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Things to Consider Before Entering a Sexual Relationship

When is it safe to engage in a sexual relationship?

This is a tough question with no perfect answer. It's an individual decision, and based on the level of the essential elements of a health relationship including:

  • Honesty
  • Respect
  • Trust and
  • Communication

Some questions to ask yourself . . .

Does each partner: 

  • Care deeply for the other? 
  • Want to cause no harm?

In casual sexual contact studies show that people are often not honest about their sexual history. In casual relationships, people tend to care only about what "I" want and there is often a lack respect, trust, and communication.

STIs

Even in a healthy relationship one (or both) partner(s) may have a "silent" STI

What can you do?

Get to know each other. Ideally abstain - until you are able to follow the guidelines below. Or-use a condom (correctly, every time), although this is not fully protective against some STI's. (See Brief Summary of STI's)

What else can you do?

If either (or both) partner has had previous sexual relationships, that partner should get a thorough STI check. It is important to give an honest sexual history to the care provider. Ask what can and cannot be determined with current testing. Remember, some STI's take time to show up (Ex. HIV - up to 6 months or HPV up to 12 months).

What if one or both partners has an STI?

If it is curable, get treatment. Remember that a sexual partner may also need to be treated. If it is not curable, meet together with a health care provider to discuss symptom treatment and how to protect the other partner.

Then What?

Stay truly monogamous and do not engage in any other risky behaviors.

Remember:

A healthy relationship is key and the ingredients are:

  • Honesty
  • Respect
  • Trust
  • Communication

Also Remember:

  • A healthy relationship takes time
  • Both partners must be willing to work on it
  • You are worthy of a healthy relationship!


Revised April 2005