I’m surprised when a man expresses he wants to have sex, but he doesn’t then initiate a discussion of protection. I guess there’s an assumption condoms will be used, but how much more reassuring it would be if he brings up the issue rather than me. If he were to say “I would love to make love to you when you’re ready, and know that I believe in only protected sex until we both have had recent STD tests.” That shows he cares about you as well as himself, and is mature about this issue.
Let’s say it is clear you both want to have sex. How do you bring up the discussion of protection, STDs and testing? It is not a sexy subject, but if you are able to discuss it maturely, when not in the heat of passion, it shows you are unafraid of uncomfortable conversations.
In my experience, it seems that men are ready sooner than women. The “3-date rule” for sex seems arbitrary. One man I dated for 6 weeks kept saying “I can wait. I’m not going anywhere.” Then he broke up with me in an Instant Message. I guess he wasn’t going anywhere but his own house, as he never came to mine again!
Ever since a guy revealed he had herpes during a first date and we’d scheduled a second, I’ve taken STDs much more seriously. I researched herpes and discovered that it can be contagious even when the person is not currently having an outbreak. According to herpes medication manufacturer Valtrex, 70% of people got genital herpes from their partner when they were showing no signs of the virus (like an outbreak). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 out of 5 American teenagers and adults is infected with it.
If your partner says “I’m disease free” — how does he know if he hasn’t been tested? One source says 1 out of 4 people with herpes don’t know they have it and, of course, they can still spread it.
In a recent study, college students were asked to anonymously answer some questions about sex. One of the questions was if they knew they had an STD and they thought they were going to get lucky that night would they tell their partner. An astonishing number (I’m sorry, I wish I had the data) said “no.” And the majority of those who said “no” were men. Now we’d hope midlife men would have more maturity and honesty, but it is not a given.
The bottom line: show each other the test results before doing anything that could spread a disease. If there has been sex with someone else after the test was taken, get tested now, then wait for the results before moving forward. If he balks, you know he doesn’t care about your safety and peace of mind, so he’s not the one for you. He’s cavalier about something that can not only affect your health, but in the case of AIDS, can take your life.
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