My name is Natalie and I am a junior in high school. I want to share a story with you that I am passionate about:
Going into this past school year I didn’t have a lot of experience with dating until I met Mark last year. Mark was everything I had dreamed my first boyfriend would be. He writes me cute little notes, walks me to my classes, and he isn’t afraid to kiss me in front of his friends. Things were going pretty smoothly for awhile and we naturally started talking about sex.
I definitely felt like I was ready- I knew I loved Mark and that even if we broke up I would be okay with losing my virginity with him. It wasn’t his first time, but he was super patient and never pressured me. In preparation for the Big Day I did a lot of talking with my friends and reading on the internet- I felt like I had a pretty good handle on the condoms (I got free ones!) and birth control (IUD for the win!) thing. But there was one large gap in my knowledge: STDs.
STD talk is all over the internet! I had no idea that some could cause cancer or infertility and that you could get one from a partner who didn’t even know they had it because they have NO SYMPTOMS. This was something none of my friends mentioned! Not once! After continuing my research I knew STDs were something I wanted to take seriously (1 of 2 people get one before age 25!) even if my friends didn’t because some STDs aren’t even preventable by condoms. But that meant I had to talk to Mark about them. Eeeeek! Talk about awkward. I know from all my reading that I wasn’t alone in that feeling- most people put having the STD convo with their partners on the “please don’t make me do it!” list.
The next day Mark and I were lying in bed and I knew he thought we were going to do it, but I just couldn’t get STDs out of my head! I thought about making up an excuse, but then I would need to think of another excuse, and another, and another because he would never be able to guess what was bothering me (yeah, boys can’t read minds).
So finally I just did it. I laid it out as best I could. I have to admit that the initial move in the convo was a little ackward but compared to having the worry in the back of my mind, the whole thing was pretty easy- not at all how I had thought. Mark truly cares for my well being and peace of mind.
My advice for starting that convo is to just take a deep breath, don’t overthink it, and just say want you want straight up. Don’t accuse the other person of having an STD or imply that they are dirty because they have been with other people because that could be super offensive and unless you’re a doctor you really don’t know.
So how did our conversation end up… I told Mark that I just wouldn’t feel 100% comfortable unless he got tested and I offered to go with him for moral support and get tested just to double check my status as well. He was super down for that because he really just wanted me to be comfortable and that meant a lot to me- there shouldn’t be any stigma when it comes to getting tested for STDs. You’re just taking care of your health, like you do when you go to the doctor to get checked for anything else.
1 week later and both of us are STD free and having a great time exploring each others’ bodies knowing that we aren’t putting each other at risk. It gave me such peace of mind to know that we are both healthy and even if we weren’t we would have worked around it with the necessary precautions because after all with good communication and a partner you trust STDs aren’t the end of the world!