Safe sex isn't synonymous with condoms, as if that were the only strategy. It strikes me that your own sexual lifestyle is safe, and probably your new partner's is as well. Statistically, the longer a couple takes to get to know each other, the lower the STD risk. Obviously there can be individual exceptions, but when considering the population as a whole, care in partner selection and limiting sex to people who "seem safe" after you get to know them is probably just as important as condom use, maybe more so. In settings like yours, having sex--even first sex--without a condom isn't necessarily unsafe.
To answer your specific questions: IF he has an STD, you likely already are exposed. But the likelihood he is infected is low. Gonorrhea and chlamydia rarely last as long as a year anyway; and the risks for herpes, HIV, hepatitis, etc seem very low. At this juncture, I see no particular reason to start using condoms.
Finally, although couples counseling is not my thing, I suggest you have this same conversation with your partner. It's a good bet he is thinking the same way you are. You might even consider going together for STD evaluation from the same provider. The odds are everything will be negative; you might find it a relation-strengthening experience.
Congratulations on a sensible, level-headed approach to your sexual safety! Best wishes-- HHH, MD
Since you don't know his sexual history, it would be prudent to use protection until you can both get a full STD panel. If at that time you are both clean..Go for it!!!
Having sex unprotected with the thinking "if he has anything I already have it" is not good logic. Although it is doubtful he has anything like gonnorrea or chlamydia given that he has no symptoms and has not been sexual active for a year, there are other things to think about. Like HIV, HPV and HSV. There is no way to tell if he has these without tests and there is a low chance you would get HIV or HSV (herpes) from a single unprotected encounter. But the odds go up quite a lot if you have repeat exposures.
Bottom line, both go get tested and then you can make an informed decision whether or not to go unprotected.
Doctors, this a statement you said to someone on 2/20/06 - I felt I had to respond.
"And or course you need to consider your sexual safety. Using condoms for anal sex is good, but not perfect; you need to also know, ask, and share your HIV status with anybody you have sex with, even if condoms or other safe sex is planned. If you don't, it's a pretty good bet you'll have HIV someday. Don't take the risk"
I really don't understand this statement. Why the hell should we even were condoms at all if there is a pretty good bet we will get HIV with protected anal sex? I know condoms can break, is that what you are referring to? Also, people lie all the time about their status, especially in the "gay" world. I agree with sharing folks status, however, there are a lot of people who don't know (25% to be exact) their status or, as mentioned above, lie. I think you should rephrase what you say to something a little more realistic "If you going to have sex, always, always assume your partner is positive, even if they say they are not." I just think by saying even if you use condoms for anal sex and not know your partners status (since a quarter doesn't know their status) there is a good bet you'll get infected someday sends the wrong message to gay men about the importance of continuing safer sex practices.
By the way I am a female.....have been in a 10 year monogomous relationship (married). I just got divorced. I know I shouldn't have had unprotected sex....I had a few drinks that night and wasn't really thinking, plus I trust this guy and believe he hasn't been with anyone in a year and hasn't had any symptoms. I don't know a lot about STDs and started getting worried... that is why I posted the question.
You can't really trust anyone when asking if they have any std's as there are a few of them that can hide in your body for years and show no signs they are there like Hiv and Herpes. So definitely do not have unprotected sex with him again and also you need to go make sure you didn't get anything from him so just go get a full std panel with hiv testing. It will ease your mind and also everyone should know their status if they are sexually active.
I was aware of the timing and that you were not responding to my statement and didn't intend criticism. Just a somewhat different perspective.