Beyond the Swipe: Talking About Sexual Health on a Date

woman in white dress lying on white bed

The first-date jitters are real, right? You’ve messaged, you’ve matched, and now you’re sat face-to-face with your new crush, hoping for sparks to fly. But amidst the awkward jokes, the small talk, and nervous laughter, there’s an important topic that often gets pushed aside: sexual health…

While it might not be the most romantic conversation starter, openly discussing sexual health on a date is crucial for establishing a safe and enjoyable foundation for any potential intimacy that may follow. Here’s how to navigate this conversation with confidence and clarity. (without scaring the other person off!)

Why Talk About Sexual Health on a Date?

OK, so perhaps talking about your sexual history on a first date might not be appropriate – unless, of course, both you and your prospective partner feel comfortable with each other and sex is the direction your conversations naturally flow toward.

In any case, open communication about sexual health is essential for several reasons:

  • Safety First: Knowing your partner’s STI status helps ensure a safe and healthy sexual experience for both of you.
  • Avoiding Awkward Surprises: Discussing birth control preferences beforehand prevents last-minute scrambling. That, and if you haven’t brought a condom and you assume your partner will be down and dandy for the unprotected pull-out method, you’ll likely be very disappointed.
  • Building Trust and Respect: Open communication about intimacy demonstrates care and respect for your partner’s well-being, thus fostering trust in the long run.
  • Setting Healthy Boundaries: Talking about sexual health allows you to set clear expectations and boundaries right from the start, ensuring you are both on the same page.

Creating the Right Moment:

Again, the first date might not be the ideal time for an in-depth discussion about past sexual partners or specific medical history. However, there are ways to subtly integrate the topic into the conversation – especially if it seems that your evening is heading towards the bedroom.

  • Look for Natural Openings: Conversations about past travel experiences could lead to a discussion about safe sex practices while abroad. Talking about hobbies or interests might open the door to discussing fitness routines and overall health, which can segue into sexual wellness.
  • Keep it Casual and Conversational: There’s no need for a formal script or awkward pronouncements. A simple “So, are you generally pretty health-conscious?” can be a springboard for a more open discussion.

Conversation Starters:

It’s not always easy to initiate a conversation about sex and sexual health. But don’t worry if you feel a little overwhelmed; here are some conversation starters that can subtly pave the way for a discussion about sexual health:

  • “What kind of activities do you like to do to stay healthy?” (This opens the door to discussing fitness routines and overall well-being, which can lead to sexual health.)
  • “Do you have any upcoming travel plans?” (This can lead to a conversation about safe sex practices while traveling.)
  • “Have you ever volunteered for any health-related causes?” (This can spark a conversation about their general views on health and potentially sexual health.)

Addressing Sensitive Topics Like STIs and Birth Control:

Once you’ve established some openness, addressing more specific topics like STIs and birth control becomes easier. Here are some tips:

  • Normalize the Conversation: Let your date know you believe it’s important to be upfront about sexual health. You can say something like, “I think it’s important to be open about these things, especially when things are starting to get more physical.” This is an effective way to gauge their attitude towards safe sex and wellness.
  • Focus on Shared Safety: Frame the conversation as a way to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for both of you. You could say, “I recently got tested, and I was wondering if you’ve been tested lately?”
  • Be Respectful of Boundaries: If your date seems hesitant or uncomfortable, don’t pressure them. Let them know you’re happy to talk about it another time or simply respect their privacy.


  • Consent is Key: Open communication about sexual health should always happen within the framework of consent. Make sure your date feels comfortable and respected throughout the conversation.
  • Focus on Respect and Care: Approach the conversation with genuine concern for your partner’s well-being.
  • Be Honest and Upfront: It’s important to be honest about your own sexual health status and preferences.
  • Listen Actively: Pay attention to your date’s responses and be open to their perspectives. This isn’t a one-way conversation.
  • Don’t Pressure or Shame: If the conversation doesn’t go as planned, don’t pressure your date or make them feel ashamed. You can always revisit the topic later.
  • Accept That You May Not Be Compatible: Not every date is going to end in a lasting relationship. Be accepting of that fact that keeps your options open.

Beyond the First Date:

A conversation about sexual health on the first date doesn’t have to be a one-time thing. As your relationship progresses, these conversations should become more open and detailed. Discussing sexual fantasies, desires, and boundaries with honesty and respect can deepen intimacy and create a fulfilling sexual connection.

This is especially important if you like to incorporate sex toys (or Sexspielzeug as they say in Germany) into your extracurricular bedroom activities – but again, be patient and respectful of other people’s boundaries.

Remember, open communication about sexual health is a sign of maturity and a foundation for a healthy, respectful, and enjoyable relationship. By creating a safe space for dialogue to take place, you can ensure a pleasurable and healthy intimacy with your prospective partner.

We hope that you have found this article to be insightful and now have more confidence going on a new date and broaching such sensitive—yet irrefutably important—subjects. Good luck, and stay safe!