Serious face now. We figured we wouldn’t be very responsible if we got all you guys together without having ‘that’ talk. You know. STD’s. Come back! We just want to have a little chat…
Sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise. Fact. The digital world has brought us many great things and easy ways to meet up with others is one of them. We’re not taking a swipe at fast hook-up apps, but it’s surely no coincidence that their recent rise in popularity is timed with a rise in STD’s.
We figure if you’re adult enough to be sexually active with multiple partners, you’ve got to behave as an adult. Always play safe when dating we preach but we know accidents can and do happen. Part of adult responsibility entails taking good care of your own health, and that means your sexual health and the health of others you come into contact with. If you’re too shy to talk to any potential partner about sexually transmitted diseases, maybe you shouldn’t be having sex at all, frankly, but to make it easier, here are a few simple things that can help you and your partner have that all-important STD talk without either of you feeling awks.
Why you need to have ‘the talk’ with your new partner
Like it or not, the world is full of nasty diseases and some of them are easily transmitted from one person to another via sexual activity. The best time to have ‘the talk’ is early in the relationship, preferably before the two of you wind up in a romantic embrace.
The hard truth is, not everyone who carries a sexually transmitted disease is aware that they even have it. Although symptoms are common, not all people experience them. Others don’t know that they are infected with STD until a partner shows up with gross symptoms. If you’re about to enter into a new sexual relationship, both of you should be tested, just to ensure you are totally healthy. If you’re concerned about your confidentiality, explore STD testing options to find a clinic near you that guarantees privacy.
What to talk about when you have ‘the talk’
First, make certain that both of you understand that most STD infections are easy to detect and simple to cure. Sexually transmitted diseases that are caught and treated early are far less likely to cause long-term trouble, says Healthfinder. Remind your partner that you want to be tested because you care about them. Tell them you’ve been tested and would like them to do the same if they are willing. If unwilling, you should probably reconsider the relationship before getting too involved.
Make yourselves comfortable, but not too comfortable – this is not the time to start smooching and flirting. For now, the primary focus should be on establishing a sexual history and making sure that neither of you has a communicable sexual disease. Discuss the number of partners you’ve had, whether a few or many.
Get tested together
Yes, it may sound a bit weird, but anyone you plan to get intimate with should be someone you’re comfortable enough to visit a health clinic with. If you prefer to not see your regular family doctor, find a local health clinic where you can remain confidential. It establishes a sort of trust not generally shared among casual friends.
The experts over at Dummies say that these days, many people hook up sexually before they know each other very well. Sometimes, people hook up almost right away. For this reason, it’s important to have the STD talk without delay. It’s the responsible thing to do. Sure, you run a risk that the other person might freak out and decide not to have sex with you, but that’s alright. Really. You will get over it. In the meantime, if you know your potential partner is into it, have the talk right now. Just do it and get it over with.
Playing the waiting game
When it comes to the question of when to get tested, this can be a bit like playing a hand of poker with your sexual health, show your hand too early or too late and you might end up as the loser.
This analogy works well with how you should approach your STD testing regime. For example, if you head straight to your local testing center the following day after having sex with a new partner, there is a good chance that if you have got an infection it won’t show up in your body that soon. It can take weeks or months for an STD to show its hand, so you have to play a waiting game and keep an eye on your diary in order to get the most accurate testing result.
The varying incubation periods for each different STD helps to form a persuasive argument towards having regular STD testing rather than going when you suspect there might be a problem or you want to seek some reassurances that you are OK.
If you don’t have the talk, your health could be at risk
STDs are caused by a variety of organisms, and they don’t heal themselves. Bacteria causes gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia. Viral STDs include human papillomavirus, genital herpes, and HIV infection that can become full-blown AIDS. Trichomoniasis is caused by a parasite that spreads through intimate contact. If left untreated, any of the above-mentioned STDs can cause chronic health problems like infertility and worse.
It doesn’t matter where you have the talk, just that you have it. Your health and the health of your lover are worth it, no matter what.
Oscar Coles has worked as a relationship therapist for the past several years. He was born to help people and extends his knowledge to an online audience through his articles.