Love is defined as: an intense feeling of deep affection; a great interest and pleasure in something; and the list goes on.
On some level, we all can identify something or someone that we love. I love my family; although I may not always like them; the love I genuinely feel for them is undeniable.
Another thing I love are desserts; especially Applebee’s Triple Chocolate Meltdown. Even though, I hate what it does to my waistline and my conscience, I can’t deny that; when that microwaved chocolate cake with chocolate syrup center, drizzled with way too sweet white and dark chocolate, with the scoop of ice cream comes to my table; the outside world does not exist. From the first break of the cake as the chocolate oozes, and I try to repeatedly gather the perfect bite with just enough ice cream, to the final bite; I can undoubtedly say that I am in love; if only for 5 minutes. I can scream from the mountain top, the love I have for something that has probably, single handedly, been the cause of all the new diabetes diagnoses, since its inception. But telling someone I love them… Ugh! Can we just eat cake!
I felt your love for me early on. Maybe it was how often we spoke; or the fact that you always wanted to be around me. But, from the very beginning, when you first laid eyes on me; and I was in a threesome with two other men; I didn’t have to be anyone but myself. Sure, you didn’t love me that night, but after our first few dates, I was certain you soon would.
You said (actually texted) the words when I was going through a dark patch with my family. I knew you was going to say it before the message came through; and although it was great to know your true feelings; it did absolutely nothing to make the situation better. It just meant that you were going to be there for me, and that was enough.
The last time I said I love you was in 2013. In 2012, I met my now ex-boyfriend. We had connected on the dating app Badoo; I was so confident that he was the one, and that there would never be another. So, within a month of us online dating, before we even met in person; he told me he loved me and I told him back. We dated for just over a year before the once strong and undying love I had for him actually died. When I finally ended the relationship; he told me that I never really loved him. Hmm? I was certain that I did, in fact, love him, at some point during our relationship. I looked back at our pictures and they looked like love. I though back to all the times I cried for him, (I cry very easily, so maybe that’s not the best example). When I looked at all that I had done for him during our relationship, I knew that I wouldn’t have done any of it, if I didn’t love him. So, what the fuck was he talking about? How could tell me, the feelings that I had for him were never real? Then, years later, it finally hit me… His love was not my love.
My love isn’t the jump off a cliff, walk into the fire, sacrifice my life for you love; like his was. My love is practical yet whimsical. My love is stern, but it can also be pliable; it can be loud and it can be quiet, it can be suffocating and it can be distant. However, above all things, my love for another will never be stronger than the love I have for myself. I can love someone with all my might, but if that relationship no longer brings me joy, I have no problems walking away to be on my own.
So, after him, I reserved the declaration; because if tomorrow comes and I want to go back into my shell; it’s important to know what we shared was real and it was love, even if it didn’t and/or doesn’t last forever.
I was sitting at a jazz show, listening to the music being played. As the lady on the stage sang about love; it was in that moment I knew I loved you. It struck me as odd because I was at the performance to see one of my other partners perform; but, the thought of you ran through my mind and found a home in my heart. I started to get warm all over, it could’ve been the 3 drinks that I had; but then it happened again. When I was walking down the street talking to myself (as I sometimes do); Boom! There you were again. I tried to apply logic and reason, I picked the way I felt about you apart, I dissected it like a dead frog on a metal table, and it still came back – love.
I could drive myself mad trying to define and break down what it means to be in love while polyamorous, but I just know I love how I feel now. The love that we share doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s, because we are not like everyone else. I simply want to live and love in this feeling for as long as we’re meant to.
The first vibrator I ever purchased was the ever-infamous Rabbit. It may or may not have been on the heels of the Sex and the City episode; but, nonetheless, once I got home, I needed try it and see what all the fuss was about. Up until that point, all the pleasure I felt was either from resting in the bathtub and letting the water from the faucet pound down on my clit, or me rubbing it out in my room at night.
In the quiet of my room, I pulled out my battery-operated Rabbit, put a condom on it, and went to town. The sensation of the penis-shaped felt good; but it was the vibrations from the ears on my clit that brought me to ecstasy. It was that feeling alone that I would continue to chase for years. A few times I purchased items to help me engage my G-spot: silicone inserted vibrator, even a glass G-spot stimulator; but every time, I only ever had clitoral orgasms. Eventually, I stopped buying insertable devices and focused solely on my clit. I went through a series of pocket-sized vibrators: ones with changeable heads, and some with multiple speeds and vibrations. A few years ago, I happened into Babeland and purchased my Raines brand Vibrator. It was pretty, purple, had a multitude of patterns, and was quiet. She even came with a little pouch, with a lock and key. She held me down, then I had to replace her, and she was there for me for another year or two.
