Podcast Episode: A Quickie On STIs

A guide to understanding STIs with Smile Makers and Dr Jess

Podcast Episode: A Quickie On STIs

A guide to understanding STIs with Smile Makers and Dr Jess

 
 

In this Quickie from our podcast Clitastic Chronicles, we asked Dr Jess from InSync Medical to give us the lay of the land for STIs and how we can have safe sex in a pleasure positive way.

Episode Transcript

Smile Makers , 00:13
Hi everyone and welcome to Clitastic Chronicles, a pleasure positive podcast created by Smile Makers for people with clitorises. I'm Cecile and today I'm speaking with Dr. Jess, Dr. Dress runs a sexual health clinic here in Singapore. A general practitioner by training, she has developed a keen interest in female and sexual health. Her practice offers management of female has issues and bridges the gap between regular GPs and gynaecologists, and sexual health specialists. Today, we're talking about STIs. Since STIs s are usually covered in traditional sex education, we haven't dwelved too much on them. But Dr Jess has a gift to give a positive spin to everything related to sexual health, and inspire us to take charge of our pleasure and a health. Let's get started. Hi, Dr. Jess, thanks for being with us today. Today we're going to talk about STI and safe sex. And the first question I have, which is quite a big one is can you give us like the lay of the land when it comes to STI? How to prevent them? How to recognize them how to treat them?

Dr Jess , 01:27
Wow, it's a big question. Okay, so um, when we think about STI s, we often have a scenario where we are engaging with somebody else, right. So when you're engaging with somebody else, regardless of who it might be, if you're in a monogamous relationship, or if you're in a polygamous relationship, if it's just not a relationship at all, it's a one night stand type of thing. There's always, always a possibility that you can contract an STI, despite wearing a condom, or despite keeping the sexual intercourse protected. And that is because with STIs, they're very many types, they can spread in different methods. So the baseline here is that when you have a condom on, or when your partner uses a condom, be it over the penis, be it over a shared sex toy, you are simply covering only the area that is covered by the condom, you're preventing secretions, which is ejaculation from the penis, from entering your vagina. And that way, you don't have that kind of exchange of body fluid. You are stopping secretions from the vagina touching the head of the penis, particularly the area of the foreskin, where infections like to track in. So during sex, I tell couples that you know, it's not just penis interacting with the vagina, clinically, your penis interacting with the anus clinically, or penis interacting with the mouth or other areas that touch.

Smile Makers , 03:07
And vulvas with vulvas..

Dr Jess , 03:09
Exactly, and vulvas and vulvas too. So there are other areas that contact each other. So the skin to skin contact as well. You can't possibly have sex without the skin to skin contact. You can't possibly even kiss without the skin to skin contact. So the skin to skin contact transmits certain types of STDs and we can name a few. So you can transmit viruses like the herpes virus. You can transmit viruses like the HPV virus, which is the human papilloma virus, which has been popularized with causing things like cervical cancers or things like all cancers. Take for example, Michael Douglas, who came out saying that you know, he had throat cancer and it was likely related to HPV virus from having oral sex. So syphilis causes things like sores, and if you rub up against somebody else's skin or body, there could be transmission of the bacteria to the skin and other person ends up getting syphilis too. Another one that is quite common is that of wharts so you know, whart viruses are actually also HPV viruses. And they can also be transmitted from skin to skin. The things that you're primarily protecting yourself from when you've got a condom on, or when you're using for example, dental dance, you know, so let's say we talk about sexual engagements between women, between two women, one might get oral sex to another, on the vulva. And sometimes they use a little barrier there, which is like a little, we call it a dental dam. But if you want to think about it, simplistically, just imagine a condom cut up and you just pull it over the vulva. And you give oral sex that way, safely, so that we prevent any transmission of STDs from the mouth to the vulva or from the vulva to the mouth. So, when you cover up with a condom, whether it's a dental dam or whether it's a condom condom that we familiarly know, you are mainly preventing the transfer of bacterias like chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis, and HIV as well. So those kind of things often involve exchange of body fluid. So you do prevent the transmission of those infections. In saying that, there are some other infections that perhaps are not so commonly known. And one of it is called trichomonas. So trichomonas is a parasite, it's not a bacteria, it's not a virus, just a different type of STDs. And that can also be transmitted through exchange of body fluid. And you've got others not so commonly known, you've got mycoplasma, ureoplasma, so anyone who's done an STD screening would see all these things appearing on your lab reports: microplasma, uroplasma even wanting to work with that, and those are probably one of the tiniest free living organisms that are difficult to get rid of when you get something. Because it's so small, and they have developed quite a lot of resistance to antibiotics. There is a type of STDs that I would like to highlight and it is from the microplasma family, and it's called microplasma genitalium. It is in fact not standardly tested in your STD screening. So when you walk up to the doctor's clinic and you say, Hey, can I get an STD screening, it is not often in that battery of tests, as a routine. But we've been seeing more and more cases of microplasma genitalium, it's a hard to get rid of bacteria and it has a tendency to cause chronic problems. So take for example, in a man when it tracks through their penis, it has a tendency to right up into the prostate and cause what we call chronic prostate problems or chronic protatitus which is just an inflammation of the prostate and you might have symptoms that go on for a while. So you might have symptoms like I keep discharging this this this cloudy discharge every now and again. I keep getting this burn in my penis, but every time I go for an STD test, nothing's, it's clean. So that's when you got to go "Hey, is there an STD I'm missing? Is there is an STD that's not tested and it probably is the microplasma genitalium, so it's worthwhile to get that tested.

