A template for a better safer sex talk
Here’s a handy Google Docs template you can use to help have better safer sex talks. Fill it in and share it with would-be partners, or use it as a reminder to yourself when you have the conversation.
As a part of my work in the Human Awareness Institute, both as the organization’s podcast host and as a workshop participant, I’ve done a lot of thinking about consent and safer sex conversations.
One of the things the organization encourages is that if you have an interaction with any workshop participant you — even if there is no intention to have a sexual experience with that person — to have a safer sex conversation. Why? Because practice makes perfect.
As a result of this, and of being a generally sex-positive human, I have had dozens — if not hundreds — of safer sex conversations over the years. And I still feel my heart-rate rise and get nervous, every single time. I miss stuff. I make mistakes. I forget to mention things.
It’s easy to remember the most important parts of it, but it’s also easy to forget a few crucial pieces.
For example, I believe that intent for a sexual interaction ought to be part of your consent talk.
I also believe that if you regularly have new sexual partners, it’s a good idea to have your safer sex information written down. Of course, you don’t have to do that — if you prefer, you can use the template as a reminder of the things you want to discuss.
Personally, I like to share a PDF. Alternatively, you can print it out and show your partner a copy — discuss it together, and take the printed copy with you, if you feel it’s too much medical info to hand over. This is all part of consent — do what you’re comfortable with, not what some random dude on the internet suggests you do.
The template I created sections for:
General risk profile and approach to sex. This includes:
- Regular partners
- Fluid bonding (i.e. people you regularly have un-barriered sex with)
- Blood risks & IV drugs (recent tattoos and needle use)
- STI testing requirements for partners
- Number of partners since the last test
- Number of partners in the last few years
- Any prophylactic drugs you take (including PrEP etc)
Intentions — What, if anything, does a sexual interaction mean?
Past STI testing — see below
Current STI results — see below
Barriers and protection — do you use condoms, dental dams, etc?
Pregnancy — What happens if you get pregnant?
Consent & Safewords — If relevant
STI test results
An important part of the template is your historic and current STI test results.
For the historic results, report any positive tests and how you dealt with them. Were you treated? Were you re-tested after treatment?
For the current test results, how you represent your test results is up to you. I prefer to use a spreadsheet where I log all my test results and what I was tested for, but you may choose to do something different. When you report STI results, ensure to list what you were tested for, and the results. Not all labs test for everything, and your partner may want to know a specific test result.
My spreadsheet of results is below, lightly redacted for medical privacy. The HSV-1 and Chlamydia results are real. I have no shame around them: STIs do happen, and it’s important to let your partners know to be able to have full informed consent.
To use the template
You can find the template here. To use it, open the template and go to File -> Make a Copy in Google Docs. You will now be able to edit the document and save it safely to your own Google Drive. When you do that, the author of the document will no longer be able to see it, and you can safely add whatever information you want.
Of course, you may wish to include additional information, or remove sections that you think are irrelevant to you — that’s the great thing about a template, you can edit it however you want!
If you want to link to this template, please link to the Medium article you are reading right now.
Haje is the co-host of Human Awareness, a podcast about love, intimacy, and sexuality published by the Human Awareness Institute. He does not, however, speak on behalf of the HAI organization.