A new relationship can be full of excitement. But when it comes to getting intimate, fears about STDs can really put a damper on the moment. To make sure you and your partner can feel totally at ease about taking that next step, ask them to get tested. While it can be an uncomfortable topic to broach, it’s so important for your health. Plus, you may just find that it deepens your trust and draws you even closer to one another.
To help you get started, here are some of the top tips for asking your partner to get tested for STDs before sex.
Bring It Up at the Right Time
There isn’t a perfect time to have “the talk” when it comes to STD testing. But waiting until right before you want to get intimate isn’t a good idea. If you have an idea that your relationship is heading in that direction, find a time to talk about it before things get hot and heavy.
Aim for a situation in which you’re both in a calm and relaxed state of mind. When you discuss something as important as your sexual health, it helps to have some privacy since many people might feel uncomfortable talking about it in close proximity to others. If you’re a little nervous, try bringing it up when you’re not face to face, like on a walk or in the car. This approach can feel less intense and gives the other person a chance to process things without feeling like you’re staring at them waiting for an answer.
Start with an Easy Opener
Easing into the subject can be really helpful in making this conversation go smoothly. If you abruptly bring up STDs out of nowhere, it can throw the other person off or make them feel self-conscious.
It only takes a sentence or two to start off your discussion on the right foot. A great strategy is to make yourself vulnerable first by offering up your own personal information. For example, you could say, “I’ve been thinking about taking things to the next level in our relationship. I want to make sure we’re safe, so I recently got tested for STDs. How do you feel about getting tested?”
This approach also shows that you expect things to be a two-way street; you aren’t asking them to do anything you’re not willing to do yourself! It also removes any judgment that your partner could potentially feel about being asked to get tested.
Be Clear About Expectations
If you both agree to get tested, that’s great! However, you should still be clear about a few things:
- What STDs you’ll both get tested for. A basic STD test may only include chlamydia and gonorrhea. Talk about whether you’ll also get tested for HIV or other STDs.
- Whether you’re monogamous. If you’re not exclusive, you need to set some parameters about STD prevention and how often you’ll both get tested.
- How you’ll practice safe sex. Even if you both test negative, it’s important to agree on safe sex practices. Talk about using condoms or other forms of protection and whether birth control is needed to prevent pregnancy.
If your partner refuses to get tested for STDs, you’ll need to decide whether you’re still interested in seeing them. The CDC reports that around 26 million new STD cases are reported each year in the U.S. alone, and one in five people has an STD. It’s more common that you think, the consequences can be severe. The most common sexually transmitted infection, HPV, is the leading cause of cervical cancer. Even though there is a HPV vaccine called Gardasil and natural HPV treatments on the market such as AHCC supplements if someone isn’t willing to look out for your health, you may want to think twice about getting intimate.