Smile Makers , 07:35
For people with vulvas, what would be the symptoms?

Dr Jess , 07:37
Same things. So you know, you could have issues with discharge, constantly get this discharge, and "I've been through all my testing, it's not like common infections, doctor keeps telling me that I have not chlamydia nor gonorrhea. I haven't got theother microplasma, I haven't got ureoplasma. But then there's one other one that's not standard retest, and that's the microplasma genitalium. So and you might have pelvic pain as well discomfort around the vagina, just deep in the abdomen. So really worthwhile getting that tested. If you keep having symptoms, and you've gone for testing, you haven't eliminated one other infection, get that infection eliminated, which is the microplasma genitalium. If that two is negative, then you need to pull back, go back to the drawing board together with your doctor and go "Hey maybe, this is not an infection after all. This can do with something with my pelvic floor. So you know, then you start turning up the other things that could be causing symptoms, which are very similar to STDs. Yeah. And yeah, that's about that's about kind of the range of different STDs, In terms of the other most commonly asked question is when, "when do you test?" so everything has a time frame, everything is a sort of a window before it shows up in your blood. And one thing we want people to understand is that when we're doing a blood test to pick up a virus, or the presence of a bacteria, we're not actually picking up the virus, we're picking up your body's reaction to having encountered that virus. So we're talking about antibodies, right. So when your body encounters something, it's got this huge army, its base like, it's in your own marrow in your on your lymph nodes, and it says, "Hey, come out there and make these antibodies to send out these soldiers to combat this, this virus." So when we draw your blood, and we are testing to see whether you've got the virus, we're testing for the presence of the soldiers that have been manufactured to fight the virus or to fight the bacteria. So like when we test for HIV, we are also looking for antibodies. But of course, there's new HIV tests where we look for the actual protein that belongs to the virus. So that allows us to test for HIV much earlier than we used to. So commonly, back in the day when we tested for HIV, you needed about three months after an encounter, that you would probably be suspicious or worried you might have gotten something, you need to be tested at least three months after that confirm whether or not you've got HIV virus. And that gives you your conclusive answers where you can be beside you can go, Okay, that's great. I didn'tget the HIV virus. But now, you can test it as early as two weeks because we're able to pick up the proteins. So, it really does depend on the technology that is available to you what is accessible to us. Things like hepatitis also has largely antibody-based, things like syphilis is antibody-based, but our body makes antibodies to syphilis quite quickly. So you know, we're able to pick it up fast, usually, within a week of you encountering the syphillis bacteria, things like herpes. Now, the one thing I want to mention about herpes testing is that it is notorious, it's it can give you large amounts of false negative test reports. So meaning you're actually positive but i churns out as negative, and also can give you false positives. So you're actually negative but it shows up positive test results. So the big thing with testing herpes, it's to ensure that you test it at the right time. Okay, so sometimes it can take about 16 weeks for for herpes test results to actually show up, for the antibodies to turn itself at a level to make enough of itself such that it is detectable in a blood test, and for it to be accurate. So a lot of people come in and they go, Well, I've just had intercourse two or three days ago, and I'm worried about STDs. Usually, at that juncture, it's really quite difficult to test you for very much and to give conclusive answers as to whether you've encountered any STDs from that episode, we would commonly tell you "Look, we can use some precautionary medications first, just to eliminate the big common bacterias like chlamydia and gonorrhea", even that to me, say within the first twenty four hour of you coming and get these drugs. But after that you would be Let's wait watch for symptoms. The earliest you can test especially if you haven't got any symptoms, is it two weeks or two weeks, you can test for things like HIV, you could test for things like syphilis, we could probably pick up some hepatitis. And you can definitely test for all the bacterias that might involve your vagina or within your penis track. And I'm just going to do a few things like chlamydia, gonorrhea, microplasma, ureaplasma, trichomonas, and these are the five most common ones that we can pick up through a vaginal swab, or through a urine test from the penis. So at two weeks, you probably can get decent answers for HIV, you can start testing for it, it does appear at that point, but to get conclusive answers is probably okay.

