Entering a new relationship can be quite exciting. If you are planning to take your new relationship to the next level, you need to consider discussing your sexual health with your new partner.
Being aware of the right ways to open the topic of sexual health and how to discuss this issue will protect you and your sexual partner from STIs (sexually transmitted infections) like syphilis, HIV/AIDS, and gonorrhoea.
It will also make sex more enjoyable and help you avoid unwanted pregnancy until you are ready to embrace parenthood. Read on to know how to talk about sexual health with a new partner.
What does it mean to ‘talk about sexual health’?
Talking about sexual health with your new partner involves sharing information about your sexual health and asking questions related to his or her sexual health.
You may ask questions to know the following about your partners:
- Whether they have had a sexual health check recently. If yes, when was it done?
- Whether they have a history of any sexually transmitted infection. If yes, whether it is cured or still being treated.
- The preferences of your partner related to the safe sex practices for avoiding conception and using protection
- What they like, what they don’t, and what they are or aren’t comfortable with during sexual activity.
Asking these questions will help you establish boundaries and ensure you both feel comfortable during sex. You also need to understand that it is not correct to spring any new sexual experience on someone who is not prepared or without the consent.
What doesn’t ‘talk about sexual health’ involve?
While talking about sexual health for the first time with your new partner, it would not be appropriate to:
- Feel anxious, pressured, or stressed. Make this an open chat so that both of you feel comfortable and at ease.
- Ask questions to know how many sexual partners they have had. It is best to leave it to them to share this information with you when they feel ready for it.
- Make judgements. Instead, you should respect your partner for being open with you. Do not make them feel guilty or bad about their previous sexual experiences and decisions.
During your discussion, if you or your partner has any concerns about sexual health, visit a doctor to discuss your queries. You can also consider undergoing sexual check-up at the sexual health clinic before you enter an intimate relationship.
How to start the discussion about sexual health with a new partner?
It can be, at times, too difficult to start talking about sexual health when you both have got to know each other recently.
A chat about your and your partner’s sexual health would not be an easy conversation. But, at the same time, it doesn’t have to be embarrassing or horrible either.
Read on to learn some ways that you can try to start the conversation and let it go smoothly:
- Tell your partner you want to have a discussion about sexual health. Reassure them that their privacy will be respected.
- Plan to have a discussion about sexual health in private at a time and place you will not be interrupted or disturbed.
- Avoid talking in crowded places. Rather, choose a quiet place so that you can discuss it with a calm and relaxed mind and without having to speak loudly.
- Safe sex requires a bit of planning. Hence, plan when you want to have the discussion ahead of time. It would not be a good idea to wait until you are aroused and ready to have sex.
- Make it feel like an exchange of information about each other’s health and not of personal inquisition. It should not seem like an enquiry into your new partner’s previous sexual partners.
How to tell your new partner that you have an STI?
If you have an STI, it is important to share this information with your new partner before you plan to have sex so that you can take necessary precautions to avoid the spread.
Having a sexually transmitted infection is nothing to feel ashamed of. Here are some simple things you can try to make it easier for you to share this information with your partner:
- Talk in private, preferably when both of you are in a good mood.
- Choose a form of communication that would work for you both. For example; if you think meeting in person can be difficult, send a private message such that no one else can see it.
- Get your facts correct! Talk to your doctor or sexual health expert to understand the symptoms of the STI you are suffering from, treatment options, and precautions to be taken to avoid spread.
- Encourage your new partner to get an STI check-up done, even if he or she doesn’t have any symptoms or you never had sexual intercourse. Remember that some STIs can even spread during oral sex or kissing.
Important things you should not ignore while talking about sexual health
It is common for people to feel awkward, offended, and embarrassed while talking about sexual health. They may also feel jealous, ashamed, angry, or being confronted. Some might feel worried and anxious.
Hence, it is advisable to be kind, honest, and considerate during the conversation. This will help your partner feel at ease and avoid anxiety. You can also let them know the benefits of talking about sexual health. A little bit of awkwardness and embarrassment now would definitely be better than having any STI later.
This information can help if:
- You are thinking of having sex for the first time
- You want to take your relationship to the next level and are planning to have sex with your new partner
- You have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection and need to tell the partner
If you still feel stressed talking about sexual health with your partner, you can contact a sexual health clinic and have a chat with a doctor about it. You can even plan to have a joint session with the doctor so that he would be able to explain things in a better way and help both of you feel reassured.