4 Questions to Ask a New Partner Before Having Sex

Ready to get hot and heavy with a new partner? Maybe it's someone you've been dating for a while. It could be someone you met at a bar and have decided to take home. Either way, take a moment to stop and breathe. Before the clothes start flying for the first time, it's a good idea to talk about sex.

Sex education doesn't end in high school. Your own personal sex ed quiz is a useful tool when beginning any new sexual relationship. These questions can help both you and your new partner protect your physical health:


Have You Been Tested for STDs?

Couple sitting on edge of bed, holding hands
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If you ask people if they've been tested for STDs, they're likely to say yes. Many of them will be wrong. People often think that their doctor automatically tests them for diseases at their annual exam. Unfortunately, that isn't the case. The vast majority of physicians do not screen their clients automatically for STDs. You have to ask your doctor to do the tests.

Furthermore, you should specifically ask about testing, at least for chlamydia and gonorrhea, before starting any new sexual relationships. Doctors are sometimes reluctant to test other STDs, such as syphilis or trichomoniasis, unless you have symptoms or know that you have been exposed. Still, it never hurts to ask for the tests you want.

As for talking to a potential partner, here's an important hint. If someone says they have been tested for STDs, they should be able to tell you what diseases they've been tested for. If they can't, they're probably mistaken about having been tested. It's unfortunate that people have to ask for testing. However, when you have to ask, it's harder to forget.


When Was Your Last HIV Test?

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HIV is an STD. Still, both doctors and people on the street tend to think of HIV testing separately from STD testing. That may be because of the stigma associated with HIV. Still, HIV testing can be an important part of primary care.

Current guidelines from the CDC recommend that individuals be screened for HIV as part of their routine healthcare visits. If you have had any possible exposure to HIV through unprotected sex, sharing needles, or other exposure to bodily fluids, you should be tested. If you're not sure if you could have been exposed, you should also be tested.

In general, routine HIV testing is a good idea. Most states will test you anonymously. Furthermore, free testing is available at numerous locations. If your partner says, "I've never been tested," you might want to wait to sleep with them until their answer changes. In this day and age, when free, anonymous testing is easily available, there is no reason not to be tested regularly. There is every reason to be.


Are You Currently Involved with Anyone Else?

Teenage girl (17-19) watching couple embrace (focus on girl)
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It's all very well and good to ask for your future sexual partner's STD status. Still, what they tell you may not mean anything if they're continuing to have sex with other people. Tests are only as accurate as of the person's status when they are taken. They're less useful if your partner is still at risk.

If you are involved, sexually, in a non-monogamous relationship, these discussions are critical. You need to not only make certain that you are having safer sex with your partner(s). You also need to make certain that your partner is having safer sex with all of his or her partners.

Responsible non-monogamy is not necessarily any less safe than serial monogamy. In some circumstances, it can even be safer. However, it does require better communication in order to maintain your physical and emotional health. Remember, though, that long-term monogamous relationships represent the lowest risk to your sexual health.


Are You Prepared to Have Safer Sex?

Close-Up Of Red Condom On Pants
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Is tonight going to be a night of passion? If the answer is yes, you should be prepared. Even when you're in doubt, it's good to bring the supplies. If you are planning to have sex with someone, it is important to take responsibility for your own sexual health. That means having supplies on hand. Condoms, female condoms, back-up contraception, lube, saran wrap, gloves... Whatever you need to make sex safer for you is what you should have on hand.

It doesn't matter what your gender is, or the gender of your partner. It speaks well of you to bring the things you need. What if your partner, for example, buys supplies that you're allergic to or don't like? There's nothing quite as frustrating as deciding that you're ready to have sex and discovering that all the stores within driving distance are closed or out of your favorite condoms. If tonight's the night, you want to be ready.

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