A year or two later, I was determined to have a G-spot orgasm. So, I returned back to Babeland where I bought my ($120) Fifi by Je Joue rechargeable vibrator. When I got home, I charged it up for a bit; after I took my shower, I washed it off, applied some lube and waited for the magic to happen. The sensations were far more advanced from when I used the rabbit and I was able to cum 5 times. But, all of them were only clitoral. The amazing sensations did nothing to bring me to a G-spot orgasms, and because of that I was twistedly disappointed. I had come to the conclusion in my early 20s that I was one of those women that would never have a G-spot orgasm, but I loved sex and oral so much that; I can’t miss what I never had. With that, I stopped caring for artificial objects in my vagina. I love fingers, tongues, and dicks; and that’s enough for me.
I loved my Fifi, but having to use the vagina insert, removed the fun for me, so I went back to my Raines vibrator. Then, I kept hearing about this thing called a Womanizer; it interested me because it was said that; the sucking mechanism was a totally new experience, not like other vibrators.
So, I returned back to Babeland and with some skepticism I said, hell with it, and made my purchase. I walked away with my ($99) Womanizer Liberty Clitoral Stimulator. When I got home, I read the instructions, and charged the device. Later that night, I laid back in my bed, applied some lube to my clit and fired her up.
The sensation was nothing I had ever experienced. I felt as if all the blood in my body was being drawn to my clit. I grabbed at my nipples as my legs trembled and my breathing grew deeper and heavier. With a final deep breath, my abs clenched, and my eyes rolling to the back of my head; I had my first Womanizer induced orgasm. My energy was depleted, but the whole ordeal may have only been 3 minutes. I looked up at my revolving ceiling fan and waited for my body to feel normal. I wanted to feel that sensation again; so, I spread my legs again and enjoyed the ride. Only this time, something felt different. Not only was my clit throbbing even harder this time, all my southern muscles lost control. I felt my orgasm building up and finally the release, followed by a steady stream of orgasmic fluids. It wasn’t a squirt; it was a juicy ooze. My sheets were soaked, and I gave zero fucks. I was in post-orgasmic bliss.
I looked up at my ceiling fan, I felt the cool air mix with the sweat that had formed on my body, deliver a chill. I felt the moisture on the sheets, below my ass start to get cold. I reached my hands down to my opening and felt the cum on my fingers. I always loved the taste of my juices on my partners lips, after they ate my pussy, and I wanted to taste it again. It was deliciously sweet. I delivered myself one more orgasm before the night was through. When I was finished, I got my hair dryer, dried my wet spot, and retreated into a lovey slumber.
I realized, after the fact, that it was the first time, in a very-very long time that I didn’t use porn to stimulate my mind. Ever since that night all Womanizer orgasms have been mental and breath only. Now, there are times when I forget to charge my Womanizer, and when I lay down, she’s dead. I would use porn and go back to one of my many other toys. But the Womanizer is in a lane all her own. I use her at night, in the morning, for an afternoon pick-me-up after work, and in the shower; it’s quite possibly the best toy I’ve had ever. It’s a fantastic toy to have in your arsenal. However, I have heard some women say it was too intense, but I absolutely, obviously love it.
In my next post I’ll revisit the Tabooty series, and the role my Womanizer played in making the experience magical.
Two weeks ago, I finally deactivated and deleted my remaining dating apps (Tinder & Hinge). I came to the conclusion that; with the writing of this blog, working on my memoir, trying to get into shape, being an advocate for herpes, and dating 3 men; I have no energy, nor desire, to meet anyone new. So, I decided to call it quits and to focus on further building the connections I already have established.
Over the past few months, after claiming my polyamorous label; I have put a lot of time, energy, and emotions into maintaining my relationships. So, it rubs me the wrong way when people dismiss my identification and connections, and say “so you’re just fuckin’ people!”; because, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! There is so much more to it than that.
When I decided to live this lifestyle, I was prepared to answer the many questions that the monogamous world would ask. The; “what does polyamory mean?” or “how can I be comfortable knowing someone I care about is with someone else?” The answer to those two questions often goes something like this…
You love your mother, father, and siblings. When you start a family of your own you love your partner, your child, etc.; love just keeps on growing. LOVE NEVER RUNS OUT. Now, you may fall out of love with someone, but love cannot be measured as a chart that gets divided amongst your loved ones, because it’s forever replenishing. So, when I identify as polyamorous, that is my goal; but before love, comes like.
The above questions are fine; especially growing up in a monogamy-aiming society, there are bound to be people that do not understand the idea of having multiple romantic loves.
