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Questions You Should Ask Every New Intimate Partner

4 min read

By Catherine Roberts

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Andrea Eisenberg, MD

Getting intimate with a new partner can be incredibly exciting, but it can also be a little scary. That’s because there are a number of potentially hidden health threats to consider when beginning any new and intimate relationship.

To make sure your new relationship unfolds in a safe and healthy way, you need to ask your partner a series of very important questions. The key is to ask these queries up front and to make your decision on moving forward after carefully considering the answers you receive…

Have You Ever Tested Positive for HIV or AIDS?

This is a hugely important question to ask. The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (or HIV), which can be transmitted through sexual intercourse, invades your T-cells, which help you fight infections and disease. Over time, HIV can actually prevent your body from preventing those infections, leaving you extremely vulnerable.

AIDS, or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, is even more serious. In fact, it’s technically the final stage of an HIV infection, meaning those with it have badly damaged immune systems and struggle to deal with even the most basic infections. HIV and AIDS are serious sexually transmitted infections, which is why it’s so important to ask your partner about them before having sex.

Have You Ever Tested Positive for a Sexually Transmitted Disease?

This is an important question, since many sexually transmitted diseases (or STDs) cannot be easily cured. This includes hepatitis, HIV, AIDS, and herpes. In addition, it’s worth noting that many sexually transmitted diseases, such as HPV and herpes, can take hold without the infected person knowing they carry these STD’s.

It’s crucial to get tested regularly because many STDs have serious health consequences. Furthermore, it can be very easy to acquire a sexually transmitted disease, particularly when visiting parts of the world where there is less STD awareness and education.

How Many Sexual Partners Have You Had Since You Were Last Tested?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all adults and adolescents aged 13 to 64 be tested at least once for HIV. Sexually active women under the age of 25 are encouraged to undergo regular testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea, especially if they’ve had sex—even protected sex—with someone who has previously been infected.

In addition, all sexually active men and women should be tested at least once a year for syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and other STDs. Testing is particularly important for anyone who has engaged in unprotected sex with a new partner or has shared injection drug equipment.

Do You Have Issues Using Condoms?

It’s not really a secret that many people don’t like using condoms. For many sexually active people, the feeling of using a condom is far different when compared to unprotected sex. This issue can become a problem for couples and can lead to serious arguments that threaten to derail a relationship.

If that’s the case, it’s best to have the conversation before entering the bedroom. Talk to a prospective sexual partner about their attitude towards condom use. This can be a proactive and an effective way of preventing unexpected pregnancy and a sexually transmitted disease.

Do You Have a Latex Allergy?

Some people can’t use condoms—which can effectively prevent pregnancy and reduce one’s risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted disease—because of a serious allergy to latex. It’s not yet known why people have this allergy or how it develops, but recent studies have shown that between 5- and 10-percent of healthcare workers have some kind of allergy to latex.

People with bone marrow problems, bladder or urinary tract issues, asthma, or other serious allergies are at an increased risk of developing latex allergy. It’s worth asking your partner about their ability to use condoms before entering the bedroom for the first time.

Are You Taking Birth Control?

Although condoms are an effective way to prevent pregnancy, there are other birth control methods that are more effective. That’s why new sexual partners should ask if their partner is using something for birth control, such as the pill or patch or IUD or implant in the arm, before having sex for the first time.

There are a number of different types of birth control medication. Many vary in their effectiveness and their impact on the physical and emotional health of the people taking them. That’s why it’s important to ask about your partner’s birth control approach and how they find it affects their day-to-day lives.

Have a Frank and Open Discussion

Sex is an important part of most romantic relationships. That’s why it’s critical to talk to your new partner about what makes them comfortable and uncomfortable during sex.

For both men and women, it’s important never to assume you know what your sexual partner wants. Understand that every person is different and that you will need to have a mature discussion with each new partner prior to becoming intimate. Otherwise, you could be putting yourself and your new partner in emotional or even physical danger or discomfort.

MD, Obstetrics and Gynecology

Andrea Eisenberg, MD is a board certified OB/GYN in the Metro Detroit area. She has dedicated her life to caring for women through all stages of their lives -- from adolescence, to delivering babies, and later into menopause. Her special interests include minimally invasive surgeries, adolescence, family planning, infertility, and menopause. In her spare time she writes about the human side of medicine on her blog and has several essays published in a variety of journals. To decompress, she enjoys trail running and baking.

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