In health classes we learn about they symptoms of STDs and STIs and how to prevent them. In middle and high school, these topics seemed taboo in other circles, and maybe made a few people cringe. While these topics are uncomfortable, they are extremely important to discuss for sexual and overall health.
And although we may know how to identify an STD, no one helps prepare us for the uncomfortable conversation with a sexual partner about possibly having an STD.
If you have a new sexual partner, it is important to discuss protection against both pregnancy and STDs, ideally before you head to the bedroom.
But how do you start these conversations?
Here are some helpful tips for discussing safe sex with your partner or significant other.
- Start on a positive note. You don’t want to attack your partner. In many cases, if STDs are brought up out of the blue, a person may feel like you are accusing them of having one. While having an STD is nothing to be ashamed of — millions of people have them — many people associate STDs with sexual irresponsibility or promiscuity, which can be offensive to some people.
- Be honest. Share your own sexual history. If you have or have ever had an STD, it’s important that you share this information with your partner. The worst thing you can do is keep them in the dark and risk spreading the infection further.
If you had an STD or STI in the past, bringing up the instance may help your partner realize that anyone can contract an STD, whether they realize it or not.
- Be blunt. While you don’t want to be rude or offensive, you also don’t want to beat around the bush. Share the importance and benefits of confidential STD testing, and maybe even look up some STD testing centers in your area. Most medical walk in clinics provide fast STD testing or will provide you with a home STD testing kit to give you more privacy.
- Discuss prevention. While all birth control methods provide some level of protection against pregnancy, only condoms provide protection against STDs. Especially with a new sexual partner or someone that you are having casual sex with, it’s important to always use a condom.