Dear Madame Lestrange,
I never know how to politely ask someone if they’ve been tested recently. I don’t want to get an STI but it’s so awkward to ask someone about past sexual partners especially if it’s not a committed relationship. Any advice?
Hi Awkward Turtle!
Great question. It’s important to get this information when you’re casually or seriously hooking up with someone. Your own sexual health is priority number one! The thing is that you don’t have to ask them about past PARTNERS, you are only asking about their health, right? And asking someone will only be awkward if you think it’s awkward. And Turtle, it is not awkward. It is important. It is necessary. It is what happens when you become sexually active. If you or the person is uncomfortable with this conversation, reconsider being active because IT’S THAT IMPORTANT. And just always use condoms.
[bctt tweet=”Your own sexual health is priority number one!” username=”wearethetempest”]
1. If you are about to hook up and you’re not sure about their history: ask them to use protection and maybe say something along the lines of “We need to use protection this time; we can talk about our histories before we hook up next time” and carry on. If the person has any sort of problem with that, that’s a red flag. Not a red flag like “this person is carrying something” but a red flag like “this person is disrespectful”… carry on here as you see fit.
2. If you have been discussing the possibility of hooking up with someone: straight up ask him or her. “Before we get together, can we discuss testing?” Make it clear that you don’t care about the number of partners or anything unimportant like that. Who cares how many people or whom they’ve slept with? What matters is that they are serious about their own sexual health, have been tested recently, and know what’s up.
3. If you’ve been hooking up with the person and want to stop using protection, again it’s just a matter of bringing it up. “Hey, I have a question! When’s the last time you were tested? I’d love to stop using [a condom], but I need to know if you’ve been tested recently because I feel uncomfortable with doing this if you haven’t.” Totally legitimate question. Something you need to know.
[bctt tweet=”Don’t make anyone feel shitty for being honest.” username=”wearethetempest”]
4. If you and a partner are consistently and properly using condoms, you are probably fine. They protect so long as all affected skin is covered and no fluids are exchanged. Regardless, ask if it will make you feel better.
5. It’s also important to know that a partner may be shy or scared to let you know because of your reaction. Some people might keep the information hidden (but still insist on wearing protection because they don’t want to spread it) because of the stigma. It’s scary to reveal that type of information, especially to someone you are casually hooking up with but don’t know otherwise intimately. Don’t make anyone feel shitty for being honest.
6. If your partner has any sort of positive results on previous tests, just be sure to be safe and use protection.
Don’t ever feel awkward for making sure you are happy and healthy. You are kissing and having sex with this person – this is a conversation you should be able to have with ease! Good luck!
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