However, I wasn’t prepared to have to defend said lifestyle. Against A) those that choose to belittle the decisions that we make with statements like: “if he loves you, he won’t share you” OR B) “what about all the STDs out there?” First of all, I’m a woman, not a pie. What does love look like anyway? And, secondly, I’ve found that those in this non-traditional lifestyle often get tested far more frequently and are more open to talking about sexual health, than those that are extremely close-minded to this way of living/loving. (Not to mention; I got herpes from what I thought was a monogamous relationship).
In addition to defending my lifestyle choices, I’m also fighting off the, what I like to call, lifestyle-nomads. Lifestyle-nomads: are those people that truly have no desire to build connections. They may be the ones trying it on for size, or latch to the label because, on paper, it mirrors what they’re doing, but it lacks the deeper foundation. Just because you want to fuck a bunch of people and you want a date or two before, that does not make you polyamorous; that makes you non-monogamous. Living towards a polyamorous love-style is the ability to like freely and honestly, with the goal for like to become love. The goal is to have long-lasting connections of the heart and spirit, regardless if there is sexual intimacy.
Now, being the sex-positive woman that I am, (who is, in layman’s terms- single); I can, technically, have sex with as many men and women I want. But, that’s NOT what I want. I love the connections, conversations, butterflies, honesty, and vulnerability that dating, in a romantic capacity brings. I never did and I still don’t get those feelings with just sex. Outside the walls of a sex-club (where a nick-name and a condom are enough); emotional, spiritual, and intellectual stimulation are necessary for me to become repeatedly engaged. I have conversations with my partners, I go on dates with my partners I spend time with my partners, and in addition to them knowing about what I do when I am not with them, they all know of each other. There is an honesty and transparency I associate with being poly, that I didn’t associate, when I was dating prior. My partners make me happy and put a smile on my face, and I can only assume I do the same for them. So, when someone absentmindedly dismisses them as just a phase or sexual object; ignoring the amorous (love) aspect from the title and only focuses on the poly (many); not only is it very unsettling, it’s also not true.
The second thing I didn’t expect was encountering so many half-assers.
As started prior, polyamory is not for those that just like a lot of sex. For those people that are always horny and just want to have sex with everything that walks; that is non-monogamy. Another major part of being truly polyamorous is arriving at that space of love, and finding joy watching your partner experience love with someone else, with no fear of their love diminishing your own. COMPERSION!
This COMPERSION is the part that many people find most difficult. Many people are happy to be open/non-monogamous/swingers, but the idea of love being added to the relationship, many people don’t want to explore that reality.
In addition to the lack of compersion, I encounter a lot of misogynistic imbalance as well, in the poly community. I do now, and always have felt that polyamory, non-monogamy, and open-relationships only work when both partners are willing participants. One partner cannot be allowed to play the field, while the other has to sit on the side lines.
Ladies, if your man can be with another women; yet you can’t be with another man; then that relationship is imbalanced. Ladies (and men) if your partner won’t stop cheating; so, you turn a blind eye and claim non-monogamy; again, that relationship is imbalanced.
The recipe for a successful alternative relationship is an even playing field, constant communication, and checking in; there are rules within the storm, and both/all parties have to agree and follow the rules. That does not mean, if he/she has 3 partners, I need 3 partners too- NO! My schedule may only allow me 1 partner in addition to my primary, and that’s totally fine; after all, it’s not a competition. Decide what it is you want and do what works within the confines of the union that you two have set up.
The last thing that bugs me, is the oversexualization of the polyamorous and non-monogamous community.
We are Sex Positive; NOT Sex Addicts.
Sorry to burst your erotic bubble; but I DO NOT think about sex all day long. Now, there is nothing wrong with those that do; I’m just stating that’s not me. If there are 24 hours in a day, I may spend all of 5 minutes total with sex on my brain, and that’s not even every day. So, it’s literally a turn-off when every exchange is about sex. I’ve joined several group chats, claiming to be for the poly community; and it was a stream of titties, vaginas, penises, and sex positions; I left each one within a week. I’m too busy to think and talk about sex all day long. Especially when it’s with people that I may or may not ever have sex with.
I love sex when I want it; that goes for type, and locations. I enjoy anal play and anal sex; that does not mean that every night I want my ass fucked. I enjoy going to sex parties and engaging with multiple partner; that does not mean I want to go to them every weekend. Lastly, I enjoy being with women; that does not mean I need to eat pussy every day. It’s important that people understand that about me and other sex-positive people. Just because we openly talk about sex, that does not mean it’s on our minds 24/7. After all… polyamorous does not mean sex-addict.
