The Big Girl Chronicles: The Big Girl’s Guide to Safer Sex in 2013!
My absolute favorite country song is “The Gambler” as sang by Kenny Rogers. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the lyrics. In the chorus he sings,
“You got to know when to hold ‘em. Know when to fold ‘em. Know when to walk away. Know when to run.”
Although I enjoy the satirical message behind that song, luck has never been a friend of mine. When it comes to gambling, the odds are 100% that the odds aren’t in my favor. With so many risks that come in life, I also can’t afford to gamble with my health when it comes to intimacy and sex. If you have reached that point in your relationship where you’re ready to explore the next level together, how the two of you make these decisions could uncover key information about your partner’s sexual habits. If your partner wants to go full speed ahead throwing caution to the wind, you can bet that (s)he has behaved the exact same way in the past. If (s)he doesn’t care enough about his or her own health than to completely omit any type of forethought or responsibility, there is cause for alarm. Pay attention to how (s)he approaches the subject so you can assess whether to hold, fold, walk away or run.
Although many people currently have or at some time have experienced a sexually transmitted disease, fessing up to it can be embarrassing to say the least. Regardless, it is detrimental that before you and your partner find yourselves at the point of no return you have an honest conversation about each other’s sexual habits. My suggestion is that you choose a time when you are least likely to become aroused. In other words, don’t wait until you’re having a hot and heavy make-out session to go, “Oh, by the way what were the results of your most recent physical.” Try bringing it up casually so that you don’t sound like you’re going down a checklist. You could make a date of it and suggest that the two of you go get physicals together. Whatever choice you make, set aside some time when you and your partner can have an open, honest discussion about past mistakes that could become your present if you opt not to share information of such importance.
Once the two of you have introduced the topic, pay attention to your partner’s reaction. Does (s)he seem offended? Depending upon your approach, you could want to give him or her a few moments to get over the initial shock. Continue to evaluate nonverbal cues in addition to what’s being said. Some nervousness is expected. What you should consider alarming is if your partner completely blows up or becomes suspicious as to why you would ask. An ideal reaction would include some indication of relief that the two of you are on the same page when it comes to discussing your sexual health. However, if your partner is offended or overreacts, there is reason to suspect that (s)he has had a bad experience in the past that (s)he isn’t comfortable sharing. What could be even more alarming is whether or not (s)he was willing to engage in intimacy and put you at risk without taking the necessary precautions to protect the both of you.
Intimacy with an infected partner isn’t encouraged, but it is possible. Ultimately, the choice to have a sexual relationship with a person who has been infected with a std is yours. Should you decide to continue, take time to discuss prevention and safety to guard against unwanted pregnancy and possible spread of the std (if it is recurring). Do research on your own if your partner has divulged information about his or her past/present std. Learn all that you can about not only that std but all others, how they are transmitted, how they can be prevented and available treatments/cures.
Having a sexually transmitted disease doesn’t necessarily make your partner a bad choice. There are many people who are recovering from costly mistakes of the past. However, don’t let another’s mistake become your misfortune. Maintain sexual responsibility and preserve your health at all costs. For more information about sexually transmitted diseases and safer sex, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/std or Planned Parenthood at www.plannedparenthood.org/health .