Talking with a partner about sex isn’t always easy. But having this conversation may strengthen the trust and communication between you and your partner.
Knowing the facts
This conversation may be more successful if you understand transmission, risks, and exposures of STIs (sexually transmitted infections) and pregnancy. Take the time to educate yourself on the options that are available to you and your partner so that you can find the right method of protection together.
Know how and where you can get tested together or individually. Telling your partner how easy it is to get tested and where to go may be just the motivation they need to take that step.
Now, not later
Find a time outside the bedroom to talk about protection. It may be hard to talk about protection for the first time when you are already in the midst of being intimate. Help your partner understand that you are not just trying to protect yourself but also them. 1 in 2 sexually active young people will get an STI by age 25, and most are not aware of their infection. Being open and honest is extremely important. If you have an STI, it is critical to share that with partners ahead of time.
Take control of your path
Don’t wait to get tested or talk about protection. Confidence is sexy. Your partner might have been struggling to talk and seeing you have the confidence to initiate may be awesome and comforting.
Discuss with your partner what types of barriers you like. Communicate with each other about using internal (female) condoms, external (male) condoms, dental dams and other birth controls. Find what flavors, colors, and types of protection are perfect for you both.
You will not have all the answers, so knowing where you and your partner can ask questions is great. It is totally okay be nervous at first.
During this important conversation, you will have many opinions and feelings to express but also make sure to listen to your partner’s feelings. They may be hesitant, and by listening, you may be able to help them open up as well. The bottom line is that this is your health and you are in charge of keeping yourself safe. The decisions you make may affect the rest of your life. If you and your partner do not feel the same way about protection and getting tested then consider that the person may not be the person you want to be with at that time.