I will never forget the first time I got tested for sexually transmitted diseases and infections with my lover:
I was 17 years old, in the passionate throes of acute, magnetic, heart-palpitating teenage love. My male partner was pretty cute, too (for a boy, that is). He was pretty like a girl, but a total badass punk rocker with blonde spiky hair and piercing blue eyes. He refused to eat meat and always wore a thrift store leather jacket with sewed band patches.
Since his only means of transportation was his beloved skateboard, we shared an $8.00 taxi ride to the Planned Parenthood on Bleecker Street (so romantic right? A modern teen Manhattan love story).
As I watched the looming, familiar buildings fly past us from the dirty windows of the cab, I was teeming with a stealth supply of jittery nerves. A close friend of mine, Terry*, had revealed to me earlier that week that he was HIV positive.
I never thought HIV could ever even be a possibility for someone my age. I was a totally ignorant teen girl who hadn't been educated beyond the aggressive "DON'T EVER HAVE SEX" mantras that our clueless gym teacher preached to us in "health class" (what a joke).
I didn't know how to be safe. I didn't know the importance of being safe. No one explained what could happen to us if we didn't get tested or use condoms. I thought the worst thing that could happen to me if I had unprotected sex was pregnancy.
I (quite stupidly) didn't think for a meander of a scalding hot second that the condom-free sex I was engaging in with my adorable teen boyfriend could be putting me at risk for HIV and a laundry list of other diseases and infections -- until Terry got a phone call from his ex-boyfriend, who had HIV, urging him to get tested.
I will never forget the fear in Terry’s beautiful seafoam eyes the moment he found out he was positive. He looked so small and alone and terrified. And all of a sudden, reality crystalized in front of my wide-set teen eyes: It didn't matter if you were gay, straight, bisexual, black, white, Spanish or mixed -- HIV doesn't f*cking discriminate. HIV could happen to any of us.
All teenagers have sex despite what the balding conservatives who preach abstinence-only sex education would like you to think (Hey, just because YOU couldn't get laid in high school doesn't mean the rest of shouldn't have access to life saving information). And once both my cutie boyfriend and I got our results (We were both clear!), we fell deeper into the sea of love.
Getting tested together wasn't the scary, sterile experience I had imagined as a kid. It was the opposite.
In fact, my clean bill of sexual health made me feel wildly empowered. And nothing is sexier than an empowered woman who just took the reigns of her sexual health. It made me realize I'm steering the ship on my entire life.
I felt sexier than I ever had before. And by the time I turned 18, the boys (and the girls) took notice. When you feel sexy, confident and healthy, you draw others in with your magnetic prowess. People want to be around you.
So, ladies and gents, here is why getting tested in the sexiest thing you can do:
Because safety is sexy
If you're really going to go for it in the bedroom, it's imperative that you feel safe. It's 100 percent impossible to sexually experiment in all the fabulous kink unless you feel protected in your environment and with your partner. Safety is everything, kittens.
Getting an STD/STI test is the foundation to providing a safe sexual environment for you and your partner. By making your partner and yourself feel safe, you're free to indulge in all the wonderful sexual acts of your dreams without an ounce of fear.
Fear is a sexual buzz kill, my lovelies.
Because it demonstrates that you're not afraid of the truth
There is absolutely nothing sexy about a lie. Brilliant, fierce sex is rooted in complete and utter honesty, in being honest about what really feels good, in being authentically turned-on, in having real, unabashed orgasms and in knowing you are disease-free.
If you're the type of person who flees from the weight of the truth, you're simply not ready to be having mind-blowing sex. In order to have unforgettable sexual experiences, you have to be ready to look the truth dead in the eye.
Because it shows you’re not a selfish lover
Kittens, repeat after me: We do not sleep with selfish lovers, nor do we ever want to be deemed a selfish lover.
Girls and boys as fabulous as us don't settle for the pillow princess starfishes who take, take, take and don't give.
If you get tested, you're demonstrating that you're not a selfish lover. You're saying, "I care about my health, AND I care about your health."
It's a collaboration -- the perfect give and take -- which is precisely what the dynamic of sex should be.
Because a person who takes ownership over his or her sexual health is better in bed
Anyone who can take ownership over his or her sexual health can take ownership when it comes to matters of the bedroom.
Based on my personal sexual experience, the types of girls and boys who regularly get tested for STDS/STIs are just generally better in the sack. It shows they're having regular sex, are wildly responsible and wonderfully experienced.
They know what they're doing when it comes to life and f*cking.
Because getting tested with your partner is a bonding experience that cultivates a better sexual relationship
The bottom line is that couples who get tested together, stay together.
Getting tested is always an intense experience, especially for those of us with big colorful imaginations. We are in a very vulnerable place when we get tested, even if we know we've been safe. I convince myself I have something every time. My brain just goes there.
But getting tested with your partner and holding hands in the waiting room before you get called in to talk to a health professional is a bonding experience like no other.
When my partner sees me vulnerable, it makes our relationship stronger. We have now officially "gone through sh*t together." This deepens our relationship and makes us fall even harder in love.
I've said it before, and I will say it again: There ain’t no sex like LOVE sex.
Because post-tested sex is the new make-up sex
We all love make-up sex after an argument with our significant other. There are so many pent-up emotions that we can’t wait to release in the bedroom.
Well, I thought make-up sex was the best sex, until I had post-testing sex.
When you know you're healthy and can trust your partner, you can really have the guilt-free, fear-free insane hair-pulling, heart-throbbing sex of your dreams.
Because nothing is sexy about giving someone an STD
Yeah, it's not really a sexy conversation to have. Trust me on this one, kittens.
*Name has been changed