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You’re really, really trying to be a sexually responsible person. You always use a condom, and you always ask potential new bed buddies if they’ve been tested for STDs recently. But when the answer always seems to be, “Why, yes, I just got tested,” you start to wonder: Is it just a coincidence, or is he a liar whose pants are on fire (maybe due to gonorrhea)?
After reading this scary news about a sharp rise in STDs in Rhode Island, we had to find out what’s going on. We asked some real guys to tell us exactly how often they get tested and whether they have ever lied to a lady about it.
“Truthfully, since I usually find myself in long-term relationships, I get tested at physicals, which happen not that often. But that’s OK since ‘not that often’ is my frequency for sex these days,” confessed one single guy.
“I usually got tested once a year with my annual physical—when I had insurance; sometimes less often because I wasn’t always so diligent about keeping the annual appointments. But I did tend to exaggerate the frequency at which I claimed to be tested from time to time,” said one guy who’s now in a committed relationship.
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“I’ve luckily never had anything, so I haven’t been tested in years. I know, poor form. But I can’t think of a time when a girl has actually asked, 'When was the last time you were tested?,’“ said another guy.
“I got tested annually, unless someone made me uncomfortable. Then I got tested on the spot… I was never asked and never lied; I never started the conversation either,” said a guy who’s now married.
“For testing, I usually go to my primary-care physician and get a full workup; this usually happens every six months. In my life, I’ve probably only been asked a handful of times by my partners about testing,” said another man.
“I’ve been tested once, I want to say about three or four years ago…. I definitely don’t lie to women when they ask if I’ve ever been tested… if I knew I had something but chose not to tell her it could potentially change her entire life and I’d have to live with it for the rest of mine. I can’t recall a girl ever asking how often I get tested though, which is a question I think women should ask more. Men too for that matter; I just realized I never ask how often [the women get tested] either,” said another guy.
Since most women visit the gyno every six to 12 months, whether or not we’re having sex with someone new, getting tested is more a part of our routine. Men, on the other hand, don’t seem to stick to annual physicals, so it’s not surprising that guys don’t get screened as much as women. Sure, they might run to the doctor if something seems off downstairs, but since many STDs are asymptomatic, they probably wouldn’t even know.
So, now that we know STD rates are rising and that guys aren’t getting tested as often as we are, don’t just askif he’s been tested—ask when. “Be soft, but direct in your assertion. Something like, 'Have you been tested recently for an STD?’” says psychologist Daniel Watter. “If not, ask 'Would you be willing?’” he suggests.
“While it may seem a bit awkward to bring it up, we are talking about your health, and some potentially serious health implications,” adds Watter. The sooner you ask, the better—whether it’s over wine and tapas on a third date, or during a walk home before your first sleepover date.
By Michele Laufik
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