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How To Discuss Safe Sex With Your Partner

Essential Conversations: Safe Sex Talks

Prevent STDs (and heartbreak). Asking a potential sexual partner’s sexual history is vital to prevent getting sexually transmitted diseases.


Sometimes called a Safe Sex Discussion, Safe Sex Conversation, or Sexual History, there are important questions to ask any potential lover. Here is a list of questions to discuss before you decide to exchange any body fluids with a potential sexual partner:

– When was the last time you had STD tests, which tests did you have and what were the results?

– What STD’s do you have currently? Do you have or have you recently had syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, HSV (herpes – both oral which is type 1 and genital or type 2), HPV (genital warts) in addition to HIV, trichomoniasis and even scabies and other parasites? It’s worth asking about Lyme disease at this point because some researchers are beginning to wonder if it’s an STD too.

– How many partners have you had sex with since your last tests? What were the results of your partner’s tests?

– Do you have sex with men, women or both? What kind of protection do you use and how consistently?

– Have you had sex with sex workers, do you take drugs with needles or have unprotected anal sex with homosexuals?

– What boundaries do you have around sex? What is off limits for you?

Once your prospective partner answers these questions, you can get a good sense of their level of integrity, safety and whether or not there is any risk associated with contact. But be warned! In an study in Communication Quarterly, one fifth (20%) of the sexually active students intentionally misrepresented their sexual history to their sexual partners.*

Of course, you should be able to answer all these questions for your partner as well.

Listen To Your Heart
Those questions are more “medical” in nature… so don’t forget about your heart, emotional and spiritual body. Two more questions recommended to me are:

1) What are your safer sex agreements with others, and 2) what does it mean to you if we are sexual? 

It’s good to understand how many partners a potential lover has and what their existing safe sex agreements are.

Further, to get out what it means if you are sexual together can save you from potential heartbreak at mismatched intention and meaning. For one it might be a booty call, one night stand and to the other party the potential beginning of a long-term relationship. Getting on the same page emotionally about the “meaning” of sex with a new partner can prevent future upset and confusion.

Responsible non-monogamy can be as safe as serial monogamy if you and your partners have these safe sex conversations, practice safe sex and keep your tests current.

And don’t forget to LOOK at your partner’s genitals and the rest of their skin too. If you read my article on herpes, you’ll know that a herpes outbreak does not only occur on the mouth or genitals. That pimple on your boyfriend’s butt could be herpes. And that herpes can be spread without a visual outbreak.

I know all this stuff is yucky. But you have to be an adult and get informed, get tested and have a sexual history conversation with every partner you consider.

If you want to have sex with someone and they haven’t gotten tests, then stick to mutual masturbation or at the least, just kissing and using your hands on each other.

When you put your mouth on their genitals or have genital to genital contact without current STD testing and a sexual history conversation you are putting yourself at significant risk.

You can get a lover off very well just with your hands. Start there and then get tested before proceeding further.

I love you and want you to be safe.

Spread the word about taking a sexual history and the importance of regular STD testing.

Here is a link to which tests you should get. <=== STD Testing Recommendations

Here is a Conscious Safe Sex Guide <=== Follow These Guidelines To Be Responsibly Non-Monogamous or Serially Monogamous


* Communication Quarterly, Anne E. Lucchetti, “Deception in disclosing one’s sexual history: Safe‐sex avoidance or ignorance?”; May 21, 2009.

7 Responses

  1. Another part of safe sex conversation needs to be safe words and limits etc. Just because a person doesn’t look disabled doesn’t mean they are not.

  2. Whats a good SHORT quote to ask the guy…..when he says “I recently took my STD tests”? Not so intrusive…how would you respond?

  3. Funny how many guys won’t get tested.
    Not happening until you do conversations have often resulted in no calls backs or nights with the girls instead.
    But ultimately, if they won’t, they really don’t care about themselves or you.
    And don’t suffer the consequences of a child getting infected from a bad choice or lack of cleaning.
    Not worth it – sorry, moms sick(or dying) from a fling…too scared to ask or protect myself and you for an o.
    That’s ugly.

  4. Some useful suggestions, but one you didn’t mention was knowing the other for a while an observing their actions. You can learn
    much about the other, before you have sex. Sex and love are different emotions many time confused, or combined,

  5. This list of questions is so ‘clinical’ that it is likely to ‘turn off’ any potential partner in whom you are interested. The potential partner may also be unhappy about being quizzed so directly.
    As a result, I suspect, few people will ask the questions.
    There needs to be a more sympathetic way of getting this information. Perhaps all that needed is a request to see the latest Certificate of Non-Infection. This isn’t risk free, but it may be better than being too intrusive.

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