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.
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.
You first laid eyes on me when I was in the corner being fucked by two men at the party. When I came up for air, you asked me a simple question; “Would I sit on your face?” I told you to give me a moment and I would get back to you. You didn’t know my STD status and I wanted to make sure you knew, before we decided to engage. As the party continued, I remained pre-occupied so I never got the chance to talk to you before the party ended. You walked with me and the other gentleman I had played with to the elevator and out of the hotel. While waiting for our respective cabs, you bravely asked me for my number; and I, gave it to you. You messaged me to make sure I got home safe; then I didn’t hear from you.
A few weeks passed, and you messaged me a few days before what would be the second party we would attend. We texted back and forth for hours. It was weird that we had so much in common; that for a moment I thought you stalked my Instagram to know what to say to make me like you. I eventually realized it wasn’t an act and that we actually did like a lot of the same things. You told me that the next party fell on your birthday and as a present from me, you wanted me to sit on your face. I asked if you had read my Instagram bio; I wanted to make sure you knew that I was herpes positive and what that could mean for you. You thanked me for telling you and we continued our conversation without a beat.
The night of reckoning, I arrived at the party early. I wore pink heels, knowing that you liked them and when you walked in, I shyly said “hi”. I was quasi-dating another partygoer and talking to the man sitting next to me – so I played it cute. When the party started, I went with you to the corner, we took off our glasses, and I gave you your birthday present. I sat on you face and sucked at your dick. I moisturized your beard with my juices and felt your tongue and fingers explore my openings. You brought me to a ferocious orgasm. I immediately wanted you inside of me, so I bent over ready to receive you. I was dripping wet with anticipation, but your birthday drinking festivities, from before the party, inhibited you; so, you went back to eating my pussy. You flipped me over and made a show of me as your meal. I was terrified that I would break my neck, but you kept your grip on my body secure. You laid me back down and buried your face and tongue deeper into me. With your finger pleasing my ass and you mouth on my clit, you brought me to yet, another magically loud orgasm.
My second orgasmic outcry got the attention of the other party-goers. As your intoxication began to flood in, I retreated to shower, and, with that, I was stolen away. I didn’t see you the rest of the party, but you messaged me that, although you were totally shit-faced, you got home safe. I played with a few other men at the party that night; but something about you set you apart from the others.
Our first date, was the day of the pride parade; we went to see Aladdin. Hot as it was, you arrived a cute and sweaty mess; we kissed then preceded to watch the movie. After the movie we walked to go and get dinner; then we walked some more. We took a seat by Madison Square Park and, of course, talked some more. So much laughter and joy filled that very first date. I felt so at ease with you; and although I didn’t want the night to end, we took the train to my neighborhood and you walked me to my building. A passionately long kiss was the end to our amazing night and we parted ways; that was only two months ago.
Since then: you’ve come with me to my herpes support group, you’ve supported me during my triathlon training, you’ve helped me fix my room, you’ve supported my writing, you’ve come with me to my writing group; all the while encouraging me to be nothing but myself. I wake up to your ‘good morning beautiful’ texts, I talk to you throughout the day, and you don’t let a night pass without wishing me a good night and sweet wet dreams.
The first time you stayed over, while my family was away, you pleased my body every chance you could. From oral sex in the shower, to delivering my body deep thrusts in my bed, to burying your face in between my legs and bringing me to orgasm after orgasm; you more than made up for the party. And before, during, and after it all; you held me close, our bodies were intertwined as you laid with me, and I felt safe in your arms. Our naked flesh pressed up against each other as we drifted into sleep at night; only to start the morning with me taking your dick into my mouth and bringing you to pleasure. I was determined to make you cum and when you did, I didn’t stop. I kept going until you couldn’t take any more (payback for the many times you continued licking my clit past my orgasm). In short, that weekend was exactly what I needed; and had no idea I was missing.
I was always told, if I wanted to find a good man, I would have to hide my desires. But, so far, you’ve proven to be a great man in my life, that fully supports my freak-filled ways. Not only do we have amazing sex, but we have amazing sex with other couples. You support me with all my choices, as I encourage you to pursue your goals. You make me smile till my cheeks hurt, and you give me butterflies.
I only went to the party for some good sex; but I left with so much more. I can’t to see what the future holds.
