horizontal rule

4. Do not participate in sexual activity until
both you and your partner have been tested for STDs
and have shared the results.

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You've got to just love those Hollywood movies: they meet, the sparks ignite, they kiss, they go to bed. Notice, though, that most of these movies are fiction (and often chick-flicks, go figure!). It's no fun to face consequences to the characters' choices).

We don't want to talk about STDs, even though the consequences of careless behavior can be permanent (such as Gonorrhea, which can cause sterility, or herpes, which will be with you for life). The consequences can even be deadly. While AIDS is not necessarily the death sentence that it once was, no one would volunteer to contract HIV if given a choice.

Many teenage girls don't want to keep a condom in their purses. They believe that, if they do this, they are admitting that 'they planned on having sex.' (They believe this, like it's really a bad thing!) They don't want anything to interfere with the 'spontenaity'. Well, wait a minute! (oh, wait, wait six months!)

Does it ruin the sponenaity just a little bit if you ask this person, this potential partner with whom you are preparing to share the most intimate act, "Do you have herpes?" (or to do the moral thing and volunteer that you have herpes?). On a first date, that might be considered 'too much sharing'.

How can there possibly be too much sharing with someone you're having sex with? Do you know them well enough to love them? If you don't know then well enough to love them, what are you doing, having sex with them?!

It is very important, then, to be comfortable enough with your partner to discuss both STDs and possible pregnancy. (oh, wait: did he tell you he's got a vasectomy, so he doesn't need to use a condom? If you just met, why would you believe that?). If you can't talk about these things, then you're don't have the foundation of trust recommended by this contract to take your relationship to the next level, the sexual level.

You may have noticed, too, that monogamy comes before STD testing. To be completely realistic, it's a commitment to be celibate, no other partners, before the waiting period is up so that any STDs will actually show up. For HIV, this can actually take six months. (so, for instance, you might be trying to argue that your commitment to waiting should only be three months, not six. The consequenses of exposure to HIV might tend to help you decide that, wait a minute, that six month waiting period is looking better all the time!)

Remember, it's not just about the both of you getting tested. It's about both of you sharing the results with one another.

You have the right to know what you may be setting yourself up for. You have a responsibility (as a grown-up) to be forth-coming with anyone that you purport to love.

I hope that you're beginning to see that the tenets of the sexuality contract work together, each contibuting to the other choices, choices that will help you, ultimately, to have the relationship that you want.

Sexuality Contract
Darbie Marlin

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