Smile Makers , 13:05
And so you've explained how some of those STIs, you might, we might contract them not through the exchange of fluids, even via touch or kissing. And those are things that we're bound to do when we're engaging sexually with someone. So what would be the tips to practice safe sex, but being realistic about the fact that we are going to touch each other and probably kiss each other

Dr Jess , 13:30
I think it starts even before the engagement encounter begins. So it's about open discussion. When we get into relationship number one, or we get into an encounter with someone we're attracted to, and we might think about engaging with them sexually on that night on that morning, whichever it is, it's to have that ability to openly ask in a manner which is respectful before you engage, so that there is clarity between the two individuals who are engaging sexually. So commonly we we talk about how do you communicate?

Smile Makers , 14:05
Yeah, that sounds like a scary question.

Dr Jess , 14:08
How do you communicate? How do you ask someone because the last thing you want to do is, is ask them in a way that that offends them, you know, and people go off thinking that you've judged them. "So do you think I'm promiscuous? Is that what you think I am?". But that's not what we're doing. So we're concerned about our own safety. And we're concerned about their safety. So if you want someone to divulge information to you, the very first thing to do is you divulge information. So you can approach someone and say,"You know, I have some concerns, and I'm very attracted to you. And you know, I think we might engage or we might be having sex, but you know, I just wanted to let you know that I've had my STD testings, or, or I haven't had an STD testing and I'm worried you know, that I could transmit something to you. Have you had STD testing.?And when was Last time you had one? I'm happy to share my results with you." So that way you know you can have, you can have intercourse, or outercourse, peacefully without worrying because it lets you be fully present as long as you're not in the background thinking, "Oh, dear, this person has this or what if I had this, or I had this before, and I hadn't developed that information to this person". Now, you can never be present in that moment, because you're worried about that in the background. So the big tip when it comes to communicating that process, divulge information first, before someone can develop something to you. So you give a little to get a little. And that's what I tell most couples. And if you're entering a relationship, just have that conversation, especially if people do know the juncture at which they're going to engage intimately. Or they're going to be physical with each other and perhaps have their very first sexual encounter with each other. Often, we do get couples coming in. And having that agreement prior that, "hey, let's both get a sexual health checkup, to make sure that we're not silently holding on to any infections". I don't like using the word "clean". Having an STD doesn't mean you're dirty. So often people will say things like, you know, "hey, am I clean?" And you're obviously you're clean, but you don't you just have an infection. That's all it is, is not about being clean or being dirty. But this is the general name of saying and but but it gives a connotation of judgment. You know, it creates a taboo. And here we are trying to break taboos around sexual health, and therefore we have to stop using words like this. And that's, that's kind of what we tell people when it comes to practicing safe sex. having that conversation first, of course, you will have the odd encounters, you know, where there isn't that opportunity, it's a spur of the moment, huge amount of sexual energy present between two people, and it just happens. But if you can control the situation, then it can be done within seconds, just having a quick conversation. And yet, sometimes we do assist people as well, when it comes to breaking news to their partner, because it's difficult to explain it all we do it for them, we've become the middle person that just helps with that interaction between two individuals to explain an STD that someone might have and what it means for the other person, what it means for them in the long run. Another thing is to always carry a condom around. So you know, condoms are tiny, thin if anything and you can just pop them in your purse. And I tell all my individuals with vulvas. Most commonly is a condom a male condom, designed for the penis, you can carry your purse too. There's no reason that your male counterpart has to be the one responsible for carrying a condom. Carry one in your purse too and you can, you can carry another one, which is to be used as a dental ban. For example, for oral sex, you know, when we when we engage sexually with somebody else, and there's a lot of physical connection with them. We take precaution within reason. If we are worried, to the point of even encountering a sexually transmitted infection, through physical activity, like kissing, you're not present during your intimacy, your focus. Because you're highly anxious about what you might contract. And you will not be having the intimacy that you thought you would you will, not be having the arousal that you thought you would, you will not be having the orgasms or the pleasure that because your mind stripped off and you're anxious about separate issue. So everything within reason, do things within reason, take your precaution, within reason. And allow yourself to worry about things but as long as you've done whatever you can, yeah, stop there.

