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Let's Talk About H.E.A.L.T.H., Part 2

by The 4-Way Panel

Dear 4-Way,

I’ve been sexually active for more than twenty years, and nowadays, it’s pretty darn easy to fall in bed on the first or second meeting or “date”—if that’s what we even call it these days. Here’s the real question: when and how is the right time to ask that all important "sexy health” question? Ten years ago, I thought it was almost foreplay to ask, “Hey, wanna go get a blood test together?” as a way to start off a sexual relationship with a clean bill of health. But we’re concerned about more than just AIDS. STDs are just as critical. To get down and dirty here, my experiences often go like this: making out (kissing, clothes on); heavy petting (feeling each other, under the clothes, clothes come off); oral sex (why this often happens before sex, I’m not sure, but it seems to work out that way); sex. Oral sex can be just as dangerous if someone has herpes for example, and is in no way “safe” sex. But when relationships get physical so easily these days, I’d like to be down about getting that important knowledge on the table before going down. I also don’t want to be a turn-off, mood killer, or turn the conversation into something that seems premature for the emotional stage of the relationship. Thoughts?—NQ

Rebecca    The straight woman's perspective: Rebecca Brown 
 
Oh, NQ, if only safe sex could be like that Dial deodorant commercial from the eighties: “Aren’t you glad you use condoms? Don’t you wish everyone did?” But they don’t. The world is one big, horny place and everybody’s got their unlatexed stuff touching everybody else’s unlatexed stuff. So “The Talk” is crucial.
 
It seems there are a couple of different possibilities for having it. The first is for the hook-up you’re not dating. (Not ideal, I know, but it happens and it needs addressing.) In this situation, there’s probably not a lot of “getting to know” you time (unless you count the minutes in between making out in the taxi). Asking if there’s anything you need to know about before proceeding beyond mere nakedness is HIGHLY recommended. If it’s a one-night kind of thing, who cares what he/she thinks?
 
But let’s also be realistic. We all know that talking about that stuff is less likely to happen in this scenario (shame on all of us), so a standard course of action is required here, with or without the talk: wrap that stuff. No ifs, ands, or vaginas. And I mean really wrap it. Like an Egyptian mummy. Make sure nothing gets through to your precious and clean private parts. And no sucky-sucky or licky-licky unless you want to end up as the lead in a Valtrex commercial. Let your fingers (and hands) do the walking. Because you can wash them. (The previous sentence is sponsored by Dial! Just kidding, legal people.)
 
If you’re dating someone that you like and actually see a future with, I think you should have the conversation before you get down and dirty, away from the bedroom or wherever you like to get hot and heavy. That way, it won’t be a mood killer. Though truthfully, I would be flattered and find it pretty hot that a man liked me enough to actually take the time to talk about this, because this last time someone did this was…um…oh right. NEVER. It seems the ladies lead the charge on this—and taking charge is hot, right?—but I could be wrong. Disease-free private parts and bodies are all the rage and talking about them—mood killer or not—is an absolute must.
 
Check in tomorrow to read the gay woman's perspective by Jody Fischer.

The 4-Way is published monthly. If you have a question for our 4-Way panel, please send it to them in care of the editor at rbrown@realgirlsmedia.com. To read more of The 4-Way columns or to listen to our podcasts, visit The 4-Way now.