Protect Yourself - Questions To Ask a New Partner Before Having Sex

Questions to Ask a New Partner Before Starting a Sexual Relationship

You've just started dating someone new. You've been out more than a few times, and you think you're ready to get to the hot and heavy stage. Before the clothes start flying for the first time, here are some questions that you might want to ask before having sex. These questions can help both you and your new partner protect your physical health. Sex education doesn't end in high school. Your own personal sex ed quiz is a useful tool when beginning any new sexual relationship.

Have you been tested for sexually transmitted diseases?

Couple at table with mugs, looking down
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Many people will say yes to this question... and be wrong. They 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 specifically ask about testing for at least chlamydia and gonorrhea before starting any new sexual relationship. 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. Just remember, 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.  

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When was your last HIV test?

CANGE, HAITI - MARCH 24: Blood tests wait to be inspected at the lab of Zanmi Lasante Hospital March 24, 2005 in Cange, Haiti. Many HIV positive patients come to be hospitalized here, but the majority of HIV infected people will stay at home in their final stage of life and will die there as most hospitals in the country can not take them. (Photo by Shaul Schwarz/Getty Images). Shaul Schwarz/Getty Images

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.

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Are you currently involved with anyone else?

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Kissing Couple. Photodisc/Digital Vision/Getty Images

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. If you are involved, sexually, in a non-monogamous relationship, these discussions are critical. You need to make certain that you are not only 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?

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When in doubt, 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. 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.

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