Smile Makers , 18:57
So condoms, regular checkups, and open communication. That's your tips with exits.

Dr Jess , 19:03
Yeah.

Smile Makers , 19:04
Thanks so much, Dr. Jess, that was very enlightning. We hope you enjoyed this episode of Clitastic Chronicles and found snippets of wisdom that you can apply to your own sexual health. If you like this podcast, share it around with your friends and give us a five star review on Apple podcasts or wherever you're getting your podcasts from. This will help us make it easy to find. For more sex positivity. head to our website at SmileMakersCollection.com See you there.

In this Quickie from our podcast Clitastic Chronicles, we asked Dr Jess from InSync Medical to give us the lay of the land for STIs and how we can have safe sex in a pleasure positive way.

Episode Transcript

Smile Makers , 00:13
Hi everyone and welcome to Clitastic Chronicles, a pleasure positive podcast created by Smile Makers for people with clitorises. I'm Cecile and today I'm speaking with Dr. Jess, Dr. Dress runs a sexual health clinic here in Singapore. A general practitioner by training, she has developed a keen interest in female and sexual health. Her practice offers management of female has issues and bridges the gap between regular GPs and gynaecologists, and sexual health specialists. Today, we're talking about STIs. Since STIs s are usually covered in traditional sex education, we haven't dwelved too much on them. But Dr Jess has a gift to give a positive spin to everything related to sexual health, and inspire us to take charge of our pleasure and a health. Let's get started. Hi, Dr. Jess, thanks for being with us today. Today we're going to talk about STI and safe sex. And the first question I have, which is quite a big one is can you give us like the lay of the land when it comes to STI? How to prevent them? How to recognize them how to treat them?

Dr Jess , 01:27
Wow, it's a big question. Okay, so um, when we think about STI s, we often have a scenario where we are engaging with somebody else, right. So when you're engaging with somebody else, regardless of who it might be, if you're in a monogamous relationship, or if you're in a polygamous relationship, if it's just not a relationship at all, it's a one night stand type of thing. There's always, always a possibility that you can contract an STI, despite wearing a condom, or despite keeping the sexual intercourse protected. And that is because with STIs, they're very many types, they can spread in different methods. So the baseline here is that when you have a condom on, or when your partner uses a condom, be it over the penis, be it over a shared sex toy, you are simply covering only the area that is covered by the condom, you're preventing secretions, which is ejaculation from the penis, from entering your vagina. And that way, you don't have that kind of exchange of body fluid. You are stopping secretions from the vagina touching the head of the penis, particularly the area of the foreskin, where infections like to track in. So during sex, I tell couples that you know, it's not just penis interacting with the vagina, clinically, your penis interacting with the anus clinically, or penis interacting with the mouth or other areas that touch.

