How to Talk About STIs With Your S.O.

You’ve found the perfect guy; he’s caring, nice, over 6ft and he knows your McDonald's order. He’s met all your requirements and you’re finally ready for some sexy time. The timing is right; you’ve made sure you’re on birth control, all of your roommates are all out and you have extra lube if things get heated. But, before you get down to business, you want to be sure that he’s actually perfect by making sure that he's TESTED. 

Sexually transmitted diseases (or STIs) are real and, whether you’re in a relationship or just causally hooking up, you'll want to make sure that both you and your partner are being safe. When deciding to have sex, even if it's with someone that you've known for a while, talking about STI's and getting tested is never a top priority and the topic is usually not discussed. This might be because it's an awkward topic and it's hard to bring up at the right time but, in order to ensure that both of you remain safe, you have to make sure that you always use a condom. Condoms can reduce the chance of STI’s from spreading but they are never 100% effective. To maximize the effect of condoms, you have to use them consistently and correctly (according to the package's instructions).

Honestly, the thing is that there's no easy way to ask your partner if they've been tested, you simply just have to do it. It may be the most stressful thing in that moment but it will only ensure your safety. When you eventually pop the question, make sure that you're in a safe and secure environment where you both feel comfortable about talking about STI's and anything related to that sort. If you or you're partner are not comfortable then you both will be more likely to hide things or tell lies. 

The best time to talk about STI’s is before engaging in any form of sex even if it's oral sex. Talking about it first allows you both to be aware of any potential infections and allows you to practice safe sex without having to worry about it afterwards.You could ask him/her if he/she has always practiced safe sex. If so, then you have less to worry about. (Note that this is also a sneaky way for you to find out how many people they’ve been with if you don't already know BUT I don't suggest asking solely for this purpose). If not, then I suggest that you make sure that you’re both tested before you engage in sexy time.

The only catch is, that in order for you partner to share their sexual history, you have to be willing to share your own. If you’re in a relationship with someone, even if it’s casual, you have to respect each other and be clear and direct, in order to get the answer that you’re looking for. There’s no reason to beat around the bush. If you don’t ask you will never know and you might put yourself or your partner at risk.

Let’s say you finally gain the courage to ask you partner if they’ve ever been tested, and they answer is no. What do you do? 

You could suggest going together to get tested, that way you can share the experience together and get honest answer from it. The good news is that in Ontario, it's free to get tested. Even if you've already gotten tested, I'm sure that it would make your partner feel better if you went with them when they get tested. get tested with your partner again.

Until you know you're negative, it's best to use a condom until you know you’re completely safe. Condoms can reduce the chance of STI’s from spreading but, as I said earlier condoms are not 100 % effective and must be used to correctly to maximize their effectiveness. In the end, it’s better to be safe than sorry. 

To better equip yourself, there are things each individual can do protect themselves, such as getting the vaccines for HPV and always having a condom on hand. There’s no shame in girls carrying condoms, it shows initiative plus it’s another excuse to go Shopper’s drug mart and buy chocolates and make up. 

Finally it's important, not to blame anyone in the relationship if something does come up after getting tested. It happens and people make mistakes but it’s more important that you two are aware and are able to take responsible procedures before engaging in sexual activity. The thing with most STIs is that you don’t know if you or your partner have one until you get tested. Even more worrisome, is that most STIs have either very vague or inexistent symptoms, so you or your partner could be totally unaware of a possible infection.

In the end all we all really want is to have good sex and know that there is no danger 

In the meantime, be safe and enjoy yourselves!