Having new sexual partners can be fun and exciting, but it’s important to make responsible decisions. That includes having tough conversations. But luckily for you, September is Sexual Health Awareness Month! What better time to have an open and honest discussion about one of the most crucial aspects of any romantic relationship: sexual health.

Sexual health awareness empowers individuals to make informed decisions about their physical and emotional well-being. It also helps maintain trust and transparency in a relationship, whether long-term or just for the moment.

One of the most essential discussions with a new partner is getting tested for sexually transmitted infections. While this conversation may feel daunting, it’s necessary for any sexual dynamic to keep you and your partner safe. Here are some ways to have the conversation with ease.

Conversations About Getting Tested

Consider Timing

One of the most important aspects about initiating this type of conversation is choosing the best moment. Timing is everything. Avoid discussing this sensitive topic when you or your partner are stressed, tired, or in the middle of an argument. When introducing the conversation, make sure to make it as normal as possible. Begin by stressing that sexual health is a part of responsible adulting. Present the idea of getting tested as something you both do for each other’s peace of mind. Emphasize that it’s not about trust but rather about taking care of each other’s health.

Use “I”

As with any difficult conversation with a partner, using “I” statements is essential. This helps you avoid sounding accusatory. For example, say, “I think it’s important for both of us to get tested” instead of “You should get tested.” Creating a safe space should be one of the top priorities.

Remain Patient and Supportive

Although you are doing your best to create a calm conversation, you should always brace yourself for their reaction. Your partner could be entirely on board, or they could take offense to the conversation and need some time to think. No matter what, you should remain patient and supportive regardless of their initial response.

Respect Your Partner

Respect your partner’s decision, whatever it may be. Whether they agree to get tested immediately or need more time, continue to communicate openly and empathetically about your relationship’s health and well-being. Stand firm on your stance that this is important to you.

Lead With Confidence

Asking your new partner to get tested doesn’t have to be awkward. Remember to embrace it with confidence and compassion, knowing it’s vital to nurturing the dynamic between you.