Smile Makers , 03:07
And vulvas with vulvas..

Dr Jess , 03:09
Exactly, and vulvas and vulvas too. So there are other areas that contact each other. So the skin to skin contact as well. You can't possibly have sex without the skin to skin contact. You can't possibly even kiss without the skin to skin contact. So the skin to skin contact transmits certain types of STDs and we can name a few. So you can transmit viruses like the herpes virus. You can transmit viruses like the HPV virus, which is the human papilloma virus, which has been popularized with causing things like cervical cancers or things like all cancers. Take for example, Michael Douglas, who came out saying that you know, he had throat cancer and it was likely related to HPV virus from having oral sex. So syphilis causes things like sores, and if you rub up against somebody else's skin or body, there could be transmission of the bacteria to the skin and other person ends up getting syphilis too. Another one that is quite common is that of wharts so you know, whart viruses are actually also HPV viruses. And they can also be transmitted from skin to skin. The things that you're primarily protecting yourself from when you've got a condom on, or when you're using for example, dental dance, you know, so let's say we talk about sexual engagements between women, between two women, one might get oral sex to another, on the vulva. And sometimes they use a little barrier there, which is like a little, we call it a dental dam. But if you want to think about it, simplistically, just imagine a condom cut up and you just pull it over the vulva. And you give oral sex that way, safely, so that we prevent any transmission of STDs from the mouth to the vulva or from the vulva to the mouth. So, when you cover up with a condom, whether it's a dental dam or whether it's a condom condom that we familiarly know, you are mainly preventing the transfer of bacterias like chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis, and HIV as well. So those kind of things often involve exchange of body fluid. So you do prevent the transmission of those infections. In saying that, there are some other infections that perhaps are not so commonly known. And one of it is called trichomonas. So trichomonas is a parasite, it's not a bacteria, it's not a virus, just a different type of STDs. And that can also be transmitted through exchange of body fluid. And you've got others not so commonly known, you've got mycoplasma, ureoplasma, so anyone who's done an STD screening would see all these things appearing on your lab reports: microplasma, uroplasma even wanting to work with that, and those are probably one of the tiniest free living organisms that are difficult to get rid of when you get something. Because it's so small, and they have developed quite a lot of resistance to antibiotics. There is a type of STDs that I would like to highlight and it is from the microplasma family, and it's called microplasma genitalium. It is in fact not standardly tested in your STD screening. So when you walk up to the doctor's clinic and you say, Hey, can I get an STD screening, it is not often in that battery of tests, as a routine. But we've been seeing more and more cases of microplasma genitalium, it's a hard to get rid of bacteria and it has a tendency to cause chronic problems. So take for example, in a man when it tracks through their penis, it has a tendency to right up into the prostate and cause what we call chronic prostate problems or chronic protatitus which is just an inflammation of the prostate and you might have symptoms that go on for a while. So you might have symptoms like I keep discharging this this this cloudy discharge every now and again. I keep getting this burn in my penis, but every time I go for an STD test, nothing's, it's clean. So that's when you got to go "Hey, is there an STD I'm missing? Is there is an STD that's not tested and it probably is the microplasma genitalium, so it's worthwhile to get that tested.

Smile Makers , 07:35
For people with vulvas, what would be the symptoms?

