How long do I wait before I tell a woman that I suspect she has Bacterial Vaginosis?
Image I had one of the best first dates of my life and while we both thought we shouldn't make love on the first date we couldn't resist the next morning. Being in the medical profession, I have a nose for spotting, or should I say smelling, Bacterial Vaginosis (B.V.) even when its not frankly obvious to the lay person. My question is, how many dates, nights together, weeks, should we date before I can suggest that maybe she should take a trip to her OBGYN or Family Practioner / N.P. / P.A. and do a KOH whiff test? Or maybe I could suggest that she go to the GYN-o to learn about the Neuva Ring and get her yearly a little early. I'm a pretty outspoken person and if we had been dating exclusively for a while, I'd probably tell her sometime the next day - but this is someone I just met and I want to bite my tongue for a bit until she knows me better. At the same time, I know that B.V. is such an easy fix that I'd prefer it be addressed sooner rather than later. Advice?

Image This seems like a questioned best suited for the column in the NY Times called The Ethicist but let me take a stab at it. Bacterial Vaginosis is often a sign that a woman has had many sex partners. Assuming that’s the case with this woman, it might suggest that she has other diseases. So while the danger of B.V. in a non-pregnant woman is negligible to the woman or to her partner, that she has B.V. might still represent a potential threat to you. Under normal circumstances you two should have had a talk about sex before you engaged in it, including whether or not either of you were infected with an STD. But since you weren’t planning on it, I’m pretty sure you didn’t. And as you, a medical student, know, condoms don’t offer complete protection. So before you have sex again, you two need to talk. And during that talk, it would not be out of place for you to mention what your nose discovered. Will she be embarrassed? Of course, but if she’s made so uncomfortable by this news that she doesn’t want to see you again, then she’d be exhibiting a personality fault that should make you not want to continue to date her.

There was a time when subjects like vaginal infections weren’t discussed, even between married partners. Of course “way back then” people didn’t have sex on the first date. So we all have to adapt to these changing times, and one of those adaptations has to be to accept communications on all manner of subjects that were once taboo. So my answer to your question is to tell her, but in the context of the larger subject of safer sex.

 
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