Ask Page: My Partner Just Asked Me for STI Testing, Am I Being Slut Shamed?

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Image by Jurgen Appelo / CC BY

Hi Page, 

I’ve been poly for about 6 months. I recently met a new partner. He has another partner (and so do I). He asked me to get testing for STIs before we sleep together. I was so offended! Why would he do that?  A big part of poly for me has been accepting myself as a sexual being. I can’t believe he would be slut shaming me, but that’s what it feels like. He did say he would get tested, too, and that if anything came back positive that it wasn’t a dealbreaker. That we’d just talk. What do you think? Am I being slut shamed? Isn’t poly supposed to be about love? 

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No. I don’t think you’re being slut shamed. I think your partner is simply trying to ascertain your STI status. There are plenty of possible practical non-slut-shaming reasons for him to do so.

To be completely honest, I have been in multiple poly web situations where we had the same general practice: People would get retested prior to new sexual partners to establish baseline status.

On a personal level, I’m actually slower to become sexual with people now that I’m polyamorous than when I was dating as a single person. I take a lot fewer risks. And the reason for that is that it’s not just my sexual health I need to consider — but that of everyone else I’m involved with. To do otherwise, to not allow my other partners the best possible informed consent I can provide on the kinds of risks they’re taking and only focusing on my own romantic notions and sexual pleasure, would be unfair. It would be a bit like playing poker with someone else’s chips. Especially if those chips were stolen.

Yes, polyamory is about love — but part of love is being considerate of those people who are close to you. And in polyamory, that means all of the people who are close to you, not just your newest partner.

Furthermore, I think it’s an excellent sign that he offered to get tested himself and additionally points away it being a form of slut shaming, since he’s willing to subject himself to the same scrutiny. Additionally, his attitude towards a positive test result also seems very encouraging and sex-positive.

My advice would be to go get tested. Services are available at a variety of clinics, your local doctor’s office, and places like Planned Parenthood. There are even home STI testing kits available (which I’ve done in the past and can be quite convenient and easy to do).

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Books by Page Turner:

A Geek’s Guide to Unicorn Ranching

Poly Land: My Brutally Honest Adventures in Polyamory 

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3 Comments

  1. STI testing is important. With my newest partner he even requested my husband get tested and no one was offended. It had nothing to do with slut shaming. I think it’s a great conversation to have as well

  2. I try to HIV test every six months, and request my paramour and metamours to do the same ‘just cause’
    it’s just good practice IMO

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