If you think having an STI means your sex life is over, this post is for you!

Not only is a great love and sex life still possible… You can enjoy sexual intimacy just as much as someone who’s STI-free. But you have to make it to first base to kick things off.

Sometimes those living with an STI struggle with determining when or if to discuss their status with a partner. Fear, embarrassment, and shame are all contributors.

But there is a way to talk about this and enjoy your sexuality even when you have an STI. And waiting to announce your status in the midst of getting down and dirty, can sometimes be an awkward or uncomfortable way to do it.


Contracting a sexually transmitted infection is not the end of the world. Sure, extra precautions will be necessary going forward. And you’re going to have to tackle the conversation surrounding your status. If you play your cards right… and the person is the right person… You can have a loving relationship and fulfilling sex life just like anyone else.

Now let’s dive into a few of the best ways to keep it safe and sexy when you have an STI.

An STI Doesn’t Make You Dirty or Unworthy

I want to start here because much of the negativity surrounding STI conversations stems from this misconception. Getting an STI doesn’t make someone dirty or bad. I don’t use that language when I share my status with a partner. I prefer to say, “I’m clear for x, y, and z” instead of “I’m clean…”. This could help a person who may need to share a positive result with you feel more comfortable. Besides, people contract STIs for all types of reasons and none of them have anything to do with being “dirty”:

  • Broken condom
  • Neglecting to inquire about a partner’s sexual status before engaging in unprotected sex
  • Careless with using protection

And honestly, it’s also possible to get an STI without even having sex (for example, kissing a relative [herpes], health care workers getting stuck by an infected needle [HIV], or babies get it in childbirth [chlamydia]).

Bad decisions and accidents are a part of life. We’ve all had our share. We know some carry a bigger price tag than others.

Despite a culture that would have you feel terrible about yourself for getting an STI, there’s no need to internalize the shame or guilt.

Understand that you are worthy and lovable. An STI isn’t the death sentence it used to be (all are treatable and most are curable), and it doesn’t have to “ruin” your life.

Finding Love When You’re Positive

True or False:

Love, sex, and intimacy end once you get an STI.



Not only is this wrong… The notion is ridiculous.

Are there going to be a few boneheads out there who will curl their upper lip at you? Of course, there will be. But you wouldn’t want to partner with someone like that whether you were positive or not.

Love, sex, and intimacy are part of the human experience. Your STI status doesn’t have to interfere with your sexuality.

There’s even a TEDx Talk called “STIs aren’t a consequence. They’re inevitable.”

More facts and personal stories?

Also, there are several dating sites specifically dedicated to helping people with STIs find love. Positive Singles.com is a great place to start. They come highly recommended by several experts. They provide a safe, non-judgmental space for love seekers to meet. You can also take a look at a list of the best STI dating sites in 2018 here.

There’s Finding Love the Old-Fashioned Way Too

Meeting the love of your life on aisle six at the grocery store isn’t impossible. Sure, technology has placed love connections at our fingertips. But fate can cause you to bump into Mr. or Ms. Right in public too.

The key takeaway here is to remain open to all romantic possibilities. Chances are you’re more hung up on your status than your potential lover is.


To Withhold Status or Not to Withhold… That is the Question

Boy… That’s a loaded question. But we’re going to work through it bit by bit.

Meeting on an Online Dating Site Geared Towards STI Love Connections

If you meet on these terms, you’ve already won half the battle. From the beginning, you know that you’re meeting someone who is open to dating someone with an STI. This usually occurs for one of two reasons.

One, the person may have an STI themselves. That means they’re already in the same boat. They understand how tough it can be to share this part of yourself with someone else. A certain level of understanding, relatability, and compassion is intuitive for this person.

Second reason?

They could be an open-minded person who’s STI free. Such awesome individuals exist. This type of dating platform can be the perfect place to find them.

Still struggling with what to say? This site has some info specifically related to dating with herpes and telling potential partners:


Even though these factors lessen the barrier for you finding love… It’s still important to clearly acknowledge your status. Keep in mind that the odds of you being judged or rejected is very low under these circumstances.

When Dating Someone Who’s in the Dark about Your Status

That’s where things can get a little tricky. We probably agree that it’s not cool to omit crucial information even with minor things. So, withholding information that can potentially impact someone’s health? Unacceptable.

To see how it works to disclose up front, check out what Ashley Manta has to say: She shares her experience of living with and dating while having an STI.

Disclose Your Status Before Engaging in a Sexual Relationship

This is another alternative. Who knows if or when you plan on entering into a sexual relationship with this person. This time frame gives you enough room to enjoy a few dates, share some laughs, and decide if the relationship is even worth going the distance.

That sets the stage for a few things:

  • It takes some of the pressure off you
  • It gives your potential partner a chance to get to know you
  • You’ll only share confidential information with someone who’s worthy


Practice Makes Perfect

Committing to having the talk is one thing. But finding the right words to say… that can be tougher. Here are some tips.

Reid Mihalko’s “Safer Sex Elevator Speech” is an excellent resource for navigating the dialogue. He includes practical tips and resources to help you handle the conversation like a pro. Trust me. By the time you finish reading or watching Reid’s Elevator Speech, the idea of having the STI conversation won’t sting as much.


Legal Ramifications of Withholding Your Status

Acting as your sexuality tutor, I’m obligated to present the cold, hard facts. Sharing your STI status stretches far beyond personal choice and showing courtesy to a sexual partner. Withholding your status actually has the potential to turn into a legal nightmare. Even if you were to accidentally infect a partner, you can be charged with a civil or legal crime.

Check out this article to grab the details regarding the legal consequences you can face when failing to disclose your STI status to a sexual partner.


How to Enjoy a Satisfying Sex Life in Spite of Your Status

Now that we’ve gotten the introductions, legal jargon, and elevator speech out of the way…

Let’s get down to the good stuff.

Follow these tips and you’ll be steaming it up between the sheets in no time.

Maintain Open and Honest Dialogue with Your Partner

Keeping the lines of communication open is essential. It’s important for you and your partner to create a safe environment where you can express your feelings without fear of judgment or rejection.


Incorporate Safer Sex Protocols

Of course, your candid conversations will determine how comfortable you and your partner are when it comes to using protection. But it’s a good rule of thumb to use condoms, dental dams, and gloves when engaging in sex. This will lower the risk of spreading the infection.

Enjoy Sizzling Hot Sex Positions

There’s no reason to sacrifice satisfying sex positions. Once you and your partner agree on acceptable sex practices, you have permission to keep it red hot.

What to Do Next

Now the ball is in your court. You have the tips and tools to keep it sexy and safe.

Final Tips:

  • Remember contracting an STI doesn’t make you dirty or bad
  • Practice your safer sex elevator speech by role-playing the conversation with a trusted friend> It does make it easier to do out in the wild.
  • Disclose your status before engaging in sex
  • Get tested often
  • Enjoy satisfying sex

Give these tips a try, and let me know how it works out.


The MamaSutra

About the Author

The MamaSutra

Dr. Lanae St.John is a Diplomate of the American Board of Sexology and certified sex coach with a background in sexology and a passion for helping people improve their sexual health and relationships. She is the author of "Read Me: A Parental Primer for "The Talk"" and the upcoming "You Are the One: How stopping the search and looking inside will lead you to your romantic destiny," and is committed to staying up-to-date on the latest research and trends in the field. Dr. St.John aims to share her knowledge and expertise in a relatable and approachable way through her blog on themamasutra.com.

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