How To Ask A New Partner If They Have An STI (Without It Being Weird) – Part 1

We get it: No one likes to talk about sexually transmitted infections. If things are getting hot and heavy, nothing tosses a bucket of cold water over a sexual encounter quite like saying “STI.”

But in the age of super gonorrhea, it’s super important we have these conversations. Last year, we heard the first reports of super gonorrhea, a strain of the disease so gnarly it’s resistant to the antibiotic drugs usually prescribed to treat it. Oh, joy.

That’s not the only STI you have to worry about. The U.S. has the highest STI rates in the industrialized world, and it’s only getting worse. Nearly 2.3 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis were diagnosed in the U.S. in 2017, surpassing the record set in 2016 by more than 200,000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in August. (FYI: We’re using STI here as opposed to STD because not all sexually transmitted infections turn into a disease.)

“It’s scary because a shockingly high percentage of Americans know little, if anything, about STDs and STIs,” said Robert Huizenga, a physician and the author of “Sex, Lies and STDS.” “Few people have any idea what early STD symptoms to look out for, even if symptoms do occur, because many STDs present with no symptoms.”

How are we going to get our abysmal STI rates down if we don’t feel comfortable talking openly and honestly about our sexual health with our partners?

Part of the blame for the uptick in STIs lies in our incredibly lax use of contraceptives. A 2017 National Health Statistics Report found that condom use in the U.S. has declined among sexually active young people, with many opting to use the pullout method instead.

The rate of men who say they use withdrawal ― pulling out a partner’s vagina before ejaculating ― increased from about 10% in 2002 to 19% by 2015, according to a recent study published by the National Center for Health Statistics.

Half-assed methods of protection aside, we’re also dealing with a lack of transparency and conversation about STIs. How are we going to get our abysmal STI rates down if we don’t feel comfortable talking openly and honestly about our sexual health with our partners?

Ideally, your new S.O. or hookup buddy will alert you to any hiccups in their sexual history before you have to bring it up. (If you have an STI, we wrote a very helpful primer on how to tell your partner about it, which you can read here.)

But in the event that they don’t, it’s 100% worth speaking up. Below, sexual health educators share their best advice on how to broach the subject in a way that isn’t a total mood killer.

Ideally, bring it up before things start to heat up.

If you have the luxury of time ― say, you’ve been dating this person for a bit and have yet to have sex ― have this convo before you get naked. Avoid any potential awkwardness by employing the “sandwich method” of communication: Share something positive about your budding relationship, then share something you’re worried about (cough, cough STIs), then follow it up with another positive.

“Maybe you start by telling them how much you like them,” said Janet Brito, a psychologist and sex therapist at the Center for Sexual and Reproductive Health in Honolulu. “Then, say something like ’I really value our relationship, and want to take it to the next level. Do you, too?’”

If they agree, say something like, “Great … I’m a little nervous about having this conversation, but maybe we should talk a little bit about our sexual health, like when was the last time we each were tested?”

Don’t end the train of thought there, though. “Tell them, ‘The last thing I want to do is to kill the mood in the moment. I find you really attractive and really want to do this.’” Brito suggested.

At this point, hopefully, the rest of the conversation will be smooth sailing.

Go into the conversation with this mindset: STIs are incredibly common, so avoid shame-filled language when you bring it up.

If we talk about STIs at all, it’s usually as the punchline for a stupid joke or headlines about “herp alerts at Coachella.” The jokes and puns not only stigmatize those with STIs, they downplay how incredibly common the infections are.

More than one in six adults in the U.S. are living with herpes, according to the CDC, and one in two sexually active persons will contract an STI in their lifetime.

With that knowledge, broach the conversation without using shame-filled language, said Boston sex educator Aida Manduley.

“Asking your partner ‘are you clean?’ shames people for getting infections,” she said. “Regardless of why or how they got infected, STI stigma is terrible for public health.”

Instead, Manduley recommends saying something like, “I’m so ready to have sex with you, and I want to figure out what type of protection we should use before we start!”

“These conversations don’t have to be super serious and sterile,” she said. “Feel free to make them juicy, weird, funny, whatever works for you. And if you’re nervous, practice beforehand so it sounds more natural in the heat of the moment.”

 

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If Your Relationship Is Suffocating, You’ll Notice These 7 Signs

Romantic relationships can be difficult at times. Occasionally, your relationships might require some mediation, a little bit of trial and error, and a lot of communication to work things out. This especially can be the case after the honeymoon phase, or as you and your partner face life changes. However, romantic relationships shouldn’t feel like a burden or heavy obligation. And you definitely shouldn’t feel as if your relationship is suffocating you.

