Normalising the conversation: Safe sex & STD checks *

September is sexual health awareness month and to honor the importance to sexual health awareness and in a bid to normalise the conversation and help end the stigma around sex, sexual health and STD’s, I’m going to be talking about safe sex and the importance of looking after your sexual health – which is something I’ve never spoken about on my blog before. Arguably, I could be one of those people contributing towards the stigma by never talking about it before on my platform that has reaches over 10,000 people a month so I think that’s all the more reason to step out of my comfort zone and actually contribute towards a more healthy attitude towards safe sex and sexual health. Phew that was a bit of a mouthful of an opening *pun intended*

Image Credit

I’m obviously not going to go into any details in this post but I do want to actually start a conversation. I was never given “the talk” from my parents about sex and sex education in my school was something to be desired (as I’m sure it is in most schools, frustratingly). I learnt everything I know through… trial and error? Is that the right phrase? Probably not but I was never sat down and taught anything, I just learnt through experience and as I grew up and became sexually active.

And really, that’s not the way to do it, is it? I wish I’d had that proper talk, that proper education and those proper lessons but alas, that wasn’t to be in my case. I first became sexually active fairly young – probably because from a fairly young age, I had a huge group of friends, who had older friends and we would all hang out together in the town of a weekends. Reaching up to 50 people some days. There was a lot of us, a lot of guys, a lot of gals and a lot of relationships, tension, crushes, you name it and it was happening somewhere in our group.

In full transparency, my first time sucked and I wish I had waited. I’ve never done anything I regret, sexually but I do with some things had gone a little differently. I’ve visited a sexual health clinic and the doctors a number of times for various things, including contraception, STD checks and various other things that needed to be sorted. I know how nerve-wracking it can be to talk about things which seem so private. Here are some tips for if you’re nervous about going to a clinic or the doctors about anything to do with sexual health:

  • Get an appointment at a time where the clinic or the doctors won’t be as busy
  • Take someone with you (a parent, if you feel comfortable or a friend if not)
  • Practice breathing techniques if you’re feeling particularly anxious
  • Take some water with you to sip on so you stay hydrated and feel well
  • Remember that the doctor or nurse you’re speaking to has heard it all before (and heard worse!)
  • It’s always better to get something checked and sorted than to not – so consider it an act of self care!

It’s really important to get anything unusual checked out and anything that doesn’t feel “normal” to you. Because most STD’s can be treated fairly easily! Any persistent itching, stinging or burning. Any rashes, lumps, bumps or growths. Or if you know you’ve recently had unprotected sex and something doesn’t feel quite right – it’s always better to be safe! You should always be tested regularly if you have sex with multiple people and even if you don’t, it’s always worth both you and your partner to be checked every so often.

Get checked with STD Check

With other 4,500 centers across the country (this service is currently only available in the US unfortunately but there will be plenty of alternatives for UK / European folk) you can find a suitable lab near you to make it as quick and effortless as possible. All you have to do is:

  1. Order your test/s online or by calling 1-800-456-2323
  2. Visit your appropriate center and have your tests done in just 5 minutes, FDA-approved, confidential with same-day testing available.
  3. Get your results within 2 days by email, so no having that scary trek to the doctors to find out your results

STD check are a convenient way for people on the go to get checked and stay on top of their sexual health. With so many clinics available and same-day testing, it’s ideal to slot into your daily routine and the quick results means not having the worry of waiting – which I think we can all agree is incredibly nerve-wracking.

Did you get a good sexual health education? Do you think it should be taught more in schools?

* This post is sponsored by STD Check
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55 thoughts on “Normalising the conversation: Safe sex & STD checks *

  1. This is a great post Jenny, the perfect way to help break the stigma. I had very limited sex ed in school, basically coming to the conclusion of “look how gross these STIs are you better not have sex”. The contraception lesson was pretty much just a list of different things, and I distinctly remember not even hearing about what I use now. Don’t get me started on the lack of LGBT stuff for a kid who was starting to think about her sexuality. Hopefully things are starting to change though, at least the internet is an educator.

    Megan // http://pixieskiesblog.wordpress.com

  2. I got next to nothing with regards to sex education. My mom never had ‘the talk’ with me either. So I learnt the hard way. I have made sure that my children, the youngest being 15, the eldest is 25 this year, had a completely different view of sex. None of them were embarrassed to talk to either me or their dad about sex. It’s talked about very openly and comfortably in our house. I definitely think more should be done regarding sex education. 🙂 x

  3. I think I was very lucky – my mum was very open and happy to talk!
    I think it helped that there was a local charity set up specifically for teens with volunteers/workers in their early twenties who chatted to you about it all too – much easier than sitting in front of a Dr in their 50s trying to chat about it without burning up from embarrassment.
    Cora | http://www.teapartyprincess.co.uk

  4. yesss this is so important and it’s so foolish how some people think it’s morally wrong to talk about this!I’m so glad someone influential like you is talking about this.xx

  5. Definitely a good message!! Does anyone really have “the talk”?? Is there such a thing? I thought that was just in funny family tv shows. 😂 My family had a “don’t ask, don’t tell” closed mouthed policy… I still remember my days of underaged drinking where I would come home reeking of malt liquor and be literally CRAWLING up the stairs and my mother would catch me and say “…. You look tired. You should go to bed”… So, “trial and error” is a good phrase for it! 😂😂

  6. I remember lessons at school were fairly useful in comparison to what other people had but I think it’s so great that nowadays there is such a great online presence of this topic and even now I’m still learning so much more information that I wasn’t taught at school!

