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Let's Talk About H.E.A.L.T.H., Part 4

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

Chris    The straight man’s perspective: Chris Kennedy 
 
As quickly as you move, I’d say the sexual health question needs to come right after, “Hi, nice to meet you.”
 
So, amend your experiences to this: Making out, heavy petting, and then insert your question here—AND NOTHING ELSE! “Before this goes further ... anything I should know about? STDs?” The answer will determine how you’ll proceed from there.
 
Also, I feel individuals with an STD are obliged to mention this to anyone they are about to get intimate with. It would be nice if they offered up that information without you having to ask. That would be the moral thing to do. BUT—morals aren’t typically the first thing that “pops up” for those who have sex often and with many partners. The promiscuous lot may not want to say anything to hurt their chances with you. They’ll only "reveal" what they want you to see. It’s healthy and wise to be concerned and to ask potential sexual partners about their sexual health.
 
Could that be a turn-off? Maybe. But better to risk the mood getting killed than you.
 
Check in next week for another Q&A series with The 4-Way.

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.