The Best Way to Broach the “STD Talk” with a New Partner
The CDC recommends talking about STDs each and every time you have a new partner. This should occur before sexual relations commence. Of course, this conversation can be awkward. There is a social stigma surrounding STDs, despite whether the person practiced safe sex in their past or acquired one through some kind of accident. Also, there is a lack of education on the part of many, solidifying the stigma. Today we are in the midst of a casual, hookup culture. Since relationships especially among young people are kept superficial, partners are more afraid to broach uncomfortable topics, or ask deeply probing questions. You cannot take all of the sting out of this conversation. But there are some helpful ways to broach the subject when with a new partner that can limit discomfort and keep things on a positive track. One of the best ways to do it, is to begin with yourself.
Let them know the last time you were tested. Tell your partner if there has been any infections in your past, or if you are dealing with an ongoing one such as herpes or HIV. Tell them what your preferred method of protection is, and ask what they prefer. Think about what you want to say beforehand when you think things may be leading to sex. But be sure this talk occurs before you are in the throes of passion, so that it does not ruin the mood, and both of you can enjoy peace of mind. In any hookup situation, you should use a condom regardless. Sometimes people have STIs, an infection which is not showing symptoms.
Instead of asking a partner to get tested, make it a “we” thing. Ask them to go with you, and get tested together before the act takes place. If they are resistant, remind them that every sexually active adult should be tested at least once a year, according to the CDC. For men that means going to a clinic, seeing a doctor, or an urologist.