I’ve lived in New York my entire life; and while I know well the streets of Manhattan; if you drop me in the Wall Street area, I’m likely to ask a tourist for directions. Downtown Manhattan has no logic; there are no numbers, just street and avenue names, and unlike the rest of Manhattan, that’s a grid format, downtown is a series of awkwardly shaped triangles and irregular squares.
After wandering for 10 minutes, I finally arrived at the right place. Once in the room, their banter was a mental shoulder massage, that calmed my nerves for the recording. MandIi noticed my notes and said; “Bitch, you got notes!”. Yes!– I came prepared with 8 pages of notes, armed and ready to dismantle the stigma that is herpes; I was ready to lay some facts on the world. That’s when she told me that she didn’t want to focus on the data of herpes, but more on how I lived my life and dated casually, while being herpes positive… There went all of my notes!
Overall, I got great feedback and my words, and hearing my story, it helped a lot of people feel better about their status. So, even though I’ve discussed herpes on many posts during the life in my blog; I want to take this post to dive into breaking it down further. (Be Prepared… It’s a long one)
WHAT IS HERPES, REALLY?
First of all, herpes is NOT a skin condition. I know that many of us positives like to label it as such, to make it sound less scary to a potential partner, but that’s not the reality. A huge part in breaking the stigma is being honest; and if we’re being 100% honest; herpes is a viral infection of the nervous system, that is transmitted via skin to skin contact. There are two most common type of herpes is HSV1 (most often in the form of cold sores, with a rise in genital diagnoses), the next is HSV2 (most often genital herpes).
THE MAIN TYPES OF HERPES (HSV1 & HSV2)
First of all, it’s important to note that; the type of herpes is NOT exclusive to the location. A person can have HSV1 on any area of the body: face, cheeks, lips, and the genital region (anything below the belt). HSV2, although most commonly in the genital region, can in rare cases be present on the face, cheeks, or lips. It all rally depends on the individual’s immune system and where the virus was introduced to them.
So, let’s break down oral herpes. We’ve all seen young kids and adults with cold sores or fever blisters, well those were/are herpes. Most children acquire the virus from a relative. If you ever got a kiss on the cheek, or if your parents ever kissed you as a child; if they had the herpes virus in their system (aka a history of cold sores), they may or may not have exposed you to the virus. It’s interesting to consider that an innocent kiss, a human act of affection can forever impact a person’s life. But none the less, we are humans, we kiss, and sometimes when we kiss, we transmit herpes.
Genital herpes, on the other hand is solely, sexually transmitted. Before I go and break this one down, I want to take a moment to give a little quasi-history lesson. Herpes (in various forms) has been around since the beginning of time; but let’s jump to why there is a stigma with genital herpes in the first place. The reason is… SEX! For decades, a genital herpes diagnosis indicated that you were either, having sex before marriage or cheating on your partner. Unfortunately, as casual sex started to become more prevalent during the sexual revolution, the stigma on what it meant to have herpes still remained and began to multiply. For those determined to police the sexually free; degradation and fear tactics became the norm. Fast forward to today, and you have a stigma with enough weight to pound a Buick into a box the size of my palm.
Our bodies are covered head to toe with nerves. These nerves are responsible sending notes to our brain to be processed. If a person hits us, we feel it and our brain processes it as either pleasure or pain. So, regardless of where you stand on religion, politics, or sexuality; that is a fact that you can’t deny. The desire to feel pleasure, give pleasure, and receive pleasure; is, at it’s very core- human. As humans, we feel, we cry, we kiss, and we have sex. All of these biological actions are what makes us human, and sometimes, when we are being human, we make choices; and those choices may result in us acquiring herpes. Sure, if given the choice no person would CHOOSE herpes; but once we have it, we shouldn’t feel ashamed about it; because we got it being human. You wouldn’t feel ashamed if you got a cold right? So, I look at it the same way.
When you ask to be tested for everything, that test, most often does not include herpes.
HSV (1 or 2) are not included on most STD tests; which means, a significant percent of people with the herpes virus have no idea. This same percentage of people are able to transmit the virus, even though they have no symptoms. It should go without saying (but I will say it anyway). The virus can be transmitted with no outbreak present, this is called viral shedding (when the virus is present on the skin, but with no symptoms). Condom usage, a healthy diet, and incorporating antivirals minimizes the risk of transmission by a great degree, but there is no 100% guarantee.
You don’t have herpes, because you’ve never had an outbreak. (Outbreak = positive, No outbreak = negative… WRONG!!!)
