S is for Sexy Times Ahead… so STI Testing!

Photo by masaki ikeda

Don’t look the other way…  (Photo by masaki ikeda)

A beautiful Autumn is mustering up its might just about now, morning chill hangs persistently in the air, and bed is increasingly the thing no one wants to get out of…  Take a moment now, before falling into what sexy times lie ahead, to get yourself to a clinic for STI/STD (Sexually Transmitted Infection/Disease) testing, so you can play around with a clear and informed conscious.

Here is a great online resource that will help you find a place near you: National HIV and STD Testing Resources.  It’s really helpful for people who are on the road, like myself, or for anyone who doesn’t know exactly what their city or area offers for medical and testing support.  You can always look to Planned Parenthood or Family Planning, and many cities have free STI testing clinic hours at certain hospitals.  You may find health centers specifically serving young adults and students at discount rates or for free (usually through age 26, plus or minus), and sometimes there are medical centers or clinics that aim to provide safe and comprehensive care specifically for LGBTQI communities; they’re likely to be well informed about Kink and Poly health concerns as well.

Why get tested regularly?  Because you, your body, your heath, and your partners matter.  If you are informed about what is going on with your body you can take care of yourself and those you love better.  No one wants to test positive for a STI, but a large percentage of sexually active adults, at one point or another, will.  Whether it be something that you can take a pill to clear up or something you’ll need to live with for the rest of your life, knowing the facts about your body and treating your partners with honesty and respect before engaging in potentially risky behavior is one way you can gain the confidence to be a great lover.

Testing positive is not a sexual death sentence:  It does mean you have to practice talking clearly and openly about what you have tested positive for with play partners who might be put at risk.  In my experience, both being told by a partner that they were (or had recently been) STI positive, and having to tell a partner that I am positive for an STI, I have had great conversations.  No one has ever recoiled in horror or become abusive, and neither have I.  I can say that it is sometimes hard to have the confidence and presence of mind to stop in the midst of a great make-out that looks like it’s going somewhere and say “so before we go any further, I’d like to have a chat about STIs and sexual history with you…”.  I’ve found it feels really great when you do.  If a moment where you’re actively being physical with a playmate isn’t a good place to interrupt and start that conversation for you, then make sure you find time before your date to talk it out.  It’s great to hear “I really like you and if we’re going somewhere more physical with one another, I’d like to make sure we talk about our sexual histories and STI statuses, can we chat about that sometime soon?”.  Respecting the people around you is the best way to get closer to them.  That said, everyone has a right to turn you down for sex or play for any reason including your STI status, and it is not your right to take that choice away from them.  Ignorance is not a good reason to put someone at risk of anything, and it’s a horrible way to start what might have been a great friendship or partnership.

So, celebrate your body today!  Treat it to some testing and make sure you’re up to date on how to best care for yourself and others.  Have fun, remember that safer sex including the use of barrier methods are always available options and usually the best way to keep a separation between what’s yours and what’s theirs.  Get tested regularly (every 3-6 months or with each new partner perhaps), have a wonderful play life, and I wish many trustworthy and responsible mates unto you.

To Breath and Being,
~ Karin

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~Thank you.


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