A handy guide to the most crucial conversation you need to have with your current sexual partner.
A handy guide to the most crucial conversation you need to have with your current sexual partner. (Photo: iStock) 
  • 1. When Did you Last get Tested for Sexually Transmitted...
  • 2. What is Your Approach to Having Safe Sex?
  • 3. Are you Sleeping With Anyone Else?
  • 4. Are you Looking for a Serious Relationship or Casual Sex?
  • 5. What Are You Into?
  • 6. Do You Want to Have Sex?
  • 7. Bonus: How Do I Have This Conversation?
  • 8.
Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby: 6 Questions to Ask Your Sexual Partner

Talking about sex is the best thing you can do for yourself if you are a sexually active person, especially in your 20s. At this age where the definitions of partnership and sex within those partnerships are becoming increasingly fluid (casual sex, open relationship, one-night stands etc), every time you decide to have sex with a person, you are not only sleeping with them, you are sleeping with everyone they’ve slept with before you. It’s absolutely crucial to talk about having safer, healthier sex, regardless of who you’re having sex with. Infections can pass between two women and two men, as well as between a man and a woman.

Whether you’ve been with someone for a significant amount of time or you’ve only met them for drinks twice, if sex is going to be a part of the equation, it is non-negotiable to talk about it.

Discuss topics like contraception, Sexually Transmitted Infections, risks, sexual histories, much before the moment of truth arrives so that you can go into the experience having covered all bases.

Sure, it can be awkward asking “Have you ever had genital warts?” to the person you’re hoping to get it on with, so here’s a handy guide to what you should be asking them instead.

  • 1. When Did you Last get Tested for Sexually Transmitted Infections?

    This is the most significant question to ask your current sexual partner. Sexually Transmitted Infections/Diseases (STIs/STDs) are more common than we think and very serious yet treatable illnesses, but because talking about sex is taboo, only one-third of all detected cases of STDs are treated. In most cases, however, a simple course of antibiotics can cure STDs (except HIV-AIDS)!

    More than just the stigma, it is the ignorance about STDs, even among the educated, that has led to an increase in infections, especially in urban India. Since 1981, there has been a mind-blowing 400% increase in STD infections in our country.

    Almost all STDs that are spread through vaginal sex can also be spread by unprotected anal and oral sex. The chances of having an STI increase if you’ve recently found a new sexual partner, have not always used condoms, have had more than one sexual partner in the last year, are a man who has sex with men or have previously had an STI.

    So, ask them when they last went for a test, and don’t be afraid to push for details if you get a vague “few months ago” in response. As an adult, it is as much their responsibility to get tested regularly and share that information with their partners. Also, tests for STDs are usually not included in regular physical examinations and need to be asked for specifically, so if the response is along the lines of “I recently got a health checkup”, ask for more details, especially if they’ve ever been tested for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) which leads to AIDS. India has the third largest HIV epidemic in the world, with 2.1 million people living with it in 2016.

    A handy guide to the most crucial conversation you need to have with your current sexual partner.
    (Graphic: FIT)

    If they’ve never gotten tested before, suggest getting tested together. Their willingness to do so will also tell you if this person is a good sexual fit for you. Get tested yourself if you haven’t either; it’ll make it easier for you to initiate this conversation yourself.

    Ground rule remains: people who are having sex regularly, should be tested regularly. Doctors recommend that men and women get at STI test at least once a year, with women getting an addition Pap test once every three years. As of 31st August 2016 across India, there were 20,756 Integrated Counselling and Testing Centres (ICTC), mainly located in government hospitals that conducted extensive tests for STDs and HIV-AIDS along with one-to-one, confidential counselling at affordable costs.

    If your partner constantly dodges the questions or gets resentful, treat it like a red flag and deliberate whether you want to take the risk. (Psst: Not worth it, especially when the basic HIV-test is just a cheek swab.) Just remember you have the absolute right to ask about your partner’s sexual history and whether they’ve ever tested positive for an STI.

    A handy guide to the most crucial conversation you need to have with your current sexual partner.
    (Photo: Pinterest) 

    Other than asking your partner these questions, also take initiative to gain awareness about how STIs spread and how you can protect yourself and your partner from it.
    People between the ages of 15-25 years are more susceptible to contracting STIs due to a general lack of maturity to negotiate sexual relationships and a higher tendency of having unprotected/intoxicated/polygamous sex.

    A handy guide to the most crucial conversation you need to have with your current sexual partner.
    (Graphic: FIT)

    A lot of STDs are asymptomatic, however, which means they don’t have any visible, outwardly symptoms. There's no way to tell if someone is actually free of STDs unless they have a medical test from a licensed doctor saying so.

    If STDs go untreated, they can lead to serious issues like infertility, or in the case of HIV patients, almost half of them develop the incurable AIDS within ten years. It’s no laughing matter, so just because it doesn’t necessarily go “with the sexy mood” you simply can’t gloss over it.

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