How to Talk about Testing

New lovers are so fun but so tricky. You’re trying to figure out if they *actually* like you, and then there’s the physical stuff: holding hands becomes a first kiss, clothes come off, you’re sleeping over…

Before things get too hot and heavy, it’s a good idea to have the talk. Yep, the talk — the one where you learn about past sexual history and when they last got tested for STIs.

This may sound like an insanely awkward convo, but in general, women are unfazed. Over 60% of women discuss past sexual histories before sleeping with their partner, and almost 20% of women require their partner to get tested before sex, according to polls in Glow Community.

These women are wise: Recall that 1 in 3 Americans currently has a sexually transmitted infection (STI). And STIs can be transmitted via a number of intimate situations; they’re different than pregnancy, so they’re not limited to P-in-V sex!

No matter how cringe-worthy it is to bring up STIs, it’s way better than freaking out because you don’t know your partner’s status. So, how do you float the topic without killing the mood? A few ideas:

Setting Matters

Find a private spot for the conversation — your place, their place, maybe even in bed! Feeling a sense of privacy will help both of you feel comfortable opening up. Definitely avoid bars, restaurants, and other public places; the last thing you want is an interruption (or an eavesdropper)!

Say You Like Them

Real talk: It’s 100% amazing to hear your someone say that they’re into you! Why not give that gift to your crush? If you’re feeling good about how things are going, say it out loud. It’s a sure way to get your crush smiling. It’s also a natural lead-in to talking about how things have been heating up — a fact that you should both pause to acknowledge.

Float the Topic

Your crush is going to feed off your energy, so why not keep it light-hearted? Here are a few lines you can experiment with, depending on your style:

The Cool Cucumber: “Hey, tell me about your last relationship!”

The Smarty Pants: “Just want to make sure we’re being smart how we proceed here…when was the last time you got tested?”

The Clean Machine: “I’m clean and I’m planning on keeping it that way so…anything I should know about?”

The Popular Girl: “A friend of mine got an STD recently, so I’m trying to be extra careful moving forward. When was the last time you got tested?“

The Holiday Lover: “In honor of STI awareness month, tell me about last time you got tested!”

Being casual about whichever line you choose sets the expectation that the convo is totally and completely normal. And initiating in general shows that you’re a total badass and not afraid to break the ice with hard Qs. People find that kind of thing unbelievably hot :)

The T Word

Your crush might give you tons of details on past sexual partners and testing, but if they don’t, it’s fair game to be direct. Choosing to intertwine your bodies means choosing to intertwine your health, and you have a right to know what you’re getting into!

If your crush is super experienced with the testing process, then they’ll know the drill. If it’s someone who’s unfamiliar with the process, this is your opportunity to be supportive and show what you know. You can tell them to talk to their doctor, or just order an STI test online and get tested at home! There are a few different at-home STI testing services — myLAB Box is our favorite.

Lead By Example

If you really want to be a leader, you can get tested before you even initiate the conversation. Doing this shows that you take testing seriously, and that you’re more than willing to meet halfway. Having your free-and-clear test results in hand puts you in a great position to open up a discussion about sexual health.

These are hard convos to have, but obviously you’re going to rock it. Best of luck, heart eyes! See you on the other side ;)