It’s official; today I left my house with my long flowing skirt, tank, denim jacket, and sandals; and DAMN! My toes were cold. I tune into my Monday morning, Whoreible_Decisions podcast and BOOM! The topic was the End of Hot Girl Summer (HGS). And with that, it’s only right that I write an homage piece on this fucking amazing summer that I had.
To start it all off; and if you’re new to my blog; I’ll just offer a quick re-cap. Early this year, I went public with my sexual status (as HSV2 (Herpes) Positive), I also claimed my polyamorous, non-monogamous, and bisexual labels. With all of this out in the open I proceeded into the dating world, and to much of my surprise, it has been nothing short of a dream come true.
I met my first post-poly partner in the Spring; after our first date, things progressed rapidly. We’ve managed to keep the connection intense and when we reconnect, it’s still as hot as the first time. We still continue to have amazing sex and explore new avenues of pleasure. I love sucking his dick and the taste of his cum. He loves eating my pussy, and I love when he plays with my ass. He was my first re-introduction to ass-play (Tabooty 1 & 2) and he aided in opening up an entirely new world of sex-ploration for me, which we are still exploring to this day
I met my second partner a few weeks after the first; and he and I took things much slower though. He was in an open marriage and our schedules, in the beginning, didn’t always align. So, to keep the sexual tension hot, he would send me pictures of him jerking off and I would return the favor with videos of me playing with my pussy. He had(s) a beautiful dick; and all the videos we exchanged made me even more eager to experience him. It took almost 6 months before we became intimate, but once we did; we both acknowledged that the wait was totally worth it.
I met my primary at such party, and he’s quite possibly been the best person to explore this revived lifestyle with. He matches my sexual libido, and he enjoys the many ways of kink, like I do. I could go on and on about all the amazing sex and sexual experiences we have; but what keeps me coming back is how he makes me feel. I don’t wonder when I’m with him; for now, we live the same lifestyle so I don’t have to convert him. He supports me in all of my extra-curricular activities, and he’s corny just like me.
I attended my first of many sex parties. I accepted and relished in the fact that I enjoy being an exhibitionist. I love being pleased (in every way) while people gaze. I love the feeling of not-so-random hands caressing my breasts, as my partner devours my pussy; or a hand slaps my ass as I’m bent over sucking my partners dick; and I enjoy eating pussy that’s attached to a beautiful woman. I love knowing that the people at these parties are turned on by the sight of me, and I love how honest and freeing it feels to be in a room with like-minded people.
With ass-play back on the table; I found myself cruising the anal section at various sex-shops a little bit longer. I purchased a butt-cleaning kit, that came with a silicone butt-plug. I got fucked with a plug in my ass. I got a plug with a rainbow tail attached; and I even had some fantastic anal sex with my womanizer on my clit (That story to come soon). My primary just got me a present of jeweled butt-plugs that I’m so eager to play with in the near future.
Last, but not least, I have to mention that; a lot of the comfort in coming out about all the things I enjoy sexually was aided by listening to the Whoreible_Decisions podcast. Knowing that two women, of color, were (are) so sexually free, allowed me to be more comfortable with my own sexuality. I was always a little freak, but much of what I did remained hidden. I did what I did in private, for fear of being judged, ridiculed, and/or outed. After listening to their podcast; I learned that whatever I put out there, with confidence, may never be used against me. If I owned my decisions and sexuality, no one could make how I choose to receive and/or give pleasure an act of shame.
I had the pleasure of being a guest on their show in August, and I was able to shed light on living polyamorously, while being herpes positive. On the heels of the podcast, so many people reached out to me and told me how much hearing my story helped them. It makes me happy to know that my truth can help others; so, I know that I’m doing the right thing. Wanting to expand more upon that truth, I started writing my memoir. I’m so happy that I’ve been gifted with the ability to share my stories with my listeners and I hope you all will continue on this journey with me.
Be sure to stay tuned; I have so many more, amazing stories coming to you; and I know you’re going to love them.
I was a sophomore in High School, on a Tuesday morning. When I got off the 2nd avenue bus, I walked up to see my teachers on strike. As my friends and I entered the school, we silently joked that they would let us out early. I didn’t dislike school, but any excuse to go back home and watch tv or masturbate, seemed like a win. None the less, the first bell rang and the student body was in their respective classes. Had it been a public school, all the teachers would’ve been on strike; but, since my high school was catholic, many of the brother and sisters didn’t participate in the strike. It would’ve been a normal Tuesday, had it not been for the events that followed.
