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Parallax - Advice            April 24, 2000

   Asking the STD 'test question'

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I've started a new relationship with a guy I really like. We've been dating for about a month and I'm ready to have sex with him. I just worry about safety. I think we should get blood tests. I'd like to ask him to do this - we can do it together, but I'm not sure how he'll react. Do you have a good way to approach the subject?

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Her view:

Dear Worried,

I think if you're ready to have sex with this person then you're ready to ask him for a blood test. It's no big deal. In this day and age he'll probably be pretty happy you are asking, as it makes you seem conscientious and safe about your interactions. I'm sure you don't know his entire history and I'm sure he doesn't know the history of all his partners.

My colleague will probably suggest all sorts of delicate ways to elicit the subject and then slip in your question in a very dainty manner. I say you should just ask him directly. One night when the topic of sex comes up as I'm sure it will - just say 'So do you think we should get blood tests? I would feel better if we did.' There, said. He may laugh at first and then I'm sure he'll see it's no big deal and actually makes a lot of sense. Go together and get yours done too - it's only fair.

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His view:

Dear Worried,

How's he going to react? Who cares. You just ask him. He should be as concerned about the issue as you - unless he's an idiot, too macho to admit it, or he forgot to take his common-sense shake that morning. In any case, you still ask.

And don't stop with the tests. Get a full dating and sex (especially the unprotected variety) census, for his last six months. Some diseases have long incubation periods that wouldn't show up in a test if the contagion had occurred recently.

If you absolutely can't ask him now and decide to wait a while before probing, start out with condoms - probably a must anyway unless you're on the pill. Then, when he begins bugging you about the noxious effects of latex on his performance (read: enjoyment), ask him if he's ready to get tested.

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