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Advice, Features

Ask a Sexologist: Choosing a lube and telling partners about an STI

Our resident sexologist Richelle Menzies answers more of your sex and relationship questions.

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I’ve just received a diagnosis of chlamydia

This is not my first rodeo with a sexually transmitted infection, and I’m not too worried about it – I’ve already received my treatment, and my doctor will confirm soon that the infection is gone.

The slightly difficult part now is contact tracing, since I’m not exactly monogamous.

I’ve let my partners know that they need to get tested. There was one guy I’ve only hooked up with once, and I’m a bit nervous about how to tell him. 

I’m also a big fan of anonymous sex at venues, so unfortunately there’s a few guys who should probably be getting tested, but I wouldn’t know how to begin to contact them.

Do you have any advice on what I should do?

– Glory Hole Lover

Dear Glory Hole Lover,

You can contact trace anonymously through a variety of means. Check out these guidelines and resources

Your local state health service will often have a means for you to contact trace. You can contact your doctor or local Department of Health for assistance.

For the sex on premises venues, you could let the venue know to put up a sign about testing and that there has been a reported case on a specific date (if you know when you were there). No one needs to know who it was, but just that they may be at risk.


I’ve been a lifelong user of water-based lubes, based on the ubiquitous advice that this is the best kind. 

However, I’ve increasingly noticed that some water-based products are irritating to my mucous membranes and can even cause me a bit of stingy pain when bottoming. 

I’ve found silicone lubes tend to suit me the best, and sometimes I use something different like Vaseline or sorbolene cream. 

Do you have any advice on how good these different kinds of lubes are likely to be in terms of body safety and compatibility with toys?

– Slippery

Dear Slippery,

Silicone lube is awesome for bottoming but not recommended if you are using silicone toys. This can be overcome by using condoms on any toys.

Vaseline can be used but may damage latex condoms. It is recommended for external use only, and it can increase the risk of some infections due to changing pH balance. 

Sorbolene and other moisturisers may cause irritation, depending on what is in them.

My suggestion is to stick to silicone lubes, or a water and silicone hybrid. Check out more information about options here

Send your anonymous questions about sex, gender, and relationships to Richelle at Ask a Sexologist.

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