Having 'The Talk'

Talking about sex, STDs, and intimate things can be downright uncomfortable and awkward – but it doesn’t have to be. Being more open and honest with your partner about how you feel will establish a stronger, happier relationship. It’s important to let each other know where you stand on issues relating to your sexuality and your boundaries.

Be bold, take charge. Don’t wait for your partner to bring something up. You may find that he/she is relieved that you brought it up first. Nervousness is normal, but you won’t regret the conversation.
Have ‘the talk’ before things start heating up between you. Having the conversation after you’ve been together sexually may be too late. All it takes is ‘one time’ to get an STD or get pregnant. Once you feel that you’re ready to take the relationship to the next level, have the conversation. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
Be totally honest. If you have an STD, tell your partner. It’s important to tell them before you have any sexual contact – including skin-to-skin contact, oral sex, anal sex, or vaginal sex. You and your partner can take steps to prevent sharing the STD. You may find it helpful to go to a local health center together where you can learn about proper protection.
Be in the know. Knowledge is power. You and your partner should get tested so that you know if you have any STDs. Not all STDs show symptoms, so you can’t tell just by looking. Know what STDs are and how to protect yourself from getting them.

You should talk to you partner about things like:

  • Sexual activity
  • STD and STI Testing
  • Use of STD protection and pregnancy prevention
  • Being monogamous
Sexual activity- Ideally, you’ll have this conversation before you and your partner become sexually involved. You should communicate to your partner your sexual boundaries – how far you are comfortable going. If your partner doesn’t respect your wishes, then you should reconsider your relationship.
STD and STI Testing- If you haven’t been tested since your last sexual partner, then you should get tested. Ask your partner if you can go together to get tested. You can find a local health clinic here (link). You should also agree to a form of STD and STI protection, like wearing a condom or abstaining from all sexual activity. If one or both of you has an STD, don’t worry. You can use precaution and protection to prevent sharing the STD. It’s best to talk to a doctor about how to prevent sharing STDs with each other and to get immediate treatment for your STD.
Use of STD protection and pregnancy prevention- One of the most important conversations you can have with your partner is about STDs and pregnancy prevention. Is he willing to wear a condom? Is she on birth control? If he is not willing to wear a condom, is she willing to wear a female condom? Are you using a secondary birth control method, such as spermicide, the pill, or a diaphragm? If he is not willing to wear a condom then you are both at very high risk for contracting STDs and the girl getting pregnant. To learn about all of your STD and birth control options, click here (link). Stand firm in using a form of STD and pregnancy prevention. Some things are okay to compromise on (like what to do this weekend), but some things should never be compromised-- like your sexual health, safety, and boundaries.
Being monogamous- This means sleeping with only one person at a time. One way to minimize your risk of STDs and STIs is to be monogamous. Both you and your partner should agree to only sleep with each other. Unfortunately, sometimes relationships end. It’s a good idea to get tested when you end a relationship so you are prepared for another relationship in the future.

Have questions about STDs or teen pregnancy? Call Jennifer Silliman at 561-843-6964 or jsilliman@hmhbpbc.org