What We Forget When It Comes to Dating And Disclosure
There are parts of disclosing our STI status that people often neglect considering. We’re concerned about rejection which is understandable, but I don’t know anyone who’s gone into a disclosure understanding that it’s possible that the other person is also concerned about disclosing something to us. Maybe that person knows someone with the virus we have, maybe we forgot to ask them their sexual health status, and what’s MOST important, we often don’t ask ourselves an important question: what is our intention is with them, and does it match theirs? This is the part of dating and disclosure that so many of us miss.
We do dating and relationships on autopilot. This means we go through a cookie cutter dating template. We swipe on the person, someone sends a message, some small talk, some flirting, and then when we feel good and like the other person we’re like, “Shit! I’m gonna have to disclose soon” and there’s this feeling of anxiety. We like the other person. OK… What’s our intention with them? What do we want for ourselves in taking this to the level of needing to discuss sexual health status? What do they want? Do they want it from you? Are you a fit for one another? These are things we neglect when it comes to disclosure.
And in the conversation around disclosure, do we talk about consent? Do we negotiate boundaries around safety? Do we share our turn ons and turn offs for a pleasurable experience? More often than not, we’re so pumped a person didn’t run for the hills that we just kind of take whatever we can get. That’s no way to do relationships. That’s a recipe for bad sex and a bad relationship haha. Let’s set a standard for ourselves to identify relationship intentions before disclosing. This reduces anxiety tremendously. I know the last thing we want is one more person out there who knows our “secret,” so here’s a way to better protect it. Keep in mind, it’s very rare that a person goes running for the hills after a disclosure haha. It’s more likely that they just ghost you because that’s what they do and it has nothing to do with you, that’s just who they are. Better to see it when relationship intentions aren’t a fit than when you’ve become more invested in the assumption that the goals align.
Courtney W. Brame is the Founder of Something Positive for Positive People, a hub of sex-positive resources.
For comments or questions on this week’s episode of SPPP, reach out via www.spfpp.org
Courtney Brame is on social media @HOnMyChest