Entering a new relationship is an exciting time — but also a challenging one. When you and your partner start growing closer and decide to have sex, a conversation about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can seem intimidating.
But this is a necessary conversation to protect yourself and your partner from the spread of STDs. At Primary Care Walk-In Medical Clinic, our STD specialists understand how difficult it can be to get the conversation started. We’ve highlighted some conversation tips below to help you.
The most important first step in the STD conversation process is to know what you’re talking about. STDs describe a variety of infections that are spread through oral, vaginal, and anal sex.
Some common types of STDs that infect both men and women include:
These STDs can cause a variety of symptoms that range from mild to severe. However, many people who are infected with an STD have no symptoms, you may not know you have an infection unless you get tested.
If left undiagnosed and untreated, some STDs can cause very serious health complications, including arthritis, certain cancers, and infertility.
Here are five talking points that can help ease you and your partner into the conversation about STDs and the need for testing:
Don’t wait until you’re in the heat of the moment to start the discussion about STD testing. Instead, plan ahead to have the conversation during a quiet time when you both can focus on the topic at hand.
Even if it feels awkward to be the conversation starter, someone needs to take the initiative before it’s too late. If your partner hasn’t brought it up, you have every right to bring it up before becoming intimate.
Without testing, there’s just no way to tell who is STD-free and who isn’t. Early in a relationship, it can be difficult to discuss past relationships and sexual history.
However, you don’t have to start the conversation that way. Begin by stating the importance of you both being healthy. Tell your partner that you would like for both of you to get tested for STDs before having sex. If they are unwilling to go, you may want to reconsider getting intimate with them to protect yourself.
After opening the lines of communication and stating your desire to get tested, listen to what your partner says and how they respond in general.
Some people may feel defensive about your judgement of their sexual past. Some may feel weird about scheduling testing for themselves. You should be prepared for whatever reaction may come and have a plan to deal with it accordingly.
If your partner flat-out refuses or reacts negatively about getting tested, you may need to decide if the relationship is right for you.
After you both agree on testing, or you plan to go ahead with testing for yourself, you can call the Primary Care Walk-In Medical Clinic office nearest you to schedule your STD testing date or book a consultation online today. You can also visit the clinic as a walk-in.