Mancunian matters of the heart: My girlfriend has an STI – has she cheated?

Bored in the bedroom? Fretting over infidelity? Whatever your love dilemmas are, MM’s agony aunt Kim Reader has the answer.

This week, MM’s very own agony aunt hears from a lesbian who thinks her partner may have cheated with a man because of a trip to the doctors.

If you have a question for Kim, you can email us here.


Dear Kim,

I’m 18. I am a lesbian, who’s been in a loving, committed (or so I thought) relationship for a year. But the other day my partner told me she has an STI, in fact she has Chlamydia.

She had been sore, she got it checked out and I’m glad she’s getting it treated BUT… Does this mean she is cheating or has cheated on me with a guy?!

I can’t believe I’m asking this, because everything has seemed fine between us, but I didn’t think we were at risk. We don’t share toys.

Hope you get back to me!

Thin Lezzy


Dear Thin Lezzy,

No. Not at all.

Don’t get me wrong, I cannot tell you for certain that your partner is not cheating on you, with either a woman or a man, but the STI is certainly not evidence to be held against her.

STIs can be transmitted through girl-on-girl sexual relations even if you are not sharing or, even, using sex toys at all.

Also, many STIs, including Chlamydia can remain symptomless for extended periods of time so your partner could have contracted the disease long before you two got together and the symptoms are only just presenting themselves now.

Before I delve deeper into the ‘is she or is she not cheating’ debate, I think we need to talk about STIs in a more general sense.

You are young and most young people aren’t even asking these questions so thank you. But for you to go on having a healthy, safe sex life you need to know how at risk you are even as a lesbian.

I’m not saying be terrified of sex, because disease is lurking around the next corner. If you’re in a loving committed relationship you should enjoy each other’s’ bodies and your sexuality. Heck, if you weren’t in a monogamous relationship I’d say enjoy the bodies of whoever you want and wants you back. It is good for you psychologically, physically and romantically. But be careful. Use protection.

Often in the discussion about safe sex we hear a lot about woman-on-man and man-on-man sex, but not an awful lot about lesbians. That doesn’t mean you’re exempt. That is some serious wishful thinking.

During digital stimulation, mutual masturbation, oral sex and tribadism (more commonly known as scissoring) you are sharing your love, but also your bodily fluids, germs and bacteria… Hot stuff, I know.

This may not be the biggest turn on ever, but it is a reality. So, here are some tips for lesbian action without the risks.

  • Do not give oral sex if you have any cuts or sores in or around your mouth and lips. Or you can use a dental dam, a square, thin sheet of latex which when placed over the genitals acts as a barrier to prevent infection.
  • Personal hygiene is key. Make sure you wash your hands before sex and keep your fingernails trimmed and tidy. Stepping into the shower together can be a soapy, steamy way to start any love-making session. (Always Ph neutral soaps for down there, please!)
  • A finger cot or gloves provide protection in case of chafing or sores on the hands and fingers. And if you do move on to using sex toys, always use a condom EACH.
  • See your GP or visit a GUM clinic. Regular check-ups are always best, but definitely go if you experience any suspicious symptoms. Such symptoms include: any change in your vaginal discharge, pain during sex or while pissing, sores around your genitals or mouth, bleeding (‘spotting’) at unusual times of the month or between your periods.
  • Last but not least, be honest! If you are having sexual relations with one or multiple partners, you owe it to them to be straight with them if you are diagnosed with any form of STI. You don’t need to give each other the third degree about each other’s sexual past or, indeed, present. Just communicate so the suitable medical advice/treatment can be obtained.

So far all you can know for certain is that your partner has been honest with you. This is a sign of respect and how much she cares for you. Also she has been comfortable enough to tell you something, which can be so embarrassing to tell anyone!

The first thing you should be doing is booking an appointment with the doctor because if you two have been having sex you could also have Chlamydia.

Also, if your partner has an STI she caught before she was with you, does not mean she has been promiscuous! All it can take is one lapse in judgement or one unknowing or unwilling to be truthful sexual partner and that’s that. Do not judge her. 

Moving on to your very human fear of being cheated on… We can be so inclined to assume the worst and jump to conclusions when so often what you see is what you get and there is really nothing more to it. You say everything seems fine in your relationship then it probably is.

Everyone has their insecurities and no relationship is without its own flaws, but in a world where we’re hammered with statistics about more than 50% of marriages ending in divorce, it can be hard to let ourselves be vulnerable and trust another – if you really love her, you just have to do it.

I bet you’ve been working yourself up about this, getting upset. I know I would be doing the exact same. But thing how you would feel if you were in her position? She will be able to tell that something is up with you and is most likely as confused and hurt as you’ve been.

Talk to her. Tell her you’re worried, tell her why. She may get angry or offended but then you’ve opened up a dialogue about an issue with trust in the relationship, which can easily be fixed if you both keep being honest and loving.

Or maybe you’ll find out she has cheated on you and you’ll get angry. But isn’t it better to know than to wonder? At least then you have hard facts to back a decision to end the relationship or try to work harder. I know that might sound a bit blasé, of course knowing is painful, but it is better for everyone in the long run.

While every situation is different, how to deal with infidelity in a long-term relationship was something I touched on for another reader a couple of weeks ago.  

I hope this has been helpful. I’m sure in no time you and your partner will have things patched up and you’ll be able to get back to being happy, dancing in the moonlight!

Kim x

Image courtesy of Dave Emmett, with thanks.

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