Talking about sex nowadays isn’t as controversial as it was for our grandparents. However, there are still some parts about it that we keep avoiding, not because of their private nature, but because they’re really uncomfortable. It's the topic that made you chuckle when took your Sex Ed classes in school but now you’d dread to talk about: STIs. These infections are more common than we’d like to think. According to the American Sexual Health Association, 50% of sexually active people will contract an STI before turning 25. If you think about it, that’s a really high number; it means there’s a 50/50 chance you’ll catch one of these nasty diseases at some point in your life, and the same goes for your partner. Maybe you’ve used protection with previous partners and are up to date on your sexual health status, but what about your partner? You won’t know until you ask them and, of course, that isn’t the nicest thing to bring up in casual conversation.
The important thing to keep in mind is the sooner you ask them, the better. Don’t wait until sexy time, or after it, to find out everything about their sexual history and health status. You wouldn’t like to be asked such an uncomfortable question at that specific moment, right? And, please, don’t try to make it a turn on… There’s nothing sexy about herpes, chlamydia, or any other infection.
Wait for a private moment when both of you are calm. It's not a topic you want to bring up while you’re having dinner with friends or at a party. Remember it's not something anyone likes to brag about or even mention. You're asking your partner to be honest with you, so you should talk about it in a space where both of you feel comfortable.
So, you’ve found the perfect moment to ask your partner if they have or have had an STI. Now what? Well, it's really important that you tell your partner about your own status as well. If you’re asking them to open up with you about something so delicate, it’s expected you’ll be open as well. After all, this concerns them too. Moreover, if you’ve had STIs in the past or are still in treatment for one, the best thing would be to let them know, so you can plan your sex life and the protection you should use to avoid contracting the disease.
While the conversation is taking place and your partner tells you they have an STI, don’t make it all about yourself. And by this I mean, asking them if you’ll be affected, if you’ve already contracted their disease, how to avoid contracting it, or any other variation of that question. Of course you’re concerned about your health, but in the end, your partner is being affected too, so listen to them, be understanding, and let them know you appreciate their honesty.
Regarding this last point, don’t blame others for the disease. It’s not like your ex was a zombie who bit you and now you’re carrying the living-dead virus. You’ve contracted a disease, just like when you catch a cold or get food poisoning. The point is to treat the infection, and let your partner know you are under treatment or were treating X disease. Also, if your partner tells you they’ve contracted an STI, don’t blame their exes. Focus on the present you’re sharing together.
Finally, think of this honesty session as another way of saying you care about each other. A healthy sex life is not just about having the best orgasms. More than anything else, it's a matter of trust and sharing a moment of pleasure together.
Photos by Kat_in_nyc