Herpes does not always manifest itself in the way we assume it would. If you had a sex-ed class, you probably, saw images of blisters. Even though this is the most common manifestation of the virus; depending on the person’s immune system their initial outbreak can appear in a variety of ways. I’ve heard stories of it looking like a scratch, like raised skin from an insect bite, a small rash, and even a single bump. There are also those that never have an outbreak, but they may get a cold or have flu-like symptom; (9 times out of 10, you wouldn’t attribute a case of the sniffles to herpes) so, you wouldn’t go and get tested. But that may be an indicator that your body is taking a hit.
Cold sores are not herpes, so I don’t have to disclose.
People with cold sores or fever blisters (or any other fancy name) you choose to call your reactions; just know that they are, in fact, HERPES. Many people will say, “well, it’s not the same”, but if you look at HSV1 & HSV2 from a medical standpoint: they are both life-long viral infections, and they both can be transmitted, during shedding (no outbreak) and/or an outbreak. This is a horrible example; but If I had to break down the DNA of HSV1 vs HSV2. Look at your hand (all 5 fingers & palm) as HSV1, then consider your hand and add in the wrist, that’s HSV2. I won’t sit here and say that, if you have a history of cold sores, you should tell every potential partner. Honestly, the decision to disclose (with oral or genital herpes) is a personal decision; especially since the CDC doesn’t require testing and many doctors don’t advocate disclosing. But consider this; if you don’t mention that you get cold sores to your partner, and you perform oral sex on them and by accident, you transmit the virus to their genitals; consider what does that mean for their sexual future. Hence why people advocate for disclosing.
THE STIGMA OF HERPES
The most difficult part of this virus is, in fact, the stigma. People assume we are walking blisters; in pain everyday all day, and that we are always living with outbreaks. They assume that they will know what a person with herpes looks like and they assume that a person with herpes must’ve had an entire host of partners, and that’s how they got their virus. When the reality is: most people never have symptoms; and overtime (as your body adjusts to the virus) those that do have actual outbreaks; the outbreaks, become less frequent less painful. And the biggest myth of them all is the whore-herpes-false narrative. I know plenty of people that contracted this virus with their first partner, from cheating spouses, and casual sex. There are plenty of people with hundreds of partners and don’t have herpes and there are people with only one partner that has the virus. You won’t know until you ask and get tested.
FACT: THE FIRST YEAR IS POSSIBLY THE WORST
Studies indicate that you are most contagious during the first year of exposure to the virus (if you have an initial outbreak). A newly diagnosed individual may, after their first outbreak, experience recurrences, and may also be shedding the virus as the body has not fully begun to build HSV antibodies. On the opposite end a person may acquire the virus and never have symptoms, they too, during this period are most contagions due to viral shedding.
SO MANY UNKNOWNS
Because we are human, above all things, we need control and answers. We need to know that 1+1=2; because the idea of the unknown is scary; then, herpes happens. We’re taught that if we are careful and have ‘safe-sex’ we will be alright; then herpes comes along and throws that idea out the fucking window. The reality is that, herpes doesn’t care who you are, what you are or how you identify. It doesn’t care about your race, your income, or your profession. It doesn’t care if you go to church or if you’re having sex in back alleys. Herpes doesn’t think, it just does what it wants. And at the end of the day, it wants to travel and replicate and it, unfortunately, uses us humans as the means for that connection from point A to point B.
STARTING OVER AFTER HERPES
So, your results come back, positive for herpes, now what? If you go to a GYN or regular doctor, you’ll find pamphlets and support groups for alcoholism, drug abuse, cancer, and HIV; but you’ll rearely find any for herpes. In school (again, assuming you received sex-ed), all they told you about herpes, at best, were ways to avoid getting it and that it was incurable. Everything is before; they never educate you on the after. Often times, when you’re told that you’re HSV positive, the doctor writes you a prescription for antivirals and sends you on your way. It’s a sad reality that there is little to no support (from the medical community) in combination with the stigma.
The stigma and shame of sexuality, has told us that being diagnosed with herpes, is our penance for being loose, promiscuous, or too sexual; and because of that, we now have to live in silence. The stigma tells us that we are dirty and unworthy of finding true love; and if you do happen to meet a person willing to accept you, you had better shut your mouth and be happy. The stigma tells us that it’s our fault and that we now have to walk around with a scarlet “H” burning a hole in our hearts. The stigma, that fucking stigma needs to take multiple seats.