Here are seven red flags you’ll notice if your relationship is suffocating you — and seven signs it’s time to talk things through with your partner (or, honestly, break up!).

1. YOUR SO TEXTS YOU… NON-STOP

Nikita Sursin / Stocksy

A 2019 study by Typing.com surveyed 1,000 people — women, men, married and unmarried, those in long-distance relationships and not, — about their digital communication habits with their SOs. Among other tidbits, researchers found that about six text messages in a row is the point where most people feel their partner is too “clingy” or “needy.” Whatever that number might be for you, a partner who texts you incessantly might make you feel stifled by the relationship.

As relationship expert Susan Winter put it, “Having someone to check in with throughout the day can feel great, but constantly having your phone bombarded with texts and notifications from your (new) bae can start to feel like a bit much.” Moreover, Winter said, if your partner gets upset any time you want to take space, then that’s reflective of some seriously controlling tendencies.

Your partner might explain away their behavior by saying they’re that they’re worried about you. On the surface, that might seem sweet. But if they’re blowing up your phone — especially in rapid succession and throwing a fit if you don’t respond — this can actually be manipulation. “This is to substantiate their position, making emotional manipulation look like affection. Don’t fall for it,” Winter said. “It’s a ploy for control.”

Guille Faingold / Stocksy

To “gaslight” someone is to “make them doubt that their thoughts, feelings, and actions” to the point where they believe they can’t trust their judgment or that they’re losing their mind,” Dr. Leslie Beth Wish explained to Elite Daily. It’s another tactic a suffocating (or even abusive) partner might use to gain control. This might include your partner flat-out denying saying things you definitely heard them say or denying doing things you definitely saw them do.

A partnership where one person gaslights the other can feel suffocating because now, there’s an extra layer to your relationship dynamic (especially when it comes to arguments). If your partner constantly makes you feel irrational, you might start feeling like you’re always the bad guy — and might start believing that about yourself, even if it isn’t true.

 

Guille Faingold / Stocksy

It can feel equally smothering to have a partner who frequently nitpicks and puts you down. Just like with gaslighting, undermining behaviors can do major damage over time. “[Their] feedback, in the beginning, might have just enough ‘truth’ in it that you doubt yourself. Over time, your partner will lie, and tell you that so and so said negative things about your appearance or conversation. Now you have ‘proof’ from another person that you are too stupid, too silly, too shallow, too wrong or too much or too little of something in your behavior or appearance,” Wish said.

Weeks or months of this kind of behavior can chip away at your self-confidence and inner strength, according to Wish. This is, all in all, a toxic situation. Constructive criticism is one thing. Disintegrating your self-worth is another thing entirely.

Guille Faingold / Stocksy

One classic abusive behavior (that has a suffocating effect) is when your partner starts to isolate you. Your partner might start with putting down your family and friends. By casting your crew as untrustworthy, your partner narrows the scope of your reality and exerts control over you. Isolation tactics can be that subtle or more overt. Ultimately, it can come in the form of guilting you into not attending family functions, or berating you for enjoying wine night with the girls.

As love coach Monica Parikh told Elite Daily, “The goal is to isolate you from your support network, making you an easy target for emotional manipulation and abuse.” It’s overwhelming to be forced to deal with the trials and tribulations life throws at you, without your core support network by your side.

4. YOUR PARTNER NEEDS TO KNOW WHERE YOU, ARE ALL THE TIME

Guille Faingold / Stocksy

You might be feeling overwhelmed by a clingy partner if, as Winter put it, “you begin to feel like leaving your apartment requires a sign-out sheet.” And, Winter continued, “Your partner’s incessant need to know where you are at all times is a sign of deep insecurity.” It’s just not realistic or healthy to have your partner monitor your whereabouts at all times. It’s important you maintain your autonomy, even if you’re someone’s partner.

Guille Faingold / Stocksy

It’s also unhealthy if your SO is determined for the two of you to spend all of your free time together. This prevents the two of you from having space for yourself or to be with your own friends.

Again, having freedom is so key to not feeling like you’re drowning in a relationship. Kali Rogers, who founded Blush Online Coaching, told Elite Daily, “Having your own autonomy is so critical to not only your overall happiness, but for your relationship’s, as well.”

