Unsolicited advice: Lean into the awkwardness and get tested

Throughout the highs and lows of my own sexual health, getting tested was never something I wanted to bring up. I felt like asking someone about whether or not they were “clean” was passing judgement on their sexual practices and also killed the mood.

Only after I had to take some unpleasant antibiotics and endure an involuntary week of celibacy did I realize that asking someone when they were last tested wasn’t passing judgement — it showed I cared about mine and my partner’s sexual health and that I wasn’t afraid to kill the mood a bit in order for both of us to feel more comfortable.

I get it, getting tested isn’t glamorous. It’s a lot like taking out the trash: annoying and inconvenient, but things could start to smell if you don’t do it regularly. Because most STIs don’t present symptoms for a long time — if ever — getting tested between each and every partner is the best way to keep yourself and others safe. Take a deep breath, have the conversation and go from there. If someone is angry or flippant that you brought it up, they’re not someone you should be sharing your body with in the first place.