Dr Jess , 07:37
Same things. So you know, you could have issues with discharge, constantly get this discharge, and "I've been through all my testing, it's not like common infections, doctor keeps telling me that I have not chlamydia nor gonorrhea. I haven't got theother microplasma, I haven't got ureoplasma. But then there's one other one that's not standard retest, and that's the microplasma genitalium. So and you might have pelvic pain as well discomfort around the vagina, just deep in the abdomen. So really worthwhile getting that tested. If you keep having symptoms, and you've gone for testing, you haven't eliminated one other infection, get that infection eliminated, which is the microplasma genitalium. If that two is negative, then you need to pull back, go back to the drawing board together with your doctor and go "Hey maybe, this is not an infection after all. This can do with something with my pelvic floor. So you know, then you start turning up the other things that could be causing symptoms, which are very similar to STDs. Yeah. And yeah, that's about that's about kind of the range of different STDs, In terms of the other most commonly asked question is when, "when do you test?" so everything has a time frame, everything is a sort of a window before it shows up in your blood. And one thing we want people to understand is that when we're doing a blood test to pick up a virus, or the presence of a bacteria, we're not actually picking up the virus, we're picking up your body's reaction to having encountered that virus. So we're talking about antibodies, right. So when your body encounters something, it's got this huge army, its base like, it's in your own marrow in your on your lymph nodes, and it says, "Hey, come out there and make these antibodies to send out these soldiers to combat this, this virus." So when we draw your blood, and we are testing to see whether you've got the virus, we're testing for the presence of the soldiers that have been manufactured to fight the virus or to fight the bacteria. So like when we test for HIV, we are also looking for antibodies. But of course, there's new HIV tests where we look for the actual protein that belongs to the virus. So that allows us to test for HIV much earlier than we used to. So commonly, back in the day when we tested for HIV, you needed about three months after an encounter, that you would probably be suspicious or worried you might have gotten something, you need to be tested at least three months after that confirm whether or not you've got HIV virus. And that gives you your conclusive answers where you can be beside you can go, Okay, that's great. I didn'tget the HIV virus. But now, you can test it as early as two weeks because we're able to pick up the proteins. So, it really does depend on the technology that is available to you what is accessible to us. Things like hepatitis also has largely antibody-based, things like syphilis is antibody-based, but our body makes antibodies to syphilis quite quickly. So you know, we're able to pick it up fast, usually, within a week of you encountering the syphillis bacteria, things like herpes. Now, the one thing I want to mention about herpes testing is that it is notorious, it's it can give you large amounts of false negative test reports. So meaning you're actually positive but i churns out as negative, and also can give you false positives. So you're actually negative but it shows up positive test results. So the big thing with testing herpes, it's to ensure that you test it at the right time. Okay, so sometimes it can take about 16 weeks for for herpes test results to actually show up, for the antibodies to turn itself at a level to make enough of itself such that it is detectable in a blood test, and for it to be accurate. So a lot of people come in and they go, Well, I've just had intercourse two or three days ago, and I'm worried about STDs. Usually, at that juncture, it's really quite difficult to test you for very much and to give conclusive answers as to whether you've encountered any STDs from that episode, we would commonly tell you "Look, we can use some precautionary medications first, just to eliminate the big common bacterias like chlamydia and gonorrhea", even that to me, say within the first twenty four hour of you coming and get these drugs. But after that you would be Let's wait watch for symptoms. The earliest you can test especially if you haven't got any symptoms, is it two weeks or two weeks, you can test for things like HIV, you could test for things like syphilis, we could probably pick up some hepatitis. And you can definitely test for all the bacterias that might involve your vagina or within your penis track. And I'm just going to do a few things like chlamydia, gonorrhea, microplasma, ureaplasma, trichomonas, and these are the five most common ones that we can pick up through a vaginal swab, or through a urine test from the penis. So at two weeks, you probably can get decent answers for HIV, you can start testing for it, it does appear at that point, but to get conclusive answers is probably okay.

Smile Makers , 13:05
And so you've explained how some of those STIs, you might, we might contract them not through the exchange of fluids, even via touch or kissing. And those are things that we're bound to do when we're engaging sexually with someone. So what would be the tips to practice safe sex, but being realistic about the fact that we are going to touch each other and probably kiss each other

Dr Jess , 13:30
I think it starts even before the engagement encounter begins. So it's about open discussion. When we get into relationship number one, or we get into an encounter with someone we're attracted to, and we might think about engaging with them sexually on that night on that morning, whichever it is, it's to have that ability to openly ask in a manner which is respectful before you engage, so that there is clarity between the two individuals who are engaging sexually. So commonly we we talk about how do you communicate?

