’re keeping things casual with everyone you’re seeing, for now, it’s important to treat people with respect.

No one likes feeling like they’re being canceled on in favor of someone else. Plus, while leaving your options open is freeing, juggling way too many people can be stressful and defeat the purpose.

If you’re an open, honest type who genuinely loves connecting with lots of different people, you may find you like adopting an open policy to your dating life to stick with it a while. Just stay communicative with everyone involved, as well as respectful of their feelings, and all will be well.