Thinking about getting tested together? Or needing to bring up the topic of sexual health to a new partner?
Let’s set the record straight from the get-go: We know talking to a partner about STDs and sexual health can be awkward sometimes – we totally get it. But when it comes to the wellness of you and a person you care about, a brief moment of discomfort is worth it. So, if you’re thinking about talking to your partner about STD testing, we’re here to help you bring up the topic and potentially discuss getting tested together.
The sooner, the better (but also, better late than never!)
Ideally, you should talk about STD testing before you start having sex with a new partner (oral counts, too!) It’s that little “pre” part in “prevention.” A great thing to keep in mind here is that talking about your sexual health with a partner shows them that you are genuinely interested in pursuing physical intimacy with them, and that you respect their wellness along with your own. But, if you’ve already started, it’s not too late! Don’t beat yourself up about it, and never be dissuaded from making your health a priority – even in the aftermath.
And remember, just because you’re on birth control doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be using other forms of protection against STDs.
Breathe for a minute
The scariest part of getting tested together is the uncertainty. However, once you’ve taken that step, you know. Simple as that. Your partner may very well have the same anxieties as you, but they won’t be resolved unless you talk about it. Find a time where you are both relaxed and comfortable, and then be honest. If it makes you feel better, you can even tell them how nervous you are, but that this matters a lot to you. Most likely, your partner will appreciate your willingness to be a little vulnerable with them!
Set an example for them
Sometimes it’s easier to do something when you aren’t alone in the process. A hesitant or resistant partner may come around if they know that you plan on getting tested, too. If this is the path you decide to go down, invite them to come with you when you visit your medical care provider (or your local Planned Parenthood). In seeing you do it, their own nerves or fears may very well be alleviated enough for them to follow suit. This is why getting tested together can be great!
Don’t be afraid of technology
If you absolutely cannot bring yourself to discuss STD testing with your partner face-to-face, try sending a text, a private message on social media, etc. The more distant nature of communication should help you get out the words you need to get out. With that said, though, if you are genuinely fearful about your partner’s reaction to the subject, this is a good time to consider whether or not this relationship is right for you. By suggesting STD testing, you are taking steps to take care of yourself and your partner. Wouldn’t you want your partner to feel the same way?