Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Sexual health clinic etiquette . . .

I struggled with my conscience for at least 5 seconds before I began this post and then I thought "what the hell, I'll write it anyway". In this age of reality TV stars, bare all confessions, kiss and tells and twitters, nothing is sacred and nothing has to be private anymore, not even what you do with your privates. God knows I want and need an audience and everybody knows that SEX sells but this post isn't exactly about sex more about where you should go if you've been having copious amounts of it. Whenever I've been for my sexual health MOT I approach it as if I was going to a job interview. I always make sure I look as presentable as possible, professional but never slutty.Although sometimes if you answer the doctors questions honestly, he'll realise that your behaviour is akin to that of a professional slut anyway. I always take a book, something lightweight and controversial, if you live in South East London take a Jackie Collins.If you live in Fulham take a Jilly Cooper - it shows you can read but you're also up for a bit of a slap and tickle. Never, ever take anything political, most of the people in the waiting room may be getting bad news so they don't need to be reminded what a state the country is in and most importantly, always wear some thing you can easily drop to the floor or pull above your head. You don't want to have to strip totally naked in one of those tiny little cubicles where your arse touches one wall and your nose can touch the other.

Depending on where your clinic is it might be advisable to bring a packed lunch.If it's a walk in clinic for gay men and it's based in Soho you're probably best advised to bring a microwave and some ready meals.God knows what time you're going to get out of there. In fact, I'd take a change of clothes, a word search magazine and one of those portable DVD players. Sometimes, if you do get a bit bored waiting you could always strike up a conversation with someone else in the waiting room, although it's probably not best to begin with "Hi, what are you in for?" or "I've got a family size pot of Activia in my bag, would you like some?" In fact, I'd advise against any kind of flirting, eye contact or brushing up against each other in these places, remember what got you there in the first place? Also, could you really imagine going out with someone you met at an STD clinic? You may as well just say you met each other at a sex club during it's quiet period.

Once you're in the consulting room and in (literally) the Dr's hands, I'd still advise acting professional at all times. I try and behave as if I was in a library and remain mute at all times, I only open my mouth if he needs to take a swab. Sometimes the Dr may try to make light of the situation which is always a tricky thing to deal with. I once said to the doctor "excuse me Dr, are you taking the piss?" to which he replied "not yet, you do that yourself in this little cup and then leave it in the hatch behind the door". I will never live that down. Hopefully, all your results will come back fine. Sometimes you have to wait a week and the clinic will text you, which means you spend the whole week  feverishly (actually, if you have a fever you should go back & get tested again) waiting to see if it's good or bad news. I love that sexual health clinics have a "don't call us, we'll call you" attitude. It makes it seem a little more lighthearted, like I've just been for an audition for Annie and I'm waiting to see if I got the part. You must always take as much free stuff as you can in these places. Do not worry if you look like a slut or a sex junkie just because you emptied the whole drawer full of condoms into your bag, you're being responsible and you should be applauded for this, at least you wont catch the clap.

 Lastly, please be aware if you're listening to your ipod and your music is loud you need to have a relevant playlist. Do not play anything that could be mistaken as a sexual invitation, an admission of guilt, any kind of funeral music or anything that has the lyric "love is a burning sensation, far beyond imagination" (there is such a song, I forget who by). Now, you should be good to go and remember, this is one of the only tests in life you didn't have to study for - Happy Testing!


  1. Very insightful and humorous observations Dan. This has given me have a different perspective on STD clinics! Hell I've spent enough time in them over the years...for research purposes naturally :)

  2. So funny, but true !