When it comes to protecting yourself and your partner from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), it's important to take the necessary precautions. The best way to ensure that both of you are safe is to get tested for STIs and know each other's results. Additionally, using condoms correctly every time you have anal, vaginal, or oral sex can help reduce the risk of transmission. If you know you're infected, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your partner. For instance, vaginal sex (penis inside the vagina) and anal sex (penis in the butt) are especially risky if you don't use a condom.
Using a condom makes them much safer. Oral sex (mouth over vulva, penis, or anus) can also spread certain STDs (such as herpes or HPV). Using condoms and dental protectors for oral sex can help protect you and your partner. After getting tested for STIs, it's important to share the results with your partner before having sex. It's also important to stick to what you think is best for your health and know what your limits or limitations are even if you and your partner don't agree.
If something makes you uncomfortable or isn't aligned with your values, it's okay to decide not to be intimate with a potential partner. Having a long-term monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner is one of the most reliable ways to avoid STDs. If you test positive for an STI, make sure you understand your treatment options and that you share your treatment or STI management plan with your partner. 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. 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. Spending time with each other can bring you closer together and set the mood for an intimate evening with your partner. Therefore, getting tested, understanding your sexual health status, and treating your STI if you test positive are some of the best ways to protect yourself and others from sexually transmitted infections.
You or your partner may have contracted the STD in a previous relationship without even knowing it. However, starting the conversation can help you and your partner maintain your health, limit the spread of sexually transmitted infections and diseases, and can provide peace of mind during sex. It can be helpful to include all of this in your conversation about sexual health to make sure that you're okay with regard to safe sex and protection before having intimate relationships for the first time. It's still important that you and your partner get tested and that you share your test results with each other.