Birds do it, bees do it, people do it, but talking about it can feel uncomfortable.

Talking about sex can be difficult, especially when you have a new partner. However, engaging in these potentially awkward conversations is necessary, not only for achieving intimacy but for your health.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are common and are becoming an even bigger problem.

In fact, according to a press release by the Center for Disease Control, there has been a sharp increase in STIs for four years straight. From 2013 to 2017,  gonorrhea diagnoses increased by 67%. Syphilis increased by 76%. And more than 1.7 million people were diagnosed with chlamydia.

Being able to talk and ask questions about STIs with every sexual partner you have can help prevent you from getting one yourself. Developing these communication skills can also help you when you enter a long-term relationship. Here’s how you can do that.

Be Open About Sex

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Sometimes, it can be awkward talking about sex, but it’s part of being intimate. Being able to talk openly with your partner is a sign of comfort, which is an important part of any relationship. You should be able to talk with your partner about topics such as what you like, what your boundaries are, what you’re comfortable doing, as well as your sexual history.

Going into detail about your sexual past will likely turn the mood right down. However, your partner has the right to know your details that might affect their health. And you have the right to know about theirs. Discuss any recent STIs or STDs that you’ve contracted and the last time you got checked for them.

If you have gotten an STI or STD recently, don’t feel embarrassed. It’s part of life. Also, there are a few weird ways to contract an STI without even touching someone else, such as:

  • Sharing a friend’s lipstick
  • Sharing your drink
  • Growing a beard
  • Sharing your razors
  • Unsafe waxing practices
  • Sharing a wet towel with someone

Regardless of how you or your partner got an STI or STD, it’s crucial that you’re both checked before physical intimacy. The American Sexual Health Association states that many people don’t know when they have an STI and that people should get tested more often than they think.

Talk to your healthcare provider about getting tested for these leading common STIs: chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV, herpes, HPV, syphilis, and trichomoniasis. This is especially important if you’ve had unprotected sex, have a new partner, or more than one partner. Or if you worry that you have been exposed to an STI.

Getting tested and talking to your partner about STIs and STDs can help prevent spreading them.

Honesty and Vulnerability

Talking about sex is an important part of any relationship. Whether you have a discussion about STIs and STDs before a one night stand or you talk to your partner about being intimate in your relationship, these conversations help keep you healthy and happy.

It’s important to get comfortable talking about sex and to bring up topics that might make you feel awkward. Practicing this will help you feel more comfortable and confident about it. Plus, it’s important to be honest and feel vulnerable in relationships. This is essential for those in a long term relationship, as our bodies don’t always function as we want them to.

Getting comfortable talking about STIs and STDs can help you in the future when you are talking about other problems that can come up in long-term relationships. For example, this can come up when you are trying to have a baby, and you are having issues such as infertility or erectile dysfunction.

All relationships experience difficult stages. By being open, honest, and vulnerable, you can make sure that these moments of friction turn into periods of growth. Talking about sex will help you navigate difficult times and let you get closer to your partner.

Noah Rue

Noah Rue

Noah Rue is always wondering where his next trip will take him. When he’s not traveling the world, he writes about sustainability, technology, workplace management, career development, and other interests. Noah also enjoys a good meme from time to time. You can contact him at nyarrue@gmail.com.

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