Worried About Dating Safely

Q: I'm heading back into the dating world after the death of my wife. How many women over 60 have some kind of STD? How do you ask them if they have been checked without hurting their feelings? It's scary just how many STDs are going around these days. I have never had one single thing like that in my life. I don't want women to think I am some kind of prude. I just want to be safe and well. -- Jim, 65

Dr. Susan: I don't have statistics on how many older women have found themselves afflicted with one or another STD, but it's reasonable to be concerned. What you need to know is that most women are at least as worried as you are. It's not prudish to care about your health. I would suggest you bring up the subject of how scary dating is at this point in your life, what with all the diseases that are now out there. When to bring that up? When you are interested in someone enough to want to get intimate. It's an "I will if you will" type of situation: let's both get checked for all sorts of STDs and then we can relax and know we're safe. You can kiss and cuddle (and other things) before that point, of course, but before sleeping with strangers, it's wise to bring up health fears. And you may find yourself liking someone so much that even viruses that used to be scary may be less so once you have all the facts.

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