Sex Panther: Let’s Talk About STIs (And Other Things) Baby!

By SEX PANTHER

You’ve probably heard it a million times, sex kittens, but communication is key! This counts in pretty much every relationship you will ever have, whether it is a sexual one or a romantic one or a professional one or anything in between. If you don’t start honing your communication skills– really making sure that you equip yourself with the tools you need to speak honestly, compassionately and openly about things that maybe make you uncomfortable or that are difficult to talk about — then you are setting yourself and the people you interact with up for failure and frustration. 

Sure, communication looks different to everyone, but holding space for others and having a willingness to be vulnerable are important skills when it comes to romance or sex. Like, super important. Realistically, I myself have failed at communicating my wants and needs or holding space on many occasions, and you probably have failed and will continue to do so. What is important is building those skills and striving to have those hard conversations, even when choosing to ignore or dance around them seems easier. Trust me, it is not easier, not in the long run. 

Take, for example, disclosing your STI status to partners. First off, if you are going to be having ANY kind of oral or genital contact with anyone ever, YOU SHOULD KNOW YOUR STI STATUS. This could be a whole damn column in its own right, but seriously. If you are not mature enough to march your ass down to Parton, say “Hi, I’d like to request a full STI screening please,” and TAKE THE DAMN TEST, you are not mature enough to be putting your genitals or mouth near anyone else’s but your Fleshlights. 

 Parton has funding to subsidize these tests, making them FREE to you as a student. It is literally free. I am begging you. Plenty of people don’t have sex with other people, and while it is still helpful to know your STI status even in those cases, it is less irresponsible to the health and safety of others than if you don’t know your status and do choose to engage in acts which can transmit STIs. 

This is not to say that STIs are dirty or immoral or bad in any way- there are many ways to contract STIs. A partner of mine once got oral herpes from sharing a water bottle with a friend. Another friend of mine contracted chlamydia after a drunken hookup where their partner didn’t know (or worse, failed to disclose– which in certain cases can be a federal offense) their STI status. Sex is fun, and sometimes you’re gonna have to deal with STIs. It happens. But don’t let it ruin your fun. Make sure you’re equipped to deal with those crucial conversations. 

Here’s an example: 

Person A: “I can’t wait to eat you out.”

Person B: “That sounds amazing! Before we do that though, when was the last time you got tested? I just got tested last week, but nothing to report here!” 

Person A: “About 6 months ago. But I did have a cold sore a couple of weeks ago…” 

Person B: “Thanks for letting me know! I’d still love to get eaten out. Let’s use a dental dam to be safe. What flavor do you prefer? I have cherry, mint, and unflavored.”

Yeah, we all know that the conversation might be longer or a little bit awkward, especially if the person has not been tested in a while, but it is important to know what you’re walking into to have both a safe and fun experience. And if you get tested and find out that you have contracted an STI, it is always a good idea to let partners you have had since your last test know that they should get tested too. 

If you ask a partner or partners their STI statuses and they can’t or won’t respond…then RUN. They might be perfectly nice people, they might have perfectly beautiful fellatio skills or pound you to a pulp in the best way, but they are also irresponsible and you (and your body) deserve better. If you really like them (or their genitals and physical touch and want it to continue) do yourself and them a favor by insisting they get tested. If they won’t, there are other fish in the sea. And at least you know what some of those other fish’s STI statuses are.

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