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How do I ask a partner about STIs without sounding like a jerk?

Talking with sex partners about sex can sometimes feel awkward.  But the payoff is big when it includes avoiding sexually transmitted infections, gaining consent or having great sex!

Here are some tips that might make asking easier.  You could focus on yourself to create a safe space for your partner to talk openly, without feeling like they are being interrogated.  You can open with something like:

  • “I want to make sure that we are on the same page about protection and testing.  I get tested regularly because __(insert your reason here)__, how about you?”
  • “STI testing is important to me, so I get tested when I have a new partner.  Have you been tested lately?”
  • “We should both be tested just to be sure. Either of us could have something and not know it.”

Some people prefer to have this conversation face to face, whereas others feel more comfortable over the phone or text.  For some who are in committed, supportive relationships getting tested together can work.

Best of luck starting this important conversation.  There’s no “right way” to do it, so just go with what feels right, and don’t feel pressured to adjust your expectations if someone is not willing to meet them.

Plus keep in mind that there are ways to make great sex safer, even if your partner tells you that they have an STI.  There are other posts on this site about that too!