Going Deep with Jodie Layne

How to cope with your STI

Having a sexually transmitted infection (STI) doesn’t mean your sex life is over – true story.

I know all of the scary literature and after-school specials have tried to scare you off of having sex by promising the inevitability of getting a devastating STI. You’ll cry, be sad, your genitals will rot, and no one will have sex with you until you inevitably die an early and lonely death. While having an STI is not without its challenges and stigma, it’s not the damning hell you believe it is.

As Lucy expressed in the interview last week, sex is totally still on the table. Even if you’re with a partner who doesn’t have an STI, there are still ways to experience sexual pleasure without transmitting your infection. Here are some tips for safer sex if you do have an STI:

Be in tune with your body and try to be aware of when your symptoms are flaring up. 

Knowing when you’re more at risk of transmitting the infection is important. Being in touch with your body is also kind of a special thing: yes, it sucks to have an infection or an illness, but my own chronic health condition really forced me to slow down, listen to my body, and recognize symptoms and oncoming episodes. Silver linings, y’all.

Realize how you’re at risk of transmitting your infection. 

If you have herpes simplex, stay away from performing oral sex when you’re having an outbreak. Don’t think that you’re not vulnerable because you’re not having penis-in-vagina sex – know that touching your sores or fluids and touching your partner can also transmit an infection, as can using shared toys without protection and/or cleaning. Find some condoms/dams/gloves/other barriers that feel good to use and stock up.

Explore other methods of sexual pleasure that don’t involve penetrative or oral sex. 

Masturbating together or masturbating each other, using toys, watching porn, talking dirty, taking hot pictures, and whatever else your little brain can think of can all bring pleasure without requiring you to so much as touch. In fact, it can help build sexual tension for an even more explosive sexual encounter when you finally are able to do the deed(s).

Talk to a doctor. 

Depending on the type of infection you have, there might be something that can decrease the chance of transmission. If you need a sex-positive, no-shame doctor try Klinic or Nine Circles.

You can confidentially submit a question or topic to jodie.m.w.layne@gmail.com