It is important to have conversations with your partner about safer sex and healthy relationships, but that can be a lot easier said than done. Worried about how your new or existing guy is going to react? You’re not alone, many men have those fears. Check out the advice below from other men on how to make these conversations work. These are just suggestions collected from some gay and bisexual men.
It can be awkward!
Yeah, you’re right it can be awkward sometimes. Try to approach the situation with confidence. Chances are if you’re confident and bring it up without judgment, your partner will be open to the discussion. For all you know, he could be just as worried as you to bring it up. Just remember, nearly everyone who is having sex will have this conversation at some point, and many other guys before you have already done it.
Here are some tips that other guys have found helpful in having these conversations:
- Don’t wait until the heat of the moment to start talking about HIV. It’s better to talk about it earlier rather than later—certainly before you have sex.
- Some men who are living with HIV have suggested that it helps to talk about their status earlier in the relationship rather than later. Disclosing you are HIV-positive after you’ve become close to someone can cause your partner to feel as though you have kept something important from him.
- If you’re looking for a way to start talking, show him this web page. Watch the videos together, talk about the campaign and use it as a way to start the conversation. Approaching the conversation this way doesn’t make it sound like you don’t trust him, but rather you’ve been reading about it, heard about it, were talking to a friend who brought it up, etc., and because you care, you want to make sure you’re both protected.
- Don’t force it. Find the right time and place to have a conversation. You can schedule a time to talk or have spontaneous conversations in a setting where you are comfortable.
- Try scheduling regular check-ins, or ‘talkiversaries.’ The key to a healthy relationship is having an open dialogue throughout the relationship. It can be hard to find the right time to bring these things up. If you agree to schedule them in advance, no one has to wonder about the timing of the conversations.
- A conversation does not have to be face-to-face. Whether you talk, type, or text what is important is that you start the conversation about HIV.
With all that in mind check out the conversation starters below organized by topic: