5 questions to ask your partner about their sexual history

Practicing safe sex is your first line of defense in protecting your sexual health. But as awkward as it may be sometimes, it’s also important to talk to your partner about their sexual health, and your own. Even if it’s not on the forefront of your mind early on in a relationship or encounter, the earlier that that you have the conversation the sooner it will be out of the way.  If you’re not completely sure where to start, consider leading with these five questions.

When was your last sexually transmitted disease (STD) test?

The US Centers for Disease Control recommends that men and women who are sexually active and not in monogamous relationships be tested for things like chlamydia, HIV, and syphilis every year. If your partner hasn’t been tested in over a year, they should.

Which STDs have you been tested for?

As you’ve probably guessed, testing for a single STD won’t cut it. People have to get tested for all of the STDs they may have been exposed to. Most likely these would include chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis; they could also include HIV or others. This depends on things like the sex of a person’s partners and how frequently they switch partners, but a provider can determine what tests a person should undergo.

Have you had an STD in the past six months, and were you treated?

Even with treatment, some STDs don’t immediately go away. People have to receive a full round of treatment – it won’t be effective if someone stops treatment halfway through. If your partner was diagnosed with an STD in the past six months, you’ll want to be sure that they were fully treated, and that they were tested again in the end to make sure the infection was gone.

How many sex partners have you had since your last STD test?

This might also be a difficult question, but ideally one would get tested in between partners. If they didn’t get tested between now and their last partner, you’ll want to know if they practiced safe sex.

Are you comfortable with practicing safe sex?

Safe sex drastically reduces your risk of getting or spreading an STD. This helps protect you and your partner’s health in the long-term, and just as importantly, it can allow the two of you to more fully enjoy your time together.

Have a conversation!

Your goal with all of this is really just to start an open and honest dialogue with your partner. Even though you’re practicing safe sex, talking to your partner about where you’re both at in regards to your sexual health is also very important. Your time with your partner will be richer and more enjoyable – not to mention more comfortable – as a result. 

  • “Safer Sex.” PlannedParenthood. Planned Parenthood Federation of America, 2016. Web.
  • Eileen Bailey. “STDs and HIV Testing: Frequently Asked Questions.” HealthCentral. Remedy Health Media, LLC., 2016. Web.
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