What You Need To Know About Online Dating When You're Living With An STI
Online dating is responsible for a countless number of relationships, hookups, and the phrase “swipe right.” If entering a new relationship wasn’t awkward enough, it can get much worse for someone when they know they’ll have to eventually have “the talk.” No, not the “birds and the bees” talk — the STI talk.
Dating with an STI may be difficult, but it’s not impossible! When you’re open, honest, and informed, dating can be a fun experience.
1. Disclose when you’re ready (but before you’re sexually active).
You by no means have to disclose your status on the first date, or the second, or the third — disclosing your status should be up to you. However, you have a responsibility to your partner to tell them about your status before engaging in sexual activity.
2. Be open to answering (certain) questions.
Especially for someone who has never been in a relationship with someone with an STI, it can be nerve-racking. Instead of shutting them out or becoming defensive when they ask sincere questions, listen up and provide them with accurate information.
3. Protection, protection, protection!
Regardless of the type of sex you’re having, it’s so important to always use protection. When you and your partner take all necessary precautions (PrEP, condoms, etc.) it is possible for you both to enjoy a happy and healthy sex life.
4. Don’t ever feel like you have to settle.
Everyone deserves to be with someone who makes them happy. It’s important to remember that thanks to advances in drugs, like PrEP, and condoms, the likelihood of contracting an STI when you practice safe sex are very low. This means people are more open than ever to the possibility of dating someone with an STI.
In the words of Kristen Lilla, LCSW, a sex therapist and sexuality educator,
"If someone judges you for having an STI, you deserve to be with someone else who won’t judge you.”