I’m a born and raised New Yorker. I was born in Mount Sinai hospital, in Manhattan, in the summer of 1986. Geography was never my subject; so, other than the few trips to Disney world, and trips out of state to visit family; I had a horrible gauge on where things were in relation to my neighborhood. Hell- I used to think the west side meant west coast. Any-who, I was a city kid whose entire world existed within a 10-20 block radius. Occasionally I would travel down to the village with my gay friends, from the neighborhood youth choir; but I never really let the importance of certain landmarks sink in. Before the summer of 2001, I thought the Twin Towers were in Chicago, right along with the Sears tower; I know, shame on me! But, since I never had a reason to go that far downtown, I simply didn’t.
The summer of 2001, I had a summer youth job working in the building right across from the towers. My job was simple, I filed paper work and answered calls; nothing too crazy, but I did get paid for my services, so it was a win-win. I remember cashing my bi-weekly checks at the check cashing store in the area. As I was never a fan of eating lunch at my desk; sometimes I would walk to the local park and eat my lunch. I remember there was a bakery around the corner that was responsible for many of the cavities I acquired that summer. I may have only walked inside either of the actual towers, maybe once ever. Lastly, I remember telling myself, I’ll plan a day to come downtown, allow myself to be a tourist for a day, and explore the Twin Towers. I never thought that they would cease to exist; I don’t think anyone did.
I heard that a person on the street came yelling at the striking teachers that, the towers had been hit. Then, that news spread like wild-fire. The news was turned on, on all the overhead and rolling TVs. We all sat in horror as we watched the planes make impact, then we all watched as the buildings fell to the ground. Some girls cried for fear of what would happen next, while others cried for concern of loved ones that worked in the towers; I was numb. It didn’t cross my mind that day; in all reality, it took quite an amount of years for me to realize how close I came to uncertainty. School had just started; if it had started a week later, I would’ve been down there. I was lucky; all of my family worked in Spanish Harlem, far from the towers; but, since it was deemed a terrorist attack, they refused to release students early without a guardian. I couldn’t get in contact with my mother (only land lines worked). There was a long line to use the pay phones to call our parents and by the time I got to the phone I could barely hear my brother at home, on the other end. Luckily, one of the parents came to pick up her daughter and agreed to take a few of us home as well. They had suspended all MTA bus and train transportation; but she flirted with an MTA bus driver and he took us all home. When I got home, I didn’t turn on the news, I turned on my computer and went to an AOL chatroom. I started talking to some guy that lived near me; I went to see him and we hung out for a bit. Before it started getting dark, I walked back home. An hour or two later my mom got in from work, we had dinner and I went to sleep.
I didn’t cry about 9/11 until the following year. I was at my grandmother’s house and they were showing the memorial. The camera happened to pan over to a woman who clearly lost someone, and seeing her cries, struck a fire in me, and the tears that I held back that day streamed through my eyes.
I started writing this post on 9/11/19, but I couldn’t publish it; because, almost 20 years later, it finally hit me- how close I came to not being here. My nephew was only 5, my niece wasn’t even thought of, my grandmother and all of my uncles were still alive. Had the position lasted one more week, I would’ve been down there, and I might not be here today.
A lot of people were lost that morning; from those on the plane, in the building, and those on the ground. A living life is precious and it’s imperative that we tell our family and friends how much we love them, when they are here, for we don’t know when they might leave this earth and be gone forever.
I’ve read a few books, some articles, and asked strangers all over the internet. They made the poly lifestyle seem like a walk in the park; open and honest communication and affection between partners; nothing could go wrong. They all said it would require constant work, but, none of them ever said; when the journey had run its course, it would still hurt like hell. Had they told me I could’ve prepared; but, since they didn’t, I had to learn it the old-fashioned way.
I connected with him on Hinge, he was Latino and, a few years younger. He lived in New Jersey, so I was hesitant at first, but I figured I should take a chance and see what would happen; in the very least, I would end up with a good friend. Surprisingly, we hit it off, almost immediately; we bonded while discussing current events, music, food, tv, and movies we both liked; we were off to a great start.
Our first date we walked to get dinner at Mexicue; three tacos and two margaritas in, the conversation flowed like a river. He was just as cool in person, as he was over the phone. We talked, laughed, and joked the time away. When we were finished, he got the check; then we left. We walked side by side as we made our way to Barcade (a bar with arcade games). He got us beers (me a cider), then exchanged dollars for game coins. I offered to give him some cash, but he turned it down. We played a plethora of games; from Tetris, to Pacman, to shooting games, and driving games. It was obvious he was in his element, and I actually enjoyed seeing him in his element. When we ran out of coins, I suggested we walk to get dessert; so, from 23rd street, we walked down to Spot on St Marks Place. It was the usual hour wait; but, with him, the time passed by. Once we were called, we each ordered dessert, I ordered a latte and he ordered a matcha beer. This time when the check came, I paid it; a few times he fought me on it, but eventually he let me pay. Our date ended at a karaoke bar, a few doors down. He paid for our drinks, I paid for the songs; and it was there, while we were sitting close that he leaned in to kiss me; ever so gently. He held me close as our mouths and tongues danced together; and although his kisses were passionate, he maintained being a total gentleman. We continued making out the rest of the time at the bar; we would caress my arm as we sat at the bar, we’d take a drink, then we would begin kissing again. When the bar closed, we walked up to 14th street. He got on the Path train back to New Jersey, and I took an Uber home. The next day when my friends and I went wine tasting, I told them it was, quite possibly, the most amazing first date I ever had.
