I recently sat down with Elisa Benson to discuss all things STIs on Cosmopolitan.com’s Happy Hour Podcast. We discuss common STO misconceptions and how you can discuss the topic with your partner. Check out the notes below and click on the image to listen to the full podcast!
How to talk to your partner about getting tested:
- Start with yourself. Tell them about your testing routine.
- I get tested every year on my birthday.
- I was tested 2 months ago. How about you?
How to tell your partner about an STI:
- Tell them before you have sex: I want to have sex with you. I have something to tell you first…
- Don’t apologize. And don’t feel you need to explain to them how you contracted an STI.
- If you’re inclined, feel free to share a few resources with them, as they may have questions you can’t (or don’t want to) answer on your own.
- It can help to share the info with friends and other trusted support sources to practice opening up and destroying the stigma surrounding STIs.
How to respond to a partner who reveals a positive STI status:
- Thank them for their honesty! Open sharing is one way we build trust in relationships.
- Be open to learning more.
- Bear in mind that more than half of us will contract an STI at some point in our lifetime.
The most common STI misconception I encounter:
- Only “promiscuous” people contract STIs; one recent study found that consensually non-monogamous couples and monogamous couples share the same STI risk; safer sex matters.
The most common concern regarding STIs I encounter:
- How to protect yourself to minimize risk. One of the challenges we encounter as educators involve a myopic heterocentric view of sex that results in sex education programs focusing primarily on condoms on penises. We also need to address other sexual activities: oral, manual, anal, etc.
Sources below. To learn more about Cosmopolitan.com’s findings on STIs, click here.