Saturday, February 13, 2010

Third Date Conversation

For most people with incurable-yet-not-deadly STDs, (like genital herpes or genital warts) symptoms of the infection are really not the troublesome part, believe it or not. The hard part is having to tell new sex partners about what they've got. I call this conversation the Third Date Conversation.

Time is of the Essence
"Third date" is a euphemism for the time in a new relationship when sex is imminent. You've made out a little, you've had dirty thoughts, copped a feel here and there, and you're ready to rip that sexy creature's clothes off and chow down. Sometimes this happens 45 minutes after meeting, sometimes it takes months or even years.

The actual # date is not the point. The point is that you hold off a little to let your date actually get to know you, so they can decide if sleeping with you is worth the risk to them. If you go out on one date with someone and it doesn't work out, they really don't need to know you have an STD. By the same token, though, you can't hold off so long that a) they're all in love with you, or b) you end up naked without having talked about it.

Take home message: have this conversation BEFORE nakedness commences.

Location, Location, Location
This should go down (no pun intended) in a neutral place, somewhere that both people can comfortably leave and go back to their own space if anyone needs to mull things over before continuing. Not in someone's bedroom when you're half-naked and horny and your sexy bits have partial control of your brain. I think that in cars and on quiet walks are excellent venues.

Talking Points
The best thing a person with an STD can do to make this conversation go well is to know what you're talking about. Know what you have, what it does, how it works, and what the risks to a partner are. Know how to help prevent transmission and how effective those prevention methods are, and where your partner can get tested.

Most importantly, let the person know that you're telling them because you respect them and care about their well-being - it's true, and it keeps things in perspective. And remember, if you need some of this info, the Answerbox is chock full of it!

There's no point in sugarcoating it...sometimes, this conversation will end a new relationship, full stop. It's just the way the world works. But do you know what? Some people WILL think you're worth the risk. They'll find your respect and willingness to make yourself vulnerable to be sexy and irresistible. And when that does happen, you know you've got someone who's interested in more than just a roll in the hay. These STDs complicate sex lives, but they don't have to end them!

Look, I know that having this conversation is hard, no matter how prepared you are for it. It puts people in an extremely vulnerable position at an already stressful time in a relationship. What I will say though, is that the chances of the conversation going the way you want it to are exponentially better if you bring it up before putting your partner at risk. In my experience, it's not STDs themselves that drive people apart - it's LYING about it.

Finally, I want to commend - HARD - all the people out there who have taken responsibility and had this difficult talk, no matter when in a relationship it happened. Your partners are lucky to have you, and I'm pretty glad there are folks like you out there, too.


  1. Super true!! As a herpie girl I have had this convo with everyone I have slept with before taking the plunge, except for one. Every single one of them said I was worth it and was willing to take the risk for me -- except for the one whom I told after the fact. That was the last time I ever saw him, it totally broke my heart, and I don't blame him one bit. Honesty is sexy. Dishonesty = NOT HOT.

  2. I have to say that I had a guy bust that conversation out within 15 minutes of starting our first date... WAY too soon!