We spoke every day after that. Our next date was a week later and we went to the movies to see Toy Story 4 (in 4D); and it was awesome! After the movies, we walked around for a bit; we talked abouyt favorite holiday songs, movies, and traditions; then we stopped to eat at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria. When we finished eating, we walked back downtown. From 22nd street, we walked all the way through the village. It was the weekend of the pride parade and the everyone was out and proud. We stopped to get ice cream, and we walked past the Stonewall memorial. We continued walking down to the path train; hand in hand, and stealing occasional kisses. When we got to the train, it was a 20-minute wait; we started kissing, 40 minutes later, no train had arrived and we were still kissing, after an hour of standing in the station, waiting for the train that never came, kissing the entire time; when we resurfaced, both of our lips were slightly swollen. Even though our kisses were extremely passionate, he was still a gentleman; other than our bodies pressing up against one another and the occasional cheek grab; none of his actions were super aggressive. I wondered, if we were in his apartment, would he have the same restraint. Earlier in the date, he had suggested our next date be on his side of the water and I told him; I would look forward to that. He called his uber and it came right away. I contemplated walking around a bit, but decided against it and called my uber home. That, unfortunately, was the last time I saw him.
On our first date, it was my mission to make clear my polyamorous position; so, we briefly spoke about the people we were dating. I briefly mentioned the guys I was dating and he had mentioned a girl, and that was that. A few weeks after our last date, when I returned from camping; I messaged him. I had noticed his messages becoming less and less, so I wanted to know what was going on. He explained to me that, things were progressing with the girl he was dating. He explained that he felt dishonest seeing both of us. Neither of them was in the lifestyle, and although he walked around to the deep end of the pool, he was not ready to take the dive in. He told me he had to stop seeing me; I thanked him for his honesty, and I wished him luck.
When I put the phone down, my body began to warm up; from my toes all the way to my face, I was hot with emotions. Then, they all pooled out, in the form of tears. This wasn’t supposed to happen. He wasn’t supposed to break up with me. This was not why I decided to be polyamorous. I dived into this pool to build bonds with people; that would last a lifetime; so, how was I just supposed to walk away? Was I supposed to take those great memories and burn them? This was a feeling I did not want; but I had to live with it.
On day 2, I was feeling better; and he messaged me. He still wanted to be friends, which is what I wanted too. I genuinely enjoyed his company and our conversations; so, we agreed to try and go back to being friends; I would respect his boundaries and he would respect mine.
On day 3, he sent me a message that wasn’t like the others; this message had a sexual tone that had never existed between us before. He was showing signs of a fuck-boy. It crossed my mind to play with the matches he was laying out. One or two things were obvious; either he was second guessing his decision to just be friends, and still wanted to test the waters; or, all the good boy actions were just a façade. I wasn’t quite sure yet, so I continued to proceed with no caution for the outcome.
A few days later, another sexual message passed across my phone; so this time I decided to play into the fantasy. I knew what I was dealing with and I felt confident that my emotions were intact. We did this dance for a few more weeks; and then I realized just how morally different we were.
He sent me some clip of some conservative (probably religious) man, essentially blaming women for men that can’t control themselves. In the clip; the man claimed that women only use their bodies to get ahead; which I, of course, wholeheartedly disagreed with. That was our last real conversation. I messaged him when the podcast episode dropped; to let him know and see how he was doing. All was good on his end and all was great on mine; and I was fine with closing the chapter forever.
I didn’t want to close the door when it was forced upon me; but I was quite elated when the choice was mine. In the end, I know it wouldn’t have ever worked out; but it was fun while it lasted. Once I weathered the storm of my first poly-heartbreak; I knew that when the time came again, I would be much better prepared.
Now that you have this horrible thing plaguing you, how can you ever live a normal life again? That was a question I asked myself once I was, finally, ready to get back into the dating world. Part of the answer is, having herpes is only as horrible as you make it. Another thing to consider is… What is normal?
