Frank discussions about the importance of being tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as chlamydia are the most important indicator of a lasting relationship, according to a surprising new survey out today.
A poll of over 1,000 young adults found that nearly three quarters (70 per cent) rank discussing STI tests together as the most important sign that a new relationship will last. This has overtaken more traditional milestones such as meeting the parents (66 per cent) or friends (40 per cent).
The research was conducted on behalf of the Chlamydia. Worth Talking About campaign which encourages sexually active under-25-year-olds to say ‘yes’ to chlamydia testing.
The results provide a snapshot of modern relationships in the UK, with young adults indicating that they thought getting past the following milestones would lead to long-lasting relationship success:
1. Discussing STI tests together – 70 per cent
2. Meeting the parents – 66 per cent
3. Not always having to wear makeup – 47 per cent
4. Meeting friends – 40 per cent
5. Being given space in the cupboard to leave clothes – 30 per cent
However, while respondents aspire to have open and honest conversations with new sexual partners, many get tongue-tied. The majority (73 per cent) have never raised the subject of STIs with a new partner before having sex for the first time, while a third (30 per cent) feel uncomfortable asking a new partner to use a condom.
Lack of confidence is the problem, with more than one in four respondents (27 per cent) admitting that they are too embarrassed to talk to their partner about subjects including safe sex, STIs and contraception.
Sex and relationship expert Dr Catherine Hood, said: “These findings reveal much about the modern relationship game. While many young couples realise the significance of being able to talk openly about accepting tests for STIs, sheer embarrassment is preventing them from doing so, and potentially risking their sexual health as well as the future of their relationship.”
The research identifies a critical window of opportunity during the start of a relationship to get things right. Almost a third of respondents (29 per cent) believe that for a relationship to last, new couples need to have had an open discussion about STIs, including chlamydia, within the first three months of making it official. Half of respondents (48 per cent) were clear that a new partner who was unwilling to discuss these topics would not be around for long.
“Chlamydia often doesn’t have any symptoms, and so the only way for young people to find out if they have it is to say ‘yes’ to a free chlamydia test if they are offered one by a healthcare professional. If left untreated, chlamydia can lead to infertility and other serious health problems, and so it’s vital that new couples take responsibility for their own sexual health by talking openly about safe sex,” concludes Dr Catherine.
tagged in Sexual Health