Challenging the Stigma: Talking About STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections) Openly

We can all agree that sex is a fantastic part of life, and having a healthy sex life is important for our overall well-being. However, with all the fun and games comes a great deal of responsibility, and a crucial part of that responsibility is taking care of your sexual health – this includes getting tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) regularly.

The word “STI” can feel heavy, and talking about it can be awkward. But here’s the thing: STIs are incredibly common, and they’re nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, open communication about sexual health, including STI testing, is essential for maintaining healthy relationships and a fulfilling sex life.


Here’s why talking about STIs shouldn’t be a turn-off:

  • It’s Responsible: Just like you wouldn’t share your toothbrush, you wouldn’t want to share something that could potentially impact your partner’s health. Open communication about sexual history and STI testing shows respect and care for your partner’s well-being.
  • It’s Empowering: Knowledge is power! Getting tested and knowing your status means taking control of your sexual health. This allows you to make informed decisions about your sex life and protect yourself and your partner(s) in future engagements.
  • It’s Normal: STIs are more prevalent than you might think. This is why you should always practice safe sex and open communication with your sexual partners – to ensure you remain STI-free.

Communicating with Your Partner

So, how do you actually bring up the topic of STIs with your partner? Here are some tips to help you get the conversation started:

  • Choose the right timing: Don’t spring it on them right before getting intimate. Talking about genital herpes during foreplay is a sure-fire way to kill the mood. So, pick a relaxed moment when you can have a conversation without distractions. The same applies to any sensitive discussion.; For example, if you want to introduce sex toys into your relationship but you aren’t sure if your partner will be receptive, be sure to find an appropriate time to broach it.
  • Be open and honest: Let them know you care about your sexual health and theirs. Explain why getting tested is important to you and the relationship. If they respond poorly to your honesty, then consider it a red flag and go your separate ways.
  • Normalize it: Frame it as a routine part of sexual health maintenance, just like brushing your teeth or getting a check-up at the doctor.

Here’s a conversation starter you can use:

“Hey, I’ve been thinking a lot about our sexual health, and I was wondering if you’d be open to getting tested for STIs together? It’s important to me to make sure we’re both healthy.”

Finding Confidential and Affordable Testing

Testing doesn’t have to be expensive or inconvenient. Here are some resources that can help:

  • Sexual health clinics: Many clinics offer confidential and affordable (and often free) STI testing. You can find a clinic near you with a quick online search.
  • Home testing kits: These kits allow you to test yourself in the privacy of your own home. While not all STIs can be diagnosed with home tests, they can be a convenient option for some.
  • Your doctor: Your GP can also test you for STIs during a routine check-up.


There’s no shame in getting tested. In fact, it’s the responsible and sexy thing to do! By prioritizing communication and taking control of your sexual health, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable sex life for yourself and your partner/s.


Bonus Tip: Adult stores that specialize in sexual well-being often have resources and information about sexual health, including STI testing. These stores can be a great starting point for learning more and finding reputable testing options.

Remember, a healthy sex life is a happy sex life!