First of all, before we get down to business, I want to take a moment to say, you should be very proud of yourself for deciding to go ahead and have “the talk” with your partner. This isn’t always the easiest conversation to have. However, you should keep in mind that by doing it, you are taking charge of your own health and safety as well as your partner’s, and once you clear the air you will feel much better.
So you’re ready to take the next step with your partner, but you have decided to have a talk to your partner before having sex. Don’t worry if this brings up a lot of feelings, such as embarrassment, concern of what he/she will think, or fear of a negative reaction. Some people might even avoid the topic because they feel that they don’t have all the facts about STIs (sexually transmitted infections) and what exactly goes into having safe sex. However, you should keep in mind that your partner could be feeling the same way, and this is a conversation every couple should have before starting to engage in any sexual activities.
It’s important to know that just because someone doesn’t have symptoms of an STI, they could still ave one. That means that you could still be at risk. That is why it is so important to have “the talk” with your partner. I know it can be difficult to figure out how to start the conversation or what questions you should ask. Here are some questions to keep in mind, and remember it is very important to be honest about your answers.
1. How many sexual partners have you had?
It’s important to be truthful about your past relationships. You don’t have to go into detail about why the relationship ended, but for your partner’s sake its best not to keep any skeletons in the closet.
2. Have you ever gotten tested for STIs and when was your last test?
Don’t be embarrassed if you have never gotten tested before. If both you and your partner need to be tested, you could plan to go together at any one of the clinics in your area. In NYC you can use this website to find a free testing site near you: http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/std/std2.shtml.
3. What about using condoms?
There are a huge variety of condoms, but you don’t need to get overwhelmed by the selection. You can make shopping for condoms fun, just like shopping for shoes or picking out ice cream flavors. If shopping for the perfect condom isn't your idea of a fun time, you can always go to any number of clinics, hospital or even school health care centers to pick up a free condom. Read more about the different types of condoms here: http://smartyouthnyc.blogspot.com/2012/09/10-days-of-activism-day-4.html. There are two kinds of condoms female condoms and male condoms. If you are not sure of how to use a female condom properly go here: http://smartyouthnyc.blogspot.com/2012/09/10-days-of-activism-day-2.html. For directions on how to properly use a male condom check out the video at the end of the post. Remember by using a condom you are protecting your health and your partner’s health.