STD Etiquette

Consensual sex, even when it is protected, may still have consequences. Whether it’s an unexpected pregnancy or the transmission of diseases or viruses, these repercussions do not have to blindside you if you are careful. If you’re ever worried about what to do in these cases, we have designed an STD etiquette flowchart that should help put your mind at ease.

An STD is a sexually transmitted disease passed along through sexual contact of the genitals or mouth. Though you should always be cautious when having sex with a new partner, you should not always have to feel scared.

Do you have an STD? — No. — Have you asked your partner if they have an STD? — No.

CONCLUSION: You shouldn’t assume that because you do not have an STD, that your sexual partner is in the same boat. Having an STD is nothing to be ashamed of, but it is definitely something that should be expressed to anyone you’re about to have sex with. You wouldn’t drink or eat after someone who had a cold. The same rules apply to the bedroom. Open communication is the key to a happy sex life.

Do you have an STD? — No. — Have you asked your partner if they have an STD? — Yes. — Did your partner say yes? — No.

CONCLUSION: Good job! You’re already one step ahead of the game. It might seem like an awkward question to ask, but it is always better to be safe than sorry. Your future partners will be grateful that you care enough about them to ensure that everyone involved will be safe and healthy. If you trust your partner is being honest, enjoy the rest of your night!

Do you have an STD? — No. — Have you asked your partner if they have an STD? — Yes. — Did your partner say yes? — Yes.

CONCLUSION: Congratulations on keeping an open and honest communication with your partner. This might not have been an easy thing for your partner to admit, but it is great they felt they could tell you the truth. Your next step would be to show as much grace as possible to your partner. You do not have to follow through with sexual contact at this point if you are not comfortable with doing so, but you should share this with your partner in a way that does not shame them for having an STD—they are more common than we think! However, if you decide to proceed with intercourse, you should know your protection options. Condoms and dental dams can prevent the transmission of STDs. They are not 100 percent foolproof, so proceed with caution and awareness, but don’t forget to have fun.

Do you have an STD? — Yes. — Have you told your partner that you have an STD? — No.

CONCLUSION: You might be feeling ashamed and embarrassed about a sexually transmitted disease you caught. There is nothing to feel bad about. These diseases are more common than we think. It is not surprising that you would not want to tell many people, but if you are going to be involving another person in the decision of living with an STD, they morally have the right to know. Even if you feel afraid that this person will reject you for your STD, the right thing to do is to be honest. You are not any less of a person for having an STD, and if your partner cannot understand that, it might be better for you to sleep with other people who are more open minded. It is also not your partner’s fault for not wanting to sleep with you after learning this information about you—and that is okay! No one should feel shame in this situation as long as everyone is honest, open and consensual.

Do you have an STD — Yes. —- Have you told your partner that you have an STD? — Yes.

CONCLUSION: Awesome job on being both brave and honest! Admitting to a new sexual partner that you have an STD can be intimidating, humiliating and uncomfortable, but it certainly does not have to be. If you are truthful from the beginning, you are already one step ahead. You probably already know the protocol from here if your partner decides to carry through with having sexual contact with you. Use your protection options and be careful about the exposure of any bodily fluids from your genitals. Don’t allow shame to keep you from having a fair and good time!