You’ve just started dating someone new. You’ve been out more than a few times and you think you’re ready to get to the hot and heavy stage. Before the clothes start flying for the first time, you might want to ask some questions before having s*x.
s*x education doesn’t end in high school. Your own personal s*x ed quiz is a useful tool when beginning any new s*xual relationship. These questions can help both you and your new partner protect your physical health:
1 Have You Been Tested for STDs?
Many people will say yes to this question…and be wrong. They think that their doctor automatically tests them for diseases at their annual exam. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. The vast majority of physicians do not screen their clients automatically for STDs. You have to ask your doctor to do the tests.
Furthermore, you should specifically ask about testing, at least for chlamydia and gonorrhea, before starting any new s*xual relationships. Doctors are sometimes reluctant to test other STDs, such as syphilis or trichomoniasis, unless you have symptoms or know that you have been exposed.
Still, it never hurts to ask. Just remember, if someone says they have been tested for STDs, they should be able to tell you what diseases they’ve been tested for. If they can’t, they’re probably mistaken about having been tested.
2 When Was Your Last HIV Test?
Current guidelines from the CDC recommend that individuals be screened for HIV as part of their routine healthcare visits. If you have had any possible exposure to HIV through unprotected s*x, sharing needles, or other exposure to bodily fluids, you should be tested. If you’re not sure if you could have been exposed, you should also be tested.
In general, routine HIV testing is a good idea. Most states will test you anonymously. Furthermore, free testing is available at numerous locations. If your partner says, “I’ve never been tested,” you might want to wait to sleep with them until their answer changes. In this day and age, when free, anonymous testing is easily available, there is no reason not to be tested regularly. There is every reason to be.
3 Are You Currently Involved With Anyone Else?
It’s all very well and good to ask for your future s*xual partner’s STD status. Still, what they tell you may not mean anything if they’re continuing to have s*x with other people. If you are involved, sexually, in a non-monogamous relationship, these discussions are critical. You need to make certain that you are not only having safer s*x with your partner(s). You also need to make certain that your partner is having safer s*x with all of his or her partners.
Responsible non-monogamy is not necessarily any less safe than serial monogamy. In some circumstances, it can even be safer. However, it does require better communication in order to maintain your physical and emotional health. Remember, though, that long-term monogamous relationships represent the lowest risk to your s*xual health.
4 Are You Prepared to Have Safer s*x?
When in doubt, bring the supplies. If you are planning to have s*x with someone, it is important to take responsibility for your own s*xual health. That means having supplies on hand. Condoms, female condoms, back-up contraception, lube, saran wrap, gloves…whatever you need to make s*x safer for you is what you should have on hand.
What if your partner, for example, buys supplies that you’re allergic to or don’t like? There’s nothing quite as frustrating as deciding that you’re ready to have s*x and discovering that all the stores within driving distance are closed or out of your favorite condoms.