Updated 13 October 2018

Are STDs a deal breaker? This expert weighs in on how to tell her

Here are a few expert tips that will help you break the news to a potential partner so that you don't make STDs a deal breaker.

If you thought the “your friends are annoying and I never want to hang out with them again” conversation was awkward, try telling a potential partner you have an STD.

That confession is never easy, sure. But the shame associated with having an STD makes people less likely to talk about it with former, current, and future partners, finds a new review from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

With the number of sexually transmitted infections in young people increasing by half a million, in the last two years, in Gauteng alone, it’s something to think about… and most definitely talk about, too.

The key to dating again is telling her about it the right way. Here are a few expert tips to help you break the news to a potential partner.

Read more: Why your children should be learning about sex and how Durex is helping them do that

Curable STD? Just delay the deed

“If you just started dating someone and you’re being treated for a curable STD, don’t have sex and don’t bring it up,” says Dr Patrick Wanis, communications expert and relationship therapist. “You’re not out to manipulate her – so if her health isn’t at risk, there’s no need mention it,” he says. “It could lead to unfair judgment for no reason.”

Your move: Say you want to hold off on sex until you know each other better. (Just don’t put yourself in compromising situations – like in her bed after a night of drinking!) And of course, make sure you have the doctor’s OK before doing to the deed.

But if you’re dealing with an incurable STD (herpes, AIDS or hepatitis B, for example), you’ll need to have a talk.

Here’s your plan:

1. Don’t bring it up too soon

Start dating as you normally would. “You wouldn’t reveal everything about yourself on the first date anyway,” says Dr Wanis. After all, there could be no chemistry and she might turn out to be just a friend.

“Once feelings are involved, you don’t want to wait too long,” says Wanis. “It will just make it more difficult if she says it’s a deal-breaker.” Think: Serious enough but not too serious. Just delay the talk (and sex!) until you’re sure it could develop into a relationship.

Related: Can you still have sex after having a heart attack or stroke?

2. How to tell her

State the facts without victimising yourself or being defensive, Dr Wanis recommends. “You’re telling the truth and that’s nothing to be ashamed of.” Being too defensive might increase judgment on her part. It’s not a reflection of who you are so don’t present it as such.

What if she tells her friends? By breaking the news free of shame yourself, she’ll be less likely to tell people with the intention of hurting you if things go sour. That said, “Be prepared that she might go to her friends for advice,” says Dr Wanis.

Read more: This guy discovered that too much drinking could give you an STD

Another good thing to mention: Explain how to reduce transmission. “You need to explain how it will affect your sex life together,” says Dr Wanis. If you have herpes, for instance, you can greatly lower her chances of getting the disease with antiviral medication and condoms. Mention anything specific to your disease that she should know.

3. Give her time

Don’t expect an answer in the moment. “Present the facts, express that you still want to see her, but tell her to think it over,” Dr Wanis says. Any initial reaction will be out of fear or obligation.

Read more: This is exactly how and why you should be having sex like your noisy neighbours

4. Be brief with the details

“People often want the back story,” says Dr Wanis. “But the more details she has, the more she’ll visualise the event.” Keep it brief. Sure, you can admit that it came from an ex, a friend or even that random shot-girl from Cancun – but keep it minimal. She doesn’t need to replay your past in her mind.

This article was originally published on

Image credit: iStock 



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