Talking about sex can be awkward, but talking about sex with your doctor can feel even more uncomfortable — despite the fact that you’re dealing with a professional. But many find the probing questions doctors ask (for the sake of your health) embarrassing and even avoid going for routine check ups. However, every doctor will tell you there’s nothing to be ashamed of and that the benefits of going for checkups, and being honest in your answers, far outweigh any embarrassment you might feel.

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A recent article on MedicalXpress tackles this topic and provides suggestions on how to make your next sexual health appointment less uncomfortable. Before you put off making that appointment because you don’t have signs of an STI, there are plenty of other reasons you should go proactively.

The website recommends going whenever you have unprotected sex with a new partner, are in a relationship and considering not using condoms or have a partner who discovered they have an STI. As a lot of sexually transmitted infections show no symptoms, it’s advised for anyone having regular sex to get tested.

MedicalXpress says the best way to feel comfortable is to be aware of the types of questions you’ll be asked. Common questions include:

  • When did you last have sex and was it a casual encounter or a partner?

  • How long have you been in a relationship?

  • Did you have sex with a male or female?

  • What kind of sexual activities did you participate in?

  • How many sexual partners have you had in the past year?

  • How often do you use condoms?

  • When was your last sexual health exam?

The website also urges patients to remember that doctors won't be shocked. Anything you tell them is something they've probably heard before. Your doc will keep things confidential, but you can take a friend if it makes you feel more comfortable. And you can stop worrying about skipping that bikini wax as doctors won't be taken aback if you don't groom before the appointment.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, STIs are on the rise and getting tested regularly is important to your sexual health.

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“America’s worsening STD epidemic is a clear call for better diagnosis, treatment, and prevention,” Dr. Jonathan Mermin, M.D., director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and Tuberculosis Prevention, said in a release. “STDs affect people in all walks of life, particularly young women and men, but these data suggest an increasing burden among gay and bisexual men.”

For those without insurance, lower-cost screenings can be found through community organizations, local hospitals and Planned Parenthood.

See Also:

Should I Get STD Check? National Sexual Health Month Reminds Us That Even Couples Should Get Tested

People Who Prefer Casual Sex More At Risk For Sexual Harassment, Study Says