  7. Sex education at my school was horrendous – I think the only thing we did was look at photos of STI’s and watch the teacher put a condom on a banana…very helpful…not! I didn’t have sex until I was nearly 17, but I new how it all worked from being about 10; my mum let me read her Martina Cole books, which probably wasn’t the best parenting idea she’s ever had haha then again, I learnt a lot from them so I shouldn’t complain too much!

    It’s such an important subject to talk about though! I had a test done when I found out my ex had been cheating on me; I didn’t find it embarrassing as such, but I was a little uncomfortable about it all. Hopefully normalising the subject and opening up dialogs about it will help other people feel more comfortable getting checked 🙂 xxx

    Jade | jademarie.co.uk

  8. I was actually quite lucky to have sexual health education in year 5 and then a more detailed version in year 7 Biology! However, it was never about getting tested, which I think is something that really needs to be pushed. Honestly, the more people talk about sex, the more we reduce the stigma. I’ve always wanted to talk about it on my blog but it’s very awkward knowing that my parents are avid readers haha

    Jas xx | https://thoughtsfromjasmine.co.uk

  9. this is such an important post! you wrote it so well with great resources! it’s so important to get checked regarding your sexual health. we go to the doctors for every other type of check up, sex is a natural part of life. making sure you have good sexual health is just as important as making sure you go to dentist! really great post xx

    mich // simplymich.com

  10. Good post and a good way to bring some awareness to the subject that so many avoid! Sex Ed in schools is so standard in my opinion and needs to have more of a focus! Interesting read, thanks!

  11. Great post! I think there definitely needs to be less of a stigma around sex and sexual health, as long as someone is being safe and honest with their partners there should be no issue! Thanks for sharing your experience and giving some tips! xx

  12. What a great blog post! I love it!

    On Tuesday, in one of my classes(a fun group self improvement/counseling seminar)the subject was Sex, experiences, and stuff of that nature. And during the discussion of STD’s one of the students said, ” I don’t need to get std checked because no one in my group of friends has any and our circle is small.”

    THEN
    Someone agreed! The same with theirs!

    I was shocked at this.
    I said, “You could have one right now without even knowing it!”

    Even if you have no signs, but regularaly sleep with new partners, or even the same casual partners, get checked! You don’t know who they’re sleeping with, even if they say!

    A lot of people don’t disclose that kinda stuff out of embarrasment.

    Spreading awareness is so crucial. And me too, I never got the talk. There’s this awkwardness, or avoidance, with a lot of people when it’s such a natural thing.

    Sex, STD’s, is a crucial subject that needs to be addressed with your kids. I feel like a lot of parents think their kids will learn about sex through school. Or teachers. Even if they do still talk with them. It could have been ludicrous information. This shouldn’t be the norm! This is how STD’s are caught and unplanned pregnancies.

    Seriously take the time to explain the stuff to your kids that schools don’t.

    Good post 💕👍

    Nicole
    Reli Clothing
    https://ReliClothing.com

  13. Great post Jenny, sex shouldn’t be an awkward subject so well done for discussing it so openly on your blog. I vaguely remember sex ed was putting a condom on a banana at school 😂. I think a lot of my early sex education came from J17, Sugar and Bliss magazine. Thank you for sharing such an important post ❤ xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

  14. Well done on such an important post, I’m sure it will be very useful for a lot of people to hear! I remember briefly being taught it in school but not too much – doesn’t help that I went to a religious school.

  15. Excellent post Jenny! I definitely think this is a topic that deserves more attention and that the stigma around it should be broken down as much as possible. Sex is something most people enjoy doing, and keeping ourselves healthy is so important. Our school was okay with sex ed, but there were a lot of things we weren’t really given enough information about. I’d also never have felt comfortable to ask my parents which is sad. I hope as a society we can move forward and stop feeling so ashamed about sex!
    Beth x Adventure & Anxiety

  16. This is such an important post and it was so refreshing to read. There should definitely be more conversation around this topic, we got told basic things in school but there should be so much more discussion. Not everyone has someone like their parents who they feel comfortable talking to about it! Xxx

    Tiffany x http://www.foodandotherloves.co.uk

  17. This post is so important! Good for you, Jenny, for speaking out and not being afraid. As I think I’ve said before, I was homeschooled/went to an online school, and so I think that really contributed to having really poor sex ed. My parents and I never had “the talk,” and what I learned from school was pretty much the basics that were in my health book. So, overall, it was all a very awkward and a not very well-informed experience.

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