6. YOUR RELATIONSHIP IS CO-DEPENDENT

Guille Faingold / Stocksy

There comes a point, too, where your relationship can feel suffocating because the two of you are co-dependent. In co-dependent relationship, there’s one partner who relies heavily on the other and one who’s sense of self is wrapped up in providing for their partner. Psychologist Erika Martinez broke it down like this:

The dependent relies on the codependent to take care of, support, fix, and generally enable [them]. In some cases, the dependent really can’t take care of themselves, and in others, it’s a state of learned helplessness.

The codependent does the enabling and grows accustomed to being the one that people (including the dependent) turn to for help. Thus, codependent’s sense of self-worth and self-esteem are often tied to their ability to fix things, be proactive, help others, people-please, etc.

Being tied to this unhealthy relationship roles can suck the joy out of your partnership.

Michela Ravasio / Stocksy

Similar to the desire to know where you are at all times, another suffocating relationship behavior is your partner demanding access to all your communication. Yes, transparency about what you’re up to and who you’re talking to is good. But it’s best when that happens in couples willingly and organically.

If your partner is pressed to see what you’re looking at online or who you’re messaging, either one of two things is happening: Trust has been broken or your partner is trying to control you. (Depending on your relationship, the situation could be a bit of both.) Parikh confirmed the latter, saying, “A controlling partner may feel entitled to have access to your email, phone, or internet history.”

Guille Faingold / Stocksy

It’s crucial that you and your partner talk things out. If your SO is texting you too much (or throwing a fit when you don’t text back), have a conversation about what kinds of texting or calling is appropriate for your relationship. Talk frankly about self-care and taking time for yourself. Re-establish boundaries. And if you have these hard conversations with your SO to no avail, then these red flags are grounds for breaking up.

Rough patches do happen. But at the same time, your relationship shouldn’t feel like a heavy obligation, or a black hole sucking up all of your happiness and self-esteem. You deserve a partner who’s going to gas you up, be your equal, and nurture your well-being.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, call 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1(800) 799-SAFE (7233) or visit thehotline.org.

 

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Kellie – Mormon Date

Years ago I asked this cute hostess for her number one day when I went out to lunch.

I called her a couple days later and she sounded confused. She asks me if I live in Utah. Strange. Apparently the area code is very similar to my phone number. She says she’s in Utah with her friends. I thought that was strange since it was mid-week and I had just seen her two days before. She tells me she’s going away for a Mormon retreat.

(Strike one.)

She calls me back a few days later when she’s back home. She’s a student working two jobs so she’s busy, but we arrange a date. The day of she cancels because she finds out she has to work. So we get to talking more.. she asks how old I am. I was 24… she says “Oh good, that’ll make my Mom happy” and I ask how old she is. “How old do you think I am??” Great.. that’s not good. I tell her she looks like 21-22 and she says she’s 18.

(Strike two!)

So I ask why her Mom would be happy that I’m so much older and she says the last guy she dated was 30-something. O…K… We arrange to meet the following Sunday.

She calls me a few days later. Tells me she got sent home from work because she looks sickly. She has a herpes sore that has erupted.

(Strike three!)

This isn’t good. She’s also complained about the kind of crap high schoolers complain about (parents, living at home, stupid friends). But.. at this point I might as well go through with it.

The day before the date she tells me “So I’m Mormon and I take it seriously, and one of the things is we don’t spend money on Sunday. I’m a stickler for it too.” I’m thinking cheap date! I’m also thinking. what in the hell are we going to do?? I can’t take her to dinner.. or to a movie.. or out for a drink. What happens if I need to stop for gas? Sheesh!

At this point.. why am I doing this? She’s 18, Mormon, has herpes, and we can’t go anywhere so that pretty much precludes anything good happening. But. we’ve dragged it out for two weeks, I might as well have the experience.

On Sunday I go to her house and knock on the door. This super young-looking girl answers and I’m thinking shit!!! I really underestimated her age!!

It’s her 14-year-old sister. Which gives way to meeting her parents. Awkward. Hi. I’m not going to rape and pillage your hot daughter because she’s Mormon and won’t allow it.

Finally she comes downstairs. She’s really good-looking, but looks really young when she’s not in her work clothes. We drive to the beach and walk around for a few hours. Turns out she’s a little wild.. likes riding motorcycles.. got herpes from an older guy with a motorcycle. But she complains about the kind of high school crap you don’t want to listen to when you’re my age. Then she tells me her feet are tired and she’d like to do something else. We’re in her hood so I ask her for suggestions, since it has to be free. The best she could come up with was watching a movie at her house. With her parents hawking over us? Yeah.. I don’t think so. I drive back to her house and walk her to her door. Who happens to be there?

