How to Ensure Your Partner is Being Honest About Sexual Activity and Risks

Talking to your partner before having sex is essential for an honest and healthy relationship. It's normal to feel nervous, but it's important to have this conversation for your own reproductive health. It's also common to feel strong emotions after an STI diagnosis, but being open and honest with your sexual partners helps build trust and understanding. To help you and your partner start a conversation about safe sex, we've created printable conversation starters that address important topics when it comes to safe sex, STIs and STI prevention.

The focus group guides used a semi-structured format to gather detailed information about the participant's perspectives on relationships and concurrency and how these perspectives and cultural and contextual factors influence sexual risk behaviors. You or your partner may have had the sexually transmitted disease in a previous relationship without even knowing it. The topics included the types of relationships, the debate and practice of risk reduction strategies, including agreements on condom use and monogamy, perspectives on monogamy and concurrency, and factors that influence decisions about condom use and other risk-reduction practices. Many said that they didn't want to start a conversation about sexual history with their partners until they got to know them better, and chose to use condoms only with casual partners or one-night stands, although some felt that it was important to have these conversations with all partners early in the relationship.

Participants distinguished between ideal relationships and reality, and couples often met monetary and emotional needs; several participants cited the desire to have someone to return home to and the fear of being alone as reasons to stay with a partner even when the partner was unfaithful to them. If you discover that you have an STD while you're in a relationship, talk to your partner as soon as possible. Different types of agreements can offer different levels of protection and can be modified based on individual and couple characteristics, such as intimacy, support provided by the couple, and communication about health protection. When you and your partner have to go alone, randomly choose a date card from the jar and do the dating activity that appears on the list.

Accelerated couples therapy (EPT) is where your health care provider prescribes to your partner without examining you when you are diagnosed with chlamydia or gonorrhea. Men and women were much more likely to report condom use with casual partners, one-night stands and “high-risk couples” than with primary partners. It's important to research facts before talking to your partner so that you can advocate for your own reproductive health. If something makes you uncomfortable or isn't aligned with your values, it's okay not to be intimate with a potential partner.

Bernice Lovato
Bernice Lovato

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