When a client comes to see me about divorcing their partner because they’ve discovered he or she has been unfaithful, their pain is often red raw. They will usually dwell on the emotional and physical betrayal, and understandably so.
I am, of course, very sympathetic and willing to listen to them talk about their confusion and feelings of rejection.
However, I also feel duty-bound to raise the delicate matter of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). For if a husband or wife has committed adultery, it’s at least possible, if not probable, that they have contracted an STI from his new partner without realising it.
Ironically, older age groups may be more at risk of getting – and so passing on – STIs because in their minds protective “barrier” contraception is linked with preventing unwanted pregnancy and very little else.
Finding out that your partner has bedded a prostitute might be particularly distasteful, but prostitutes – at least in some countries, such as the UK – are likely to use barrier methods of contraception to guard against sexual infection.
It is difficult to raise the possibility of STIs with mature clients, who may not have given it a thought, as it only adds to their anguish. Yet it is advice I make sure I always give – get yourself checked out to make sure you’ve not caught anything from your adulterous spouse.
It may be that a client is infected with an STI but doesn’t recognise it as such. Thrush, for instance, can be transmitted sexually, but women might be baffled as to why they keep getting it.
At Benussi & Co, we have access to a private doctor, Dr Ted Hiscock, who specialises in sexual health and is very experienced in the treatment of STIs. He is extremely discreet and by referring clients to him it saves them the indignity of going to what used to be called the “pox” or “clap” clinic.
If you are a wife or husband who’s recently discovered your spouse has slept with someone else, I would urge you to check you haven’t caught anything nasty. They may have been unfaithful with only one person, but can they vouch for how many partners their new partner’s had?