We all have traveled different roads and have different stories to tell; and since people living with this virus are often secretive about it; this road is rarely ever paved, for the next person’s journey. There is a lot of trial and error in dealing with this virus; and I’ve tried quite a few things and here were my results.
First things first: I want to stress the importance of taking time to actually heal after being diagnosed. I’m talking about emotional, spiritual, and mental healing. The first thing we often struggle with, post positive, is – Who will want me? I’ll tell you now, the answer is “Somebody!” Maybe not the person you thought, but there are enough people in the world that will see you and see beyond the virus. But, I deeply stress self-healing because; there are just as many people that will see your desire for acceptance and use that to have control over you. And what was once a great romance; soon becomes an abusive, manipulative, unfaithful, and sad situation. You’ll find yourself staying in that bad situation because you fear that no one else will want to be with you.
You have to want yourself more than you want them. No person (herpes or not) that comes into your life should complete you. You have to be complete with yourself; that way, anyone that you allow to occupy time in your life, only adds a bonus. Think of how good it felt to see that 110% on a test because you answered the bonus question- that’s the feeling you want.
ALL ON FRONT STREET (Immediate & Early Disclosure): “I’d rather not waste my time, so I just tell them to get it out of the way.”
I only encourage this approach in hook-up scenarios (online or in person). I’ve online dated for a very long time, and most often than not, conversations turn to sex. So, as a tactic to get to the point I state the following:
“So, just so you’re aware, before we go any further (before I come over); 10 years (X time) ago, I was diagnosed with genital herpes. None of my partners have tested positive, and I’ll do what I can to keep you negative; but you need to be aware of the risks.”
The above, script gets the fact out there, with details in relation to my diagnosis and the partners that I’ve had that have not been affected by the virus. I allow the person to think about it, I honestly answer any questions they have and I allow them to make a choice.
If you have not had this virus and you don’t have a record to reflect on; I used to say this:
“Before we go any further (before I come over); I need to let you know that, I was diagnosed with genital herpes (however long ago). I’m not having any symptoms right now, so the risk is minimal; but you should be aware of the risks.”
It should be stated, that you will have the most recurrent outbreaks and episodes of shedding, within the first year. Antivirals (valtrex or acyclovir) and an overall healthier way of living will minimize the frequency of these episodes. But just because you’re not showing symptoms, that does not mean the virus isn’t present. This year period is a good time to self-reflect. Take the year to learn your body and what your triggers are. Adapt a healthier and stress-free life and move forward.
I don’t like the AOFS approach when it’s a person you want to pursue in a more romantic way. When you blurt out herpes; you’re not allowing them to get to know you. Every person’s experience with this virus is different, but the image of what herpes is (magnified by the STIGMA) is always bad. Telling a person too soon, may cause them to only see the virus and not you. I realize that; nothing hurts more than dating a person, really falling for them, then when you finally disclose, they run for the hills. This rejection can send you into a downward spiral and make you never want to try again. But consider this fact; that people will reject you for a plethora of reasons: your education, past, finances, sexual past, the list goes on. Sure, you probably envisioned that they would be “The One” and now your hopes and dreams are shattered. But I promise you, they were not “The One”, they were simply the one you wanted.
IN DUE TIME (Tactical Disclosure): “I like to wait a few dates in or before we become intimate”
I advocate for this option for many reasons.
1. I’ve encountered many men that seem to be nice, that turn out to be ass-hats. Not to mention, you’ll be grateful that you didn’t tell them if the ending turns disrespectful. In cases where I was called a bitch, I was happy the words “dirty” or “diseased” weren’t placed in front of it.
2. There’s no need in disclosing something about yourself if you never make it to date one. With the dating culture filled with ghosts; the last thing you need, is to think someone didn’t show up because of you having herpes. I run out of hair follicles if I try to count how many times I’ve been ghosted, without them ever knowing I have herpes.
3. The phone (or text) conversations seemed to flow like water; but the in-person date was so dry, you swear they hired a ghost-writer. If you never make it to date two, was all the stress to disclose really worth it?
4. What’s wrong with just enjoying a date for the sake of a date? Again, the pressure and realization of this virus forces us to act with haste to find a partner, settle down, and be done with it all. So, we get all jazzed up to put our best foot forward to be chosen. But the truth is; there is nothing wrong with dating. Go on a date, share a kiss or two; it’s totally fine. Take your time and think to yourself; Would I want to be with this person, if I didn’t have herpes?” If the answer is yes then; set up a time to get ready to have the conversation. But if the answer is no; just enjoy the date.
