“Are you sexually active?”
Almost everyone has heard this question when you go to a family doctor for a checkup. Whether it’s in a physical or when making an appointment to get an STI test, it’s a pretty standard checkup question. Even though the answer may seem simple, be careful — various assumptions may be hazardous to your health.
The question is obviously most important in terms of contraception and STI protection. However, being “sexually active” means very different things to different people.
The line is a little blurred as to what doctors consider “sexually active”. Does your train of thought go a little like this?
“I fingered someone the other day, but I’ve never had penetrative vaginal-penile intercourse. And by finger, I mean in the butt. And by finger, I mean fist. And by fist, I mean something like a five-finger-duck-lips-motion. I don’t know if the doctor is only referring to vaginal-penile intercourse but if I thought the duck-finger thing counts as being ‘sexually active’ and say yes, I might get a lecture about birth control. A worse case would be if the doctor was referring to any physical sexual contact and I thought it meant only vaginal-penile intercourse. If I say ‘no’, I might not get any information at all! What if I had vaginal-penile intercourse but there was no cumming into anyone? Does that count?”
If you’ve experienced a situation like this, the best thing to do might just be to either ask your doctor to be more specific, or tell them about the specific actions you’ve been up to. Maybe you’re not comfortable telling the doctor about the whole duck-lips thing, or that he doesn’t really cum in you (except for that one time, but it was an accident), but it’s probably better than having to come back for an antibiotic prescription for an infection you caught later on. Try to find a cool doctor you can be honest with!
This blog is being run in conjunction with the Sexual Health Resource Centre, located in the JDUC, room 223. Follow them on Twitter @shrckingston.
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