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There are a lot of awkward conversations we might have in life. Socially taboo topics can be difficult to discuss or talk without feeling weird. Topics that usually fall under the “socially awkward” conversations may be about money, death, breaking up and definitely about STDs. But it’s time to change that!
To start breaking the taboo we can at least we can find a way to talk about STDs & STIs that leaves that awkwardness behind. STD rates are currently at 20 million new infections a year so it’s more important than ever to “have the talk”. However even that kind of emphasis contributes to the awkwardness. It doesn’t have to be an oh-so serious discussion, in fact the ideal is to make it a normal part of your sexual experience so you can protect your health & future sex life.
A few myths about bringing up the topic of safer sex & STIs/STDs :
Myth 1) If you bring it up, you must have slept with a lot of people. Or you think your partner has slept with a lot of people and you don’t want to feel like (or make them feel like) a “slut”. That’s a very shaming approach and GOOD sex is about shamelessness!
Myth 2) It has to be a super serious, nerve racking conversation. Hell No! It can be more light-hearted and does not need to be treated like the ‘end of the world’. Being honest doesn’t mean you have to be grim about it, even and especially if you’re the one bringing up an STD you have.
Myth 3) If you have an STD you’ll automatically be rejected as a sexual partner. This is definitely not true. If we segregated everyone with some kind of STD or STI then there would be way less sex in the world and we don’t want that! We want healthy, open sexual experiences, regardless of STD status. There are plenty of people that understand most STDs and STIs can be treated and/or have a STD themselves. There are also a lot of people who don’t believe in the current stigma!
So.…how do we bring it up? If you’re getting hot & heavy with a new partner don’t put the conversation off. You don’t have to lead with it “Hi, I’m Tom. Do you have any STDs?” but it’s one of those things that the more you do, the more natural it will be. Plus, talking about it sooner rather than later lets you see how your potential partner responds to conversations about sensitive topics.
One of the best ways I’ve seen is from Reid Mihalko, a well-respected educator from the Bay Area. He’s come up with what he calls the “Safer Sex Elevator Speech” and even though it’s used a lot in the kink and polyamory worlds it’s also completely useful for any date or possible romance.
If you’re sharing your positive STD status with a new partner don’t come into the conversation with a pessimistic attitude. Timing is important, don’t broach the subject when you’re going to feel rushed. Give the other person space to share their feelings or thoughts. Most importantly, remember that you are NOT your STD and that you have a lot to offer a sexual partner & as an awesome person. If they can’t get past it, then it’s their loss!
Being prepared is also a great way to bring up the subject. If you’re already in your bedroom (or in theirs) make sure you’re equipped with safer sex supplies near-by. It really can be done in a sexy way, pulling condoms or a dental dam out and saying how much it turns you on to have safer sex. You can even put a condom on with your mouth, so you don’t break the sexual rhythm!
Remember, there are some STIs that can be transferred even with a condom like Herpes and HPV, so it’s important to be proactive about your health. Part of being proactive in your sexual heath is to also make sure to get tested at a frequency appropriate to your sex life. Knowing about options, such as the HPV vaccination will help you know about your own status.
So stay updated about your own status, educate yourself as much as possible about sexual health, and don’t be afraid to be straight-forward about the STD/STI conversation. Honesty is sexy!
Originally posted on BeforeWeDo.com