By Jamie Harrison
Honey, we need to talk.
The simple five words that every guy hates to hear. However, these very words could save you a lot of pain (emotional and physical) and distress.
I want you to get tested.
Not an I.Q. test. A test for sexually transmitted diseases, infections and HIV.
No matter what type of relationship you are in, whether he is your friend with benefits, your boyfriend or your very first partner, discussing your STI/HIV status and the decision to get tested is an essential one.
Truth be told, anything that has to do with sexual health (such as birth control or getting tested) can make your guy, and maybe even you, a little uneasy and may leave him searching for the nearest exit. If you are afraid of scaring him with the awkward conversation, imagine how much more awkward it would be if you had to tell him that you tested positive for gonorrhea.
Your sexual health means the world to you (I hope) and to ensure your safety, you would like your partner to get tested as well. Nothing is worse than having an itch freak you out and not knowing whether it’s an STI or not. But how do you bring up the question? When is the right time?
As with every important and perhaps life-changing conversation you have, timing is of the essence. Asking him to get tested while having dinner at his mom’s house may not be the right time. Asking him to get tested right before or during sex may not be the right time either. Wait until a moment where you guys are both relaxed and comfortable with each other—maybe one of those nights where you guys are cuddling and talking about life—and make it clear that you would like to stay STI-free. Instead of demanding that he get tested or blowing it off by saying you don’t care whether he does or not, suggest that you both go get tested together. That way, it won’t seem as if you’re accusing him. After all, we can’t let all of the sexual responsibility lean on the guys. It’s imperative for you to know your status as well for your health and his.
It is important to ask you partner to get tested early on in whatever relationship you’re in, whether it’s monogamous or not. You may think that because you’re in a relationship where the both of you are just in it for knocking boots and you’re using condoms every time that you’re safe. However, we must remember that condoms are made out of latex not metal, and can still break. Also, if you ask him to get tested before the two of you hit the sheets, then he’ll probably be more motivated to do it so that he can do the nasty with you. If you’ve already had sex, it can get a little difficult to motivate him to do it, but don’t fret, now he will know what he will be missing if he doesn’t handle his business.
Just because he looks clean or just because you can’t see any visible signs of infection doesn’t mean that he isn’t free of a sexually transmitted disease or infection. Nobody is exempt from STIs no matter how good they smell or how many showers they take daily. You can’t see HIV/STIs with the naked eye. Just because your partner may not feel the burn or the itch doesn’t mean that it’s not there. Some diseases, such as Chlamydia, won’t show any symptoms and some people don’t even know that they have it. According to FamilyPlanning.org, up to 80 percent of women and 50 percent of men show no symptoms of the clap.
Are you ready for this one? Even you if are more into giving and/or receiving oral transactions than actual intercourse, you can still get a sexually transmitted infection through oral sex. STIs are transmitted through body fluids such as vaginal secretion, semen, blood and saliva. According to WomensHealth.gov, You can still get an STI like herpes or HPV through genital rubbing or skin to skin contact. So the next time he wants you to head south, you might want to give him directions to the nearest clinic.
You have enough worries in your day-to-day life as it is. Getting infected with a disease or virus shouldn’t be one of them. Having sexy time with your beau (friend, ex or whatever) is meant to be enjoyable, so if you go get tested together, you can get busy without the worry!
Jamie Harrison is a University of Florida graduate and healthcare copywriter. Her portfolio can be found at http://www.wix.com/jamienharrison89/journoportfolio.