So, once you’ve determined you like this person, what do you say? The answer is, there is no perfect answer. The truth is, some people will NEVER want to take that risk, and you’ll have to accept that. It doesn’t make them bad and it doesn’t make you dirty or whatever; it just makes them “UNWILLING TO TAKE THE RISK”. I strongly advise confiding in a family member or friend and practicing. It may also help telling people that you have no genuine desire to be with. I’ve found the best approach is confidence combined with a dose of education. The fact is; many people know nothing about herpes. They know: they know it’s called an STD, they don’t want to get it, it’s forever, and causes blisters. Arming your conversation with facts will only help when disclosing. Facts help to dismantle the stigma; and it also shows people they don’t know all they thought they did. Practice makes perfect!
I’ve disclosed; over the phone, via text message, and I’ve displayed my status on dating apps; but I’ve found that I prefer disclosing in person. I like the in-person approach, because I like to see their face as I tell them. I often realize that their face displays one of shock or surprise, because I don’t look like a person that has herpes. (Because people with herpes, have “A LOOK”). I can see their brain reprogramming itself as I go on and on with details and stats.
One of the last dates, when I disclosed in person; went something like this. (We met on OKCupid, after date #2, and after date one he was already talking about giving me a ‘body massage’. I suggested we walk to the park and talk for a bit)
Me: So, before we go back to your place, there is something you should know. 10 years ago, I was diagnosed with genital herpes. I’ve had boyfriends and partners since then, all of whom have never tested positive. I always do what I can to keep my partners negative, but as there is always a risk, that I have to make my partners aware of.
Him: Wow! I wasn’t expecting that. Sorry you’re dealing with that. You know I really care about my health; I get tested after every partner, so I don’t think this will work.
Me: Don’t be sorry. Many people have it and many people are unaware they may be carriers of the virus, so I just do what I can to inform my partners.
Him: Wait what? Don’t you get like blisters and stuff?
Me: Some people do, but majority of people that have the virus show no symptoms; and many tests don’t include it. So, a lot of people are walking around, assuming they are negative, and all the while- are carriers of the virus and can spread it.
Him: I didn’t know that.
Me: Many people don’t. I would suggest that you and your partner get tested and share results before, if you care that much; since after would be too late. I told you, because I know, but like I said; many people don’t know, some people don’t tell, and many doctors don’t enforce telling.
With the above, I was honest, direct, and was specific about my experience with the virus. The date didn’t continue, but there weren’t any hard feelings (I wasn’t head over heels for him), but even if I had been; I would still consider it a good disclosure story. There was no anger, disrespect, he asked questions and I answered.
The below is a great way to feel a person out, if you’re still afraid to put yourself out there. This will be easier if there is an easy segue to the conversation, but with practice you’ll get better.
Me: My friend’s boyfriend (girlfriend) just found out that they tested positive for herpes.
Him/Her: I’ll that’s disgusting! Was he/she cheating on him/her?
Me: Not that she knows of. But, you know a lot of people have herpes, and most don’t know it.
Him/Her: No! Only dirty people get herpes.
Me: Would you call a child that gets cold sores dirty? Cold sores are herpes too.
Him/Her: No it’s not!
Me: It’s actually the (almost) identical virus. There’s actually a rise on genital HSV1 from people contracting it from oral sex.
Him/Her: But, I get cold sores too. What does that mean for me?
Me: Welcome to the club. I have herpes too.
Me: So, when was the last time you went to the doctor?
Him/Her: (Enter date) hopefully! Why?
Me: Well, I just want to make sure we both get tested and know our status before we plan to have sex. I feel knowledge of sexual health status is very important.
Him/Her: Well, I’m good! I don’t have anything. What about you?
Me: How would you know?
Him/Her: Because I always use condoms and I don’t mess with dirty people.
Now, the following is pending on the conversations you two may have had; like how soon the topic of sex was brought up during your previous conversations
Me: So, you’ve seen the test results of every person you had sex with (including oral)? And you know condoms don’t protect you from everything; right?
Him/Her: No. But I know the people I sleep with, and they’re good, so I know I’m good!
With this response (and strong mental arrogance) you now have enough knowledge to either enforce testing before you continue, or simply walk away.
One mistake I made early on (and sometimes still do, on occasion); I would assume that I’m the worst option on the table. I have herpes; so, nothing can top that. I only cared that they knew my status, but I NEVER enforced confirming theirs; it was enough for me to know they wanted me. I simply assumed, like we all do/did that the other person was STD/I negative. We put all the responsibility on the positive person to have to disclose, but rarely do we ask or confirm. Assumption is not Confirmation.
So, before you lay down or engage with a person (especially if you don’t want to use condoms or other barriers) know their status. No one virus or infection is better than another, but I’d prefer to not add any additional ones to my list.