A recent survey by pharmaceutical company Merck & Co found that a significant number of women do not regularly discuss their reproductive health with their partners. It is important to have open communication about sexual health to ensure both parties are emotionally and physically prepared for intimacy.
Here are 10 questions to consider discussing before engaging in sexual activity with a partner.
1. When was the last time you got tested?
If a partner is vague or evasive about their recent testing status, it is important to push for more details. Regular testing and open communication about testing history is a sign of maturity in sexual relationships. If a partner is resentful or dismissive of the question, it may be a red flag and caution should be exercised.
2. Have you been tested for HIV recently?
It's important to not assume that a physical examination includes all necessary STD tests. Ask for more information and details when a partner mentions they have recently had a physical examination. It is your right to take care of your own health and it is important to ask about these things.
3. How do you feel about using protection?
It is important to discuss condom usage before engaging in sexual activity. Ask if your partner is comfortable using them and if they use them consistently. It's also important to ask if they are willing to use one with you. Some people may be hesitant to use protection, especially if they have not used them in a previous relationship. It is best to have this conversation before the heat of the moment to avoid any discomfort or disappointment.
4. If you don't use protection, what are you using?
I once dated a guy who believed that pulling out was a reliable form of birth control and that using protection felt "impersonal." However, it is important to note that the withdrawal method, also known as the pull-out method, is not foolproof and has a higher failure rate than other forms of birth control. It is important to discuss and agree on a preferred form of birth control before engaging in sexual activity.
5. Are you on the pill?
It is important for both partners to discuss and share their contraceptive choices before engaging in sexual activity. Men and women should feel comfortable bringing up this topic and having an open and honest conversation about it. Having all the information can help prevent unwanted pregnancies and protect against STIs.
6. Are you actually single?
It is important to clarify the relationship status of a potential partner before engaging in sexual activity. If they mention being in an open relationship, it is important to understand the specifics of that arrangement, including whether or not their partner is aware of the open relationship. This can help prevent any confusion or hurt feelings later on.
7. Are you sleeping with anyone else right now?
It's important not to assume exclusivity in a relationship, even if someone has been spending a lot of time with you. Having a conversation about this can prevent misunderstandings and help you understand if this is the right situation for you.
8. Does the other person(s) you're sleeping with know you're seeing other people?
It's beneficial to discuss this beforehand to avoid any future conflicts.
9. What are you into?
Before engaging in sexual activities, it's important to communicate your preferences and boundaries with your partner. This can prevent surprises or discomfort during the experience, and help both parties relax and enjoy themselves.
10. Do you want to make love?
Consent is essential and required in any sexual encounter, without exception.