Smile Makers , 14:05
Yeah, that sounds like a scary question.

Dr Jess , 14:08
How do you communicate? How do you ask someone because the last thing you want to do is, is ask them in a way that that offends them, you know, and people go off thinking that you've judged them. "So do you think I'm promiscuous? Is that what you think I am?". But that's not what we're doing. So we're concerned about our own safety. And we're concerned about their safety. So if you want someone to divulge information to you, the very first thing to do is you divulge information. So you can approach someone and say,"You know, I have some concerns, and I'm very attracted to you. And you know, I think we might engage or we might be having sex, but you know, I just wanted to let you know that I've had my STD testings, or, or I haven't had an STD testing and I'm worried you know, that I could transmit something to you. Have you had STD testing.?And when was Last time you had one? I'm happy to share my results with you." So that way you know you can have, you can have intercourse, or outercourse, peacefully without worrying because it lets you be fully present as long as you're not in the background thinking, "Oh, dear, this person has this or what if I had this, or I had this before, and I hadn't developed that information to this person". Now, you can never be present in that moment, because you're worried about that in the background. So the big tip when it comes to communicating that process, divulge information first, before someone can develop something to you. So you give a little to get a little. And that's what I tell most couples. And if you're entering a relationship, just have that conversation, especially if people do know the juncture at which they're going to engage intimately. Or they're going to be physical with each other and perhaps have their very first sexual encounter with each other. Often, we do get couples coming in. And having that agreement prior that, "hey, let's both get a sexual health checkup, to make sure that we're not silently holding on to any infections". I don't like using the word "clean". Having an STD doesn't mean you're dirty. So often people will say things like, you know, "hey, am I clean?" And you're obviously you're clean, but you don't you just have an infection. That's all it is, is not about being clean or being dirty. But this is the general name of saying and but but it gives a connotation of judgment. You know, it creates a taboo. And here we are trying to break taboos around sexual health, and therefore we have to stop using words like this. And that's, that's kind of what we tell people when it comes to practicing safe sex. having that conversation first, of course, you will have the odd encounters, you know, where there isn't that opportunity, it's a spur of the moment, huge amount of sexual energy present between two people, and it just happens. But if you can control the situation, then it can be done within seconds, just having a quick conversation. And yet, sometimes we do assist people as well, when it comes to breaking news to their partner, because it's difficult to explain it all we do it for them, we've become the middle person that just helps with that interaction between two individuals to explain an STD that someone might have and what it means for the other person, what it means for them in the long run. Another thing is to always carry a condom around. So you know, condoms are tiny, thin if anything and you can just pop them in your purse. And I tell all my individuals with vulvas. Most commonly is a condom a male condom, designed for the penis, you can carry your purse too. There's no reason that your male counterpart has to be the one responsible for carrying a condom. Carry one in your purse too and you can, you can carry another one, which is to be used as a dental ban. For example, for oral sex, you know, when we when we engage sexually with somebody else, and there's a lot of physical connection with them. We take precaution within reason. If we are worried, to the point of even encountering a sexually transmitted infection, through physical activity, like kissing, you're not present during your intimacy, your focus. Because you're highly anxious about what you might contract. And you will not be having the intimacy that you thought you would you will, not be having the arousal that you thought you would, you will not be having the orgasms or the pleasure that because your mind stripped off and you're anxious about separate issue. So everything within reason, do things within reason, take your precaution, within reason. And allow yourself to worry about things but as long as you've done whatever you can, yeah, stop there.

Smile Makers , 18:57
So condoms, regular checkups, and open communication. That's your tips with exits.

Dr Jess , 19:03
Yeah.

Smile Makers , 19:04
Thanks so much, Dr. Jess, that was very enlightning. We hope you enjoyed this episode of Clitastic Chronicles and found snippets of wisdom that you can apply to your own sexual health. If you like this podcast, share it around with your friends and give us a five star review on Apple podcasts or wherever you're getting your podcasts from. This will help us make it easy to find. For more sex positivity. head to our website at SmileMakersCollection.com See you there.
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