Gay or Straight: Do STDs Discriminate?

We’ve heard some Beforeplayers ask, “Am I more at risk of getting an STD or STI if I’m gay or lesbian?” The answer is: it’s not about who you are, it’s about what you do.

Just as sexuality, sexual orientation and sexual behaviors span a wide gamut of different lifestyles, STDs don’t pigeonhole themselves either. In today’s world, it doesn’t matter if you’re straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning, experimenting or otherwise, if you’re having sex, you’re at risk for STDs. There are certain kinds of sex or sexual behaviors that put you more at risk.

So, what does put you at higher risk for STD infection? Same goes for everyone:

  • Having lots of sex with lots of people.
  • Not using protection during oral, vaginal or anal sex.

Pretty much any situation that involves genitals touching genitals, mouths or other body orifices can result in STD transmission. Though there is one specific act—anal sex—that does carry a slightly higher risk. This is due to the fact that anal sex can cause tears in the tissue around the anus because there is less natural lubrication, which make a person more susceptible to infection when bodily fluids are being exchanged. Using condoms and lube can help keep you healthy and safe.

To ensure you play it safe when you’re playing up the fun in bed, use condoms all the time, every time. And keep an open conversation with your partner about your sexual health as individuals and as a couple. As long as we all keep talking about it, it’s much easier to stay protected.