New Partner? 8 Things To Know Before Sex

A sexy couple cuddling in front of a bedBefore you get horizontal, you need to get answers.

Virtually everyone, at least theoretically, is risking their health with a new sexual partner. But how and when do you bring up the conversation of sexual health when you’re in the beginning stages of getting to know someone?

READ: Can Oral Sex Cause Cancer?

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I doubt many people carry around medical records on dates, so it’s not like a person can pull test results out of their wallet. If you’re comfortable enough with the person, is there anything wrong with asking to take a trip to the doctor’s office? Even once the results are back, there is still no guarantee that everything’s good to go. So then it comes down to a matter of trust.

READ: You Sext Me…But Do You Know Me?

A closer look at statistics show that women and minorities carry most of the burden of sexually transmitted infections in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control. Not only are complex, long-standing issues of health disparities among minorities to blame for this disproportionate impact, but simple female anatomy remains a risk factor as well.

Before hopping into bed with a new sex partner, have an open and honest conversation about your sexual histories, risks, and the last time you were tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Knowing someone’s test results isn’t enough. Even if your partner tested negative for HIV last week, it doesn’t mean he or she isn’t HIV positive. Most HIV tests can only detect the virus starting three to six months after infection—so you should ask about your partner’s sexual history for the past six months.

READ: Black Men & HIV: What Every Black Woman Needs To Know

Here’s what you need to find out. Of course, you probably won’t get too far down the list if you just roll out the interrogation; but these are the questions you really do need answers to, one way or another. One option: Start by sharing your own history, and see what you get back. Experts suggest sharing your own history first to make this fact-finding mission seem less like an inquisition.

  1. What’s your HIV status?
  2. Have you ever had a sexual transmitted infection (STI)? Were you treated?
  3. How many partners have you had since you were last tested for HIV and other STIs?
  4. Have you been diagnosed with an STI in the past six months?
  5. If you have genital warts or herpes, are you having outbreaks? Are you being treated?
  6. Do you have any problem using a condom?
  7. What kind of birth control are you currently using?
  8. What sexual activities do you prefer?

READ: Sex Superbug?

So, About Those Blue Artifical Sweetener Packets…

Sugar packets on a tableIs aspartame, a popular artificial sweetener commonly found in many different types of beverages and foods, and sold as Equal and NutraSweet, safe?

READ: Artificial Sweeteners: Good Or Bad For Your Weight?


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The European Food Safety Authority says the artificial sweetener aspartame is safe at the levels currently used in food and drinks. Aspartame has been used in soft drinks and other low-calorie or sugar-free foods for more than 25 years.

READ: The Healthiest Ways To Sweeten Up

Alicja Mortensen, PhD, of the authority says in a news release that the study is “one of the most comprehensive risk assessments of aspartame ever undertaken.”

The authority says it reviewed all available scientific research on aspartame. It included both animal and human studies and published and unpublished research.

The study ruled out a potential risk of aspartame causing damage to genes and causing cancer. It says there is no evidence that the sweetener harms the brain, the nervous system, or affects behavior or mental skills in children or adults.

READ: Is Sugar The Cause Of Your High Blood Pressure?

The study makes clear that the breakdown products of aspartame (phenylalanine, methanol, and aspartic acid) are also naturally present in some foods. Aspartame’s contribution toward the overall dietary exposure to these substances is low, the study found.

The authority also says the sweetener poses no risk to a developing baby.
In the U.S., the National Cancer Institute has said there is no evidence linking aspartame and cancer.

READ: Sweeteners You WANT In Your Kitchen


There is one group of people who cannot safely eat or drink aspartame products. Patients with the inherited medical condition phenylketonuria (PKU) must follow a diet low in phenylalanine because they are unable to metabolize it. All food products containing aspartame are clearly labeled.