The Safer Sex Conversation

21st October 2019

I learnt this format via ISTA, and I now consider such a conversation essential before connecting intimately with someone. The text below is based on this PDF by Crystal Dawn Morris.

Ideally, you have the conversation prior to finding yourselves in a sexually-charged situation.

  1. Testing, results and risky behavior since last results
  2. Gender and sexual identity
  3. Relationship status and agreements; monogamy, celibacy, poly
  4. Contraception and pregnancy concerns
  5. Sexual desires and healthy boundaries
  6. What would it mean to you emotionally if we connected sexually?

1. “The last time I was tested for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) was…”

  • “The tests I had done were…”
  • “The results of those tests were…”
  • Share any risky activities you may have experienced since you were last tested

A comprehensive STI panel consists of: HIV, Syphilis (Rapid Plasma Reagin test), Oral Herpes (HSV-1), Genital Herpes (HSV-2), HPV, Gonorrhoea (genital and oral), Chlamydia (genital and oral), Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. Female testing usually includes a Pap Smear and wet mount, to check for other common vaginal infections.

2. “My gender identity is…” “My sexual orientation is…” (Straight, Gay, Bi …)

3. “My relationship status is…” (Single. Dating. Living with a lover. Married. In an open relationship with one or more people. Fluid-bonded with one or more people.) “My current relationship agreements that you need to be aware of are…”

4. “My safer-sex practices and/or boundaries are…” “I use … to prevent unwanted pregnancies. If an unplanned pregnancy happened I would like to …”

5. Discuss what sexual activities you are open to explore at this time and what is off the menu. Share your desires, fears and “healthy boundaries.”

Healthy boundaries allow you feel safe and stay open, they are dynamic and can expand as well as contract. Remember that intimacy grows when you stay present, authentic and communicate clearly using “I”-statements (“I think…”, “I feel…”, “I want…”)

The Wheel of Consent can be helpful here:


6. “My emotional desires after sexually engaging are …”

Then ask the other person, “How about you?” Listen closely to what they say and how they say it… Ask questions, if you need clarification.