When two people meet and they want to engage in sexual intercourse at some point in their relationship, it’s important that they hold a conversation regarding their sexual history. In a world where cases of STDs are rampant, you cannot ignore the importance of having such a conversation for your own health safety.
It’s sometimes hard and even awkward to have this important conversation. So let’s take a quick look at how you can comfortably hold this conversation with your partner.
What are STDs?
Before you hold the conversation it’s important to understand the risks that come with unprotected sexual activity. Apart from pregnancy, you also stand a chance of contracting an STD. What exactly is an STD? An STD is a Sexually transmitted disease also referred to as a sexually transmitted infection (STI). STDs/STIs are diseases and infections that are transmitted from an infected person to another through sexual contact. Some STDs are also spread through blood transfusion, sharing needles or from mother to baby during birth or breastfeeding. Prevalent STDs include HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, hepatitis, chlamydia, HPV, herpes, among others.
Starting the STD Conversation
Relationship experts recommend that for effective communication to happen, make time to talk when both of you are not busy or distracted with other things. For instance, starting the conversation when one of your favourite shows is on will not be fruitful. When you introduce the topic, keep a positive tone and don’t be judgemental about your partner’s sexual history. Remember, the goal is to know each other, sexually, and not to say what’s wrong or right. To encourage openness, add some humour to the talk.
Keep in mind that you don’t need to hold this conversation in person. If you know you or your partner is shy, you could hold the talk through chat or text messages. What is most important is communicating honestly and not the mode of talking.
What to Talk about During The Talk
There are certain things that are important when talking about your sexual history. The first thing to do is to discuss previous sexual behaviour. This includes the number of previous or current sexual partners and type of protection if any. Also, discuss previous STD testing regularity. If no testing has been done before or if testing has been irregular, then discuss getting tested first before engaging in sex. Remember to discuss any previous STD infections. It’s not necessary to divulge every detail, however it is still important to let your partner know if you’ve been exposed to any STD.
Preventing Sexually Transmitted Diseases
The most effective way of preventing STDs is to not engage in sexual intercourse. However, abstinence is not exactly a realistic solution. Engaging in safe sex through the use of condoms is more realistic and encouraged. Constant STD testing is also highly recommended for early detection and treatment.
Be aware of common symptoms of STDs such as genital sores, pain during urination and yellowish penile and vaginal discharge abdominal aches and unusual bleeding between periods. Should you or your partner experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. The earlier you’re diagnosed, the earlier you’ll receive treatment to relieve symptoms and treat the infection. Never feel embarrassed to visit an STD testing clinic to be tested because you’ll be putting yourself and your partner at risk.