If you have been out of the dating world for a while and are venturing back in (as I highly recommend!), there are some tricky things to navigate. I am not talking about the actual process of dating, which can in itself be dicey. The really tricky bit is about STIs and the fact that you can’t just have sex and have fun. You actually have to be a responsible adult and practice safe sex. And this is something that women of a certain age are not necessarily thinking about… Buzz kill. I know!
According a relatively recent article in the Globe and Mail, “the wide-ranging study of the sexual health, attitudes and behaviors of 2,400 Canadians between the ages of 40 and 59 found that the single among them rarely use condoms, even as many are now having sex with multiple partners. Condom use, the researchers discovered, declines with age – even if sex doesn’t.” Ahhhhh! Don’t do this ladies. You HAVE to use condoms even though you have two eggs left. It sucks that you have to do this, but you HAVE TO DO THIS.
Some tips for your consideration:
- Get tested. Regularly. Most STIs don’t have symptoms. If you are sexually active and not in a monogamous relationship, the recommendation is to get tested every six months. Do it (I did just this week!). It’s fairly easy to find a discrete, walk-in clinic, that can usually turn around the results in 24-48 hours. The process will involve peeing in a cup, having your blood drawn and swabbing inside your cervix. Most insurance plans will pay for these tests. My full screening cost a $20 co-pay.
- When you have a new partner, have a conversation about sexual health. Ask if they have ever been screened for STIs. In this day and age, swapping test results is not that big of a deal. And then still use a condom!
- Oral sex… nearly 95% of women say they do not use condoms during oral sex, but the fact is that chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis can absolutely be contracted from giving a blow job. Sorry. Take a B.J. University class and learn some techniques that will drive him wild – even with a condom!
- Do some experimenting with different types of condoms to make sure you have a brand that you feel good about putting in your body (no parabens, glycerine or spermicide). My favorite is Sir Richards which I keep stocked in my goody drawer in several different sizes. You never know!
As a single 40-50-something woman you are plenty old enough to be responsible for your own health. And as much as you don’t want to think about your sexual health, you must. Have conversations. Get tested. Use condoms. And have lots of fantastic safe sex!!
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