Get talking and get tested

By: Megan Graves, Columnist

Do you <3 female orgasms? Of course you do. And you’re in luck, because this Wednesday, Oct. 5, and Thursday, Oct. 6, the I <3 Female Orgasm presentation is coming to Stephens Hall at 7 p.m.

It’s hosted by sex educators Rachel Dart and Marshall Miller, who just want to talk to you about female sexuality in all of its wonderful, intricate aspects. The program is super informative and hilarious, and I can’t recommend it enough!

Now that I’ve got you all thinking about sexuality, let’s talk about expressing your own sexuality in a way that keeps you and your partner(s) safe.

First of all, ANYONE can get an STI. Statistically speaking, 1 in 3 people will be affected by HPV, the most common STI, in their lifetimes.

We need to stop treating these infections like the plague. They’re so, so common! Having a sexually transmitted infection doesn’t mean you’re dirty, and you shouldn’t feel ashamed.

While the nasty stigma on STIs needs to be shattered, the infections themselves are still unpleasant to deal with. So how do you keep yourself STI-free?

First of all, get yourself tested regularly. If you’re monogamous, you should go once a year. If you’re not, a good rule of thumb is to go when you become sexually active with a new partner. If you have a new partner once a month (get it, bae), get yourself tested once a month.

Secondly, use protection! Birth control pills, patches, rings, IUDs, etc., will help prevent against pregnancy but they do not prevent STIs. Only condoms and dental dams can do that. Don’t forget that you can get STIs from oral sex, too.

Third, talk to your partner about their sexual history. I know it seems really awkward, especially if you don’t know them that well, but honestly that’s when you really need to talk to them.

Which is worse: taking a second to ask about when they were last tested and if they’ve had other partners since then, or potentially dealing with the physical discomfort and medical awkwardness of getting an STI?

If you’re seeing the person outside of just the bedroom, talk to them when you’re in a super casual setting. Talk to them about it while you’re waiting for Netflix to load or while you’re getting coffee.

Another good way to bring it up if you don’t feel comfortable straight up asking is to offer to get tested together. Then you’ll know you’re healthy and that your partner is healthy. Win-win.

The way I see it, if you’re comfortable and confident enough to do the do with this person, you should be comfortable and confident enough to just say, “Hey, I know this sounds awkward, but when were you last tested?”

Don’t be worried about ruining the chemistry, because nothing ruins the chemistry quite like herpes. If the person is too offended to respond or refuses, then they’re immature or hiding something, and you just stopped yourself from making a mistake.

Unfortunately, not everyone is honest. Just talking isn’t going to keep you 100 percent safe all of the time. That’s why getting yourself tested and using protection is important. It’s so important that I can’t even think of a word that properly expresses just how important it is. It’s supercalifradulisticexpealimportant.

Talk to your partner(s), check out I <3 Female Orgasm this week, and go (safely) express that sexuality like you’ve never expressed it before.

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