Condoms can reduce the risk of getting sexually transmitted infections, but they’re not 100% proof, and many STDs can spread even when you’re practicing safe sex. If you’re planning on starting a sexual relationship and you’re wary about the risks, it might be a good idea to discuss the issue with your partner.
If you’re not sure how to talk to your partner about getting tested, check out a few simple tips that will help you have an honest and positive discussion, without running the risk of upsetting your partner. However, don’t forget that their unwillingness to get tested gives you the prerogative to just walk away, because a flippant attitude about sexually transmitted infections is a huge red flag.
Get Educated about STDs
The first thing you should do before you approach the subject with your partner is get educated about sexually transmitted diseases. While herpes spreads by direct skin-to-skin contact with the infected site, condoms will be able to stop most STDs, but not all of them and they have no effect on pubic lice or fungal infections in the genital area.
Make a Plan
Before you talk to your partner about getting tested, have an outline of what you want to discuss. Don’t write a script, just make sure that you hit a few important points. Always mention that it’s in the best interest of both of you to get tested regularly and have a couple of options (STD clinics or doctors you know) ready to recommend once he agrees that getting tested for STIs it’s important.
Find the Right Moment
Probably the worse moment to discuss STDs and getting tested is during foreplay or while you’re making out. The conversation needs to happen much sooner if you’re unwilling to have any sex before you both get a clean bill of health. Make sure that you have enough privacy for the discussion and your partner is in a good mood.
Keep It Objective
When you talk to your partner about getting tested, it’s always better to stick to cold facts. Many people who have STDs don’t know it, so the risk of infection is the same even if he hasn’t noticed any symptoms.
Avoid Any Judgemental Tone
STDs can affect everyone who’s sexually active, so there’s no need to be judgemental when you’re discussing getting tested just because your partner has had more sexual encounters with more people than you. The point is not to cause a fight, so stay cool, calm, and polite in order to get him to agree to testing.
Discuss False Positives and False Negatives
It’s also important to mention false positives and negatives when you talk to your partner about getting tested. Some STDs, like HIV, won’t show up during testing until months after the infection. If either of you gets a positive, a good idea would be to get tested again. As for condom use, waiting for 6 months before practicing monogamous sex without a condom is better, so you both get tested twice to decrease the likelihood of transmission.
Be Available to Research It Together
If you partner isn’t convinced, be there to support him if he wants to get more info about STDs, about the costs and the procedures used for testing. Be flexible when it comes to where you’re getting the tests done.
Don’t Backtrack on Your Boundaries
Once you talk to your partner about getting tested, you should never go back on it just because he seems offended. If being tested is important to you, once you put it out there, don’t backtrack or have sex before getting tested.
Be Willing to Get Tested Together
Even if you got your latest results a month ago and you’re completely clean, your partner might feel better if you both get tested together. That way, you’ll both have current results and can move further without any worries about STIs.
See also: Signs You Might Be the Other Woman
Talk to a Doctor for More Helpful Tips
If you’re still not sure whether you’re ready to talk to your partner about getting tested, have a discussion with a doctor first. They can provide more ideas about how to approach the subject and they can also offer details about each of the common STDs, along with info about more dangerous diseases like HIV.