Her pastor! So I get to meet her pastor. Good god! This is just a first date!

It wasn’t an awful experience.. but it just kept getting worse before the date.

 

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Cherie – Chapter 41 – Wish Upon A Star

Happily, it has only been a week since I saw Cherie. She says she wants to come down on Sunday for a few hours. I finish at the salon at 4pm. She says she can get there around 5pm. I ask her when she has to leave and she tells me that she’ll probably head back home around 8pm.

Perfect.

She also tells me she’s on her period and I’m thrilled. I love Cherie. I really do, but lately with our schedules and all of the time apart, when we’re together it’s really just felt like booty call after booty call. I love our sex. That shit is FIRE! But I miss the dating and romance we once had. I mean, we still have it but we haven’t had any time to do anything other than have sex because of limited time constraints and just our raw need for each other.

Priorities, man!

So I look to see what movies are playing and there is one I think she’ll like at 5:50 at the Riverview Theater down on Columbus Blvd. I find a movie. It’s called, Wish Upon. It’s a horror movie and Cherie loves horror.

So I head home after work and clean up, change my shirt and get the AC on in my house.

Baby arrives on time and tells me she’s parked the Alpha Romeo down the street at 18th and Pine. I turn off my AC and scamper down there. I hop in and her AC in the car is frosty! The weather’s been so hot lately it’s a welcome relief.

I’m so happy to see her. She looks amazing. I immediately kiss her. She seems happy too. Her skin looks gorgeous and her lips are ripe. Her hair is all long braids of gold, copper and ebony.

Hot as shit!

I GPS our way down to the theater. The drive gives us a chance to catch up a bit on all the stuff that’s been happening with her life. School, work, son, family. She says she and her whole family are going to Japan to visit her brother and his wife. Her brother works in Navy Intelligence, so we don’t know what he does really. But I’m really happy for her and her son and her family.

I bring her up to speed on my stuff, Trish busted for cocaine and fired, going out drinking with Jill and Jill getting kicked out of her halfway house because of Trish. Also fired. Then Monster Mike stealing money from the salon and we fire him, and now it’s just down to me and Achilles. Because at least we know the only two people left are at least dependable and trustworthy! I tell her about the Ghost concert and that whole fiasco, but other than that I’m gushing about how happy I am to see her and that we’re going on a proper date.

We get there and there is tons of parking under I-95. I remind her that we parked under here for our first movie date. She remembers how we smooched in the car on that cold November day last year.

We head in, get the tickets, and go directly to hour theater. It’s small but there aren’t many people in the 5:50 show on a Saturday in the summer. We’re about 10 minutes early so there are loads of commercials playing on the screen, and then another 15 minutes of trailers for all the idiots who can’t get to the movies on time. The film begins and there is cuddling, caressing, hand holding and a little necking.

Now this is what I’m talking about. I miss this part of our relationship. Normally in every other relationship I’ve ever been in, it’s like a bummer when your girl is on her period. But I rejoice in my girlfriend’s menstrual cycle! We actually get to go on a fun date for a change. I tell her we must do more of this.

Check out the trailer:

 

Pretty awesome, right? We both really enjoyed this film. I really recommend it. It’s got some really suspenseful scenes and also some good scares. What I find funny about it, the main character gets this magic box that grants 7 wishes. But because she’s in high school she wishes for a bunch of high school girl stuff. It’s great! If you like scary movies with a cool story, you should see it.

After the film we head back to the car. It has started to rain a little bit, but we’ve never minded the rain. Just like on our very first date! We run under the freeway to where all of the cars are parked. and hop into the Alpha and smooch a bit. I love Cherie so much. She seems to be managing her life better lately. She was really going through a rough patch for about a month or so there. But everything seems to be back on track and my chill, sweet soul sister is back.

She drives me back to my place and I tell her how much I’ve enjoyed today and how we have to keep doing this.

She wholeheartedly agrees.

“Drive carefully dear, and text me when you get home so I know your safe.”

“I will. I’ll be careful.”

“I Love you, Cherie.”

“Love you more.”

She smiles and off she goes.

 

 

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Why Dogs Are Replacing Men in Women’s Hearts

http://va.topbuzz.com/s/yjhSQcp

 

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Cherie – Chapter 39 – Black In The Saddle

“The sky opens up and she whips out an umbrella and we both huddle under it just like on our very first date.”

Here we are on New Year’s Eve. I wish you all a Happy New Year. As you read this I am asleep, because I worked a 10 hour day yesterday and then went to my beloved friend James’ birthday at a lovely dive bar in Kensington beyond midnight. (Monkey Club)

I edited this piece and then spoke with my buddy Church on the phone. We decided to meet up tomorrow afternoon for a few hours.

