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When getting to know a new partner, a wide range of topics may come up. But if you’re like many people, you may be tempted to stay away from the sexual history talk — at least at first.
However, discussing your sexual history with your partner is incredibly important. Read on to learn why.
Sexual History Definition
Your sexual history encompasses all of your past sexual experiences, whether penetrative or not. It can cover what you like and dislike in a sexual experience. It also includes your sexual health, including any sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) you’ve had and whether you received treatment for them.
Should the Past Just Stay in the Past?
You may be wondering — why can’t the past just stay in the past? Is it that important to talk about my past sex life with every new partner I meet?
In short, yes — talking about your sexual history is incredibly valuable.
First, discussing what you’re into — and what you’re not into — can help protect you during your next sexual experience. If you’ve enjoyed certain positions in the past, telling your partner can help you have a more enjoyable time with them. But even more important, talking about your boundaries can help your partner avoid crossing them.
However, talking about your sexual past is also important to your and your partner’s health. You both should be fully transparent about your sexual health, including:
- Whether you have ever tested positive for a sexually transmitted disease
- Whether you believe in getting a rapid STD test before a new sexual encounter
- Whether you use protection and expect your partner to use protection
Answering these questions together can help you understand whether you feel safe and comfortable having sex. In a sense, knowing the answers to these questions is a part of consenting to the sexual experience.
Additionally, talking about your sexual history with a new partner can strengthen future communication. Once you break down the vulnerability barriers, you may feel more comfortable telling your partner you liked or didn’t like something they did during sex.
And notably, discussing your sexual past can reveal red flags you may not have learned about your partner until well into your relationship.
Do I Need To Disclose My Sexual History to My Partner?
Yes, you and your partner should both disclose your sexual histories before having any sexual encounters. Doing so can ensure that you both feel comfortable proceeding and bring any potential health risks out into the open.
What Should I Do if I Don’t Feel Comfortable Talking About My Past Sexual Experiences to My Partner?
If you don’t immediately feel comfortable sharing your sexual history with your partner, that’s okay. However, we do recommend bringing up the topic before you have sex.
To make the discussion a little easier, be sure to talk in a private location and give yourself plenty of time to discuss. If you still don’t feel comfortable, maybe this isn’t the partner for you.
What Should I Do if My Sexual Partner Is Reluctant to Share Their Sexual History?
If your partner doesn’t want to share, try to give them time and space. They may feel more comfortable after spending time with you and having a few other vulnerable conversations. However, if they adamantly refuse to discuss their sexual past, they may have something to hide.
What Info Can I Disclose to My Sexual Partner?
If you’re unsure what information to disclose, here are some right and wrong questions to guide your conversation.
Asking the Right Questions
Here are a few healthy questions to help you and your partner open up about your sexual history:
- What are some of your favorite sexual moments?
- How did your last sexual relationship begin?
- What are some of your turn-ons?
- What have you found attractive about past sexual partners?
- What is your sexual orientation?
Avoiding the Wrong Questions
Here are a few questions you may want to avoid during your discussion:
- How many people have you slept with?
- When’s the last time you slept with your ex?
- Who was the person you enjoyed sex with the most?
Generally, you should avoid any questions that could incite jealousy or anger.
Green Flags to Spot During a Discussion
Before you begin your discussion, you should understand the green flag that indicates a healthy, productive sexual history conversation: emotional safety.
Your sexual partner’s reaction to your sexual history should make you feel safe. You should feel comfortable sharing more information with them and not regret any of the topics you discussed.
Red Flags to Spot During a Discussion
However, sexual history discussions can sometimes produce a few red flags as well. Here are a few signs that the conversation isn’t as productive as it could be:
You should never feel embarrassed talking about your sexual history. Whether you’ve slept with 0 people or 100, your partner should never shame you for your past sexual experiences.
You and your partner should not approach past sexual experiences with an air of pride or try to incite jealousy in the other person.
If you or your partner feel more than a little hurt during the conversation, these emotions could have a deeper underlying cause.
Your partner’s discussion of their sexual history should never make you feel inadequate. The past is the past, but you have the opportunity to explore new sexual experiences with them.
The Importance of Self-Disclosure
Disclosing your sexual history with your new partner can be highly beneficial. This discussion can:
- Help you feel more comfortable and confident moving forward with the relationship
- Ensure that you are aware of any potential consequences of the relationship
- Strengthen trust and communication with your partner
- Help you determine whether to schedule same-day STD testing before or after your sexual encounter
To Sum It Up
Discussing your sexual history with your partner is valuable. However, it never hurts to get an STD test after an experience with a new sexual partner. Learn about the signs that you urgently need STD testing, then schedule a 10-panel STD test through Rapid STD Testing.