The CHIP Safe Sex Conversation
Countries like the US are very bad at talking about sex, let along knowing how to bring up a responsible conversation. Communication is key, and it can be pretty sexy if you approach it with a "I like you, so let's be adults about this". Your partner should immediately appreciate that you took the initiative (even in the heat of the moment) to suggest you be responsible grown ups and take just a tiny amount of time aside to make sure you don't end up with a lifelong STD in the morning.
I've seen a few different safe sex talk formats, but the problem is they were all too long to remember. Safe Sex talk which distills a number of way more verbose systems into a system you can remember:
- C.H.I.P. - Consent, History, Integrity Protection.
Here's how you start:
Hey, so would you like to have an adult conversation. .................... Okay great I think you are terrific and I'm interested in the possibility of sex and/or trying something new.
- So I'm interested in the possibility of sex [or-specific-new-type-of-sex].
- I would love to hear all of your boundaries regarding consent.
It's taken year to realize how important it is to ask for consent, and one of the unexpected good things to come out of covid is that people realize even a kiss should be prefixed with a "can I please kiss you" (see: consenttokiss.com). Sex positive people will also realize that this is the right moment to voice their specific boundaries - some concise examples include: "nothing anal" / "no rough biting" / "I don't like my nipples touched" / "I would love it if ...", "I'm uncomfortable with ...", or and so on. This will improve everyone's experience. Every person is unique and may have triggers. Coercion is not consent.
- Before we continue, it's important we give our STD history.
- I am clean, I was last tested X months ago (results on my phone), and have had X unprotected partners since.
Are you recently tested?
If someone has an STD don't freak out - over 50% of sexually active Americans have caught one or more STDs (HPV especially), many are removable (Chlamydia) or can be protected against. Be incredibly thankful you asked (phew), incredibly appreciative of their vulnerability, then look it up together on beforeplay.org/stds/ (great resource) to maturely decide how to proceed. If you haven't been tested in the last few months try STD Testing - The Correct Way for advice on getting tested for as many STDs as possible. Most STD appointments by your doctor will only cover a few (HIV/chlamydia/gonorrhea), unless you specially ask for the works.
Update: During pandemic times you should also talk about your COVID-19 history, in terms of exposure and your latest COVID-19 test.
- In term of integrity, I just want you to know I care about your health, so if anything changes with our situation I will let you know.
If you build a connection with someone and sleep with them, there's a good chance you'll have sex again, and this comment acknowledges that you don't just have this conversation once and assume you are good forever. You are holding yourself to a high level of integrity and that means they will most likely raise up their integrity and their immediately respect for your maturity.
- I [do/do not] always use condoms and I'm also curious what forms of protection you might be on.
Aside from STDs, the best partners should talk about what birth control they are on. Some men have had a snip-snip, and many women cannot take birth control because it adversely affects them. Birth control or not, you'll still want a condom against STDs, but at least you can be more confident that you won't be a baby daddy / baby mama in 9 months.
The Importance of This Conversation
The topic of safe sex is one I’m very passionate about and the C.H.I.P. system on the previous page works. Once you get good at it, sex becomes better, more frequent, more connected and far, far safer. Women love it when you can be straightforward and reasonable. Men might be scared at first, but will appreciate it too. The impact we can have on the world if this takes off is tremendous. Just in the United States alone we have the potential to reduce the insane high rates of:
- STDs ............................ (50% of sexually active people aged >25)
- Sexual assault ................ (25% of women aged >21)
- Unwanted pregnancy ......... (I bet you know someone in your family)
All of this is preventable with better communication.
Taking this Further
In 2020 I published the CHIP safe sex talk for the first time as a tiny section in a playful book called "Ice Cream = Sex" (by Andrew Noske, PhD)... but that's just a modest start. I want it to become viral one day.
If I can find a business partner I want to take C.H.I.P. to the people. I want celebrities to demonstrate the talk, and properly launch my phone app which guides people through the process - whether it's: (a) the heat of the moment, (b) a responsible girl texting these questions before a third date or even (c) a couple who’s been together for years, but maybe never deeply investigated the layers of integrity and birth control options I have linked into my app.
I've already written the script - I want Chris Hemsworth and Jennifer Lawrence as my first choice. Once it goes viral.... well we turn it into a set of videos (different scenarios) and we can help change the way the world approaches sex - especially in countries where the sex education is poor and people are clueless how to have "the chat" that could save their lives.
- STD Testing - The Correct Way - An article I wrote explaining how to get tested properly.