I’ll sleep in because we’re closed for the next 2 days. I’ll edit the blog for the week at Cavanaugh’s and enjoy my half of lunch as usual.

 

Thank you all for everything. I’ll be posting a special New Years Day post tomorrow morning at 8am to give you a glimpse into what is coming in this blog in 2019.

I wish you all a healthy and happy New Year!

 

I get to Suburban Station around 3:30. She should be here any second. I walk down to the platform when the train pulls in and I see her. She smiles and walks toward me. Great thing is, I saw her last weekend too. So, there’s some continuity here. When we’re apart for three to four weeks at a time I know it’s hard for both of us.

She looks great. Her hair is still all braided into light and dark dreds and she looks sexy as hell. We walk down 18th Street towards Rittenhouse. For the moment it isn’t raining.

“How long can I keep you today?”

“I have to be on a 9:30 train tonight.”

The sky opens up and she whips out an umbrella and we both huddle under it just like on our very first date.

It’ll be another short stay for Cheri. But She stayed over last Saturday and it was glorious. The downside of a short stay for Cherie is that she’s here, we do greatest hits and then she’s gone. The upside for me is that we do greatest hits and then she’s gone.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love Cherie very much. She’s a wonderful girl. But let’s be honest,  I think most men would agree that if they could have their alone time to do whatever they want, then a hot girl on the right side of thirty stopped by their house for a few hours of fun, and then simply left and you didn’t have to spend one thin dime on them, you’d totally love it. It’s all the kissing, and chatting, and holding and mind bending sex, and then she’s gone. It would be like you could bang Cinderella, and at midnight she turns into a pizza and a six-pack. A dream come true!

We get back to the house and we run the program. If we had gone somewhere and did something, or saw something, I’d write all about it. You know I would, but with her limited schedule she can only see me when she can see me. So we get down to business to fill her burning desire. I must feed the beast. And feed her I do, again and again.

Alas, Phicklephilly is a dating blog, not a sex blog. Maybe I should write a separate erotic blog, and call it La Petite Mort, and write a bunch of graphic sex stories. You could read the date stuff here and then link over to the other blog for the juicy stuff.

Stay tuned…

I love being in bed with Cherie. Her skin is so soft. Her body is absolutely beautiful. Just luscious curves of sleek brown flesh.

Our brief repose is wonderful. I’ll take her to the train, and then come home and have a vodka club and a cigarette. Just basking in the afterglow of my afternoon with my Cherie. Wondering when next I’ll see my lovely girl.

 

 

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10 Things women should never say to their men

Your man loves you and doesn’t want to hear certain things from you. These are classic.

To keep your relationship healthy and happy, stay away from the following phrases.

Here are 10 things women should never say to their men:

“Man up.” This emasculating phrase is never, ever appropriate. He is a man. If he’s not meeting your expectations, learn to communicate this clearly and without insult.

“We need to talk.” Yes, you should talk to your man. No, you should not warn him that you need to talk about something yet-to-be-described that will likely be uncomfortable. (I hate that one!)

This phrase is the most likely to shift him into defensive mode. Try a more loving approach and you will surely get better results.

“Size doesn’t matter.” If size doesn’t matter, don’t talk about size.

“Is she prettier than me?” Related: “Do I look fat in this?” If the question you’re asking him has only one acceptable answer — and if a too-long pause in responding will only feed your insecurities — just trust that his answer would have been the right one and don’t bother to ask it.

“You’re just like my ex.” Worse: “I’ve had better.” You don’t want to be compared to his exes, so don’t compare him to yours. Even if he comes out on top, it’s still an awkward comparison.

“Are you really that stupid?” Be careful not to use language that emasculates and belittles your guy. Treat him with respect, even when you’re angry or disappointed.

“Never mind. I’ll do it myself.” Don’t dismiss the offers of help from your man. A common love language is acts of service.

Don’t deny him the opportunity to serve you. Sometimes it’s nice to feel needed.

“I can’t live without you.” Use desperate language with caution, and stay clear of phrases that sound clingy in early stages of the relationship.

Let him take the lead when it comes to commitment and promises of a future together.

“I’m not your mother.” Worse: “I’m just like my mother.” Keep your mom(s) out of it, unless you’re actually talking about patterns learned from your respective families of origin.

“Nothing’s wrong.” Yes, it is. He can’t read your mind. If something’s wrong, tell him what’s wrong.

 

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