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And somewhere within that window, you can launch into this: You: “I like you, and I want to be honest with you before things go any further….” She thinks, while crapping her pants: “He has kids I don’t know about, he’s married, he’s a convicted felon…” You: “I have ____ STD [more information about what that means for her that you’ve thoughtfully obtained from your doctor.]” She thinks, somewhat relieved: “Thank god he’s not married…” You: “I wanted to make sure you have had time to think about this before we have sex.

I know that it’s kind of an awkward thing to talk about, but I hope if you have any questions you’ll ask me.” She thinks: “I’m not stoked he has an STD, but this guy is really sensitive and thoughtful.” STDs are (unfortunately) a part of many, many people’s lives—some stats say over 50%.

Marie Claire: How has having a STI affected your dating life?

One in every six people between the ages of 14-49 have it, and the majority don't even know (! To help us demystify the experience, we spoke with herpes-positive blogger Ella Dawson, 23, to tell us about what really happens when you date with the STI.

There are many, and not all of them will be easy ones to make. Honestly, in a healthy relationship, intimacy should be talked about before you engage in sexual activities, not after the fact, or while you are taking your clothes off.

But, rest assured, with a little background knowledge, and some research of your own, you will be better equipped to tackle those questions. For me, the talk – after the fact – my girlfriend at the time, and still current, called me up and said we need to talk. First and foremost, I had to decide if ‘the juice was worth the squeeze’, as I like to refer to it as, or in laymen’s terms, is this woman worth continuing a relationship with now that I know she has an STD?

Finally, do some research on your own about the STD in question and get the facts.

It has never been my desire to be in a relationship like this.And, one of the greatest dichotomies is that the VERY thing, for me, that demonstrates my true love for a man is to have an intimate sexual relationship with him.I've given myself to very few men over the years, and one of these very few men (who happens to be married, but we are in an open relationship together with his wife's consent, we are essentially "friends with benefits"); well, he was someone that I've always believed cared for me. And what makes this whole situation even worse is that he TOLD me he had it and I didn't take any precautions to protect myself. I've even told my friends that "he didn't know he had it" because I can't even admit to myself that I didn't look out for myself the way I should have.I have many reasons for engaging in this kind of relationship (a very long story) but believe me, it's not my long term choice.I want an exclusive and totally loving relationship with a man who adores me and I him.

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