3 Ways to Be the Queen of Your Sexual Health
We were inspired by Upspoken Contributor Nadia Caldwell’s recent post about the small steps she is taking to make sure she maintains her Black Girl Magic and puts her health first! To keep our health kick rolling, today we’re talking about how to be the queen 👑 of your sexual health and prevent sexually transmitted infections from ruining your steamy plans. Sexually transmitted infections (a.k.a. STIs) are infections that are passed from one person to another during sex.
STIs are more common than you may think—the CDC estimates that 20 million new infections occur every year in the U.S, and get this: the prevalence of STDs is high for Black women. Last year, the rate of reported chlamydia cases among Black women was 5 times the rate among White women. 👀
Don’t be shook though, you have the power! Upspoken has your back with three things you can do to own your sexual health. Because there’s nothing like getting it on when you know you’ve taken care of yourself.
- Talk with your partner.
Sure, it might be awkward, but it’s important to have an open conversation with your boo about staying safe under the covers. Talking with your boo will help you learn if they have an STI and what to do next. And if you yourself have an STI, make sure you tell your boo before you have sex. Don’t know how to start the conversation? Here are some ideas:
- “Want to make sure we’re on the same page about protection and getting tested for STIs. I was tested a month ago and everything was fine. How about you?”
- “I wanted to tell you I got tested for STIs last month and found out I have chlamydia. My doctor gave me medicine and I should clear up soon, but I wanted to make sure you knew so we can stay healthy.”
- “I haven’t gotten tested in a while. Have you? Do you want to go get tested together?”
- Don’t forget to get tested.
Some STIs are sneaky AF and won’t lead to visible symptoms right away. Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis often go unnoticed and untreated, which can lead to health problems like infertility and increased HIV risk. Luckily, getting tested for STIs is usually free 🙏🏿, takes less than an hour, and takes a huge weight off of your shoulders. All big wins for you and your peace of mind. Seriously, find your closest clinic to get tested. And don’t forget to encourage your boo to get tested, too. If he says he’d rather not, then ask him how he feels about using condoms or if he uses them regularly, so you can make an informed decision and look out for your sexual health.
- Use condoms.
Don’t let anyone try to be slick and say “you can’t catch anything if we just…” Here is the truth: some STIs are transmitted through bodily fluids, like cum, blood, and vaginal fluids. These fluids can carry STIs like syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia, so you need a barrier to stop these fluids from getting to you when you’re in the moment.
Using condoms all the time and the right way creates an important barrier between you and the STIs you didn’t knowingly sign up for. If you need a little refresh, here’s the right way to use a condom.
For more STI prevention resources, visit https://www.cdc.gov/STI/. If you currently have an STI, no sweat. Most can be cured or managed with medicine. Click here to learn about the STIs that don’t have a cure, and how to make living with them easier.