We are not dirty! We deserve love and respect! And, we deserve to be happy!
If you are struggling with your diagnosis, there are support groups on Facebook and Reddit. There are advocates working to dismantle the stigma of herpes and spread the truth. It helps to have friends or family you can talk to about what you’re going through; you shouldn’t have to do this alone.
If you are a human being, that has sex (whether it’s with one partner for 500) herpes is inevitable. 9 times out of 10 you either know someone with the virus, already had sex with someone with the virus, or will have sex with someone with the virus in the future. That’s just the reality of the virus.
How you choose to live your life, whether negative or positive is totally up to you. All I hope is that, after you’ve read this post is the following:
1- If you’re already living with herpes, you know that you don’t have to go through it alone. There are various platforms on the internet that you can seek out and join to have a piece of mind. Confide in family and friends and never be afraid to live your truth. I know the fear of being “outed” can be terrifying. But there reality is, once it’s out there- no one can tell your story.
2-If you’re herpes negative, and want to remain that way, instead of assuming your partner is STD(I) negative, you both go and get tested together. It’s better to know than to assume.
3-If you’re herpes negative and you encounter a person that’s herpes positive; understand the courage that it took for them to be honest, and think back to this post. There is nothing wrong with not wanting to pursue a person with herpes, but remember that they are still HUMAN. Thank them for telling you and respectfully decline. DO NOT shame them or call them names, as they are already dealing with enough.
If you feel like I’ve missed something, or you have any questions; my email is up and running, so don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
I am Carolyn. I am a black woman, of African American descent. I am 32 years old and my zodiac sign is a Gemini. I am an athlete: I exercise regularly, I run marathons, and I’ll be doing my first triathlon next month. I am an artist: I sing, dance, design, sew, I paint, and do computer graphics. I am a daughter, sister, niece, cousin, aunt, sister-in-law, etc. I am a great worker, listener, advice giver, and fantastic friend. I am a foodie and I am a person that enjoys delicious cocktails. I am friendly, bubbly, sarcastic at times, serious and/or uplifting when I know that it’s necessary. I am a critical and tactical thinker, and I am an avid planner. I am a free-spirit; that loves positive good energy. I am a lover of consensual love (in any form). I am sex positive, body positive, non-monogamous, polyamorous, and bi-sexual human being. Oh! I also have herpes.
You see that? I have herpes, but it is not who I am.
Anyone who knows me, knows all the above; and until I decided to go public with my status, very few people knew that I had herpes. But, if they were asked to describe me, you’d get a mix of: she’s funny, she’s friendly, she’s bubbly, she’s a freak, and she likes to party. Never would you hear, “Carolyn is herpes”.
For a long time, I was afraid to speak out about my status, for fear of what people would think and, of course, the dreaded STIGMA. The stigma that says ‘only people like this get herpes, or no one will want you if you have herpes, or people with herpes should just crawl under a rock and die’- yes there are people who say such things. For the most part; I always understood that herpes is something that I have; it is NOT who I am. However, it took me a few years to finally believe that to be true and to live in that reality.
So, I write this post, with the hopes that it will reach the people that need it most. For those battling with self-love after their diagnosis, for those that feel ‘dirty’ or worthless, and for those that feel they will never find love or have casual sex again. I write this to tell you that: you are not dirty, you are still worthy of love, you will find love, and with the right person you may even find good casual sex again. The trick is, to do the self-work!
When I was younger, I used to cut myself. Never deep, never a lot of blood, and never to kill myself; I only cut to feel and have control. I started having sex at 14, and at that age my mind didn’t process, what we now call, fuck-boy behavior. You know, when men tell you what you want to hear just to get the pussy. At that age, my mind thought that, if he’s having sex with me- he must really like me (silly rabbit!). Anyway, after countless lust-filled heartbreaks I yearned to have some control. I found that control in the form of cutting. When my mother read my diary and found out, she thought I was cutting school; (since black kids don’t cut their body). When she found out the truth, she did what she had to do; and put me in counseling. For this act (in addition to giving me life) I am forever grateful. My counselor (Ms. Antoinette Rodriguez) was a much-needed saving grace. She helped me from 14 all the way through high-school. She helped me navigate my feelings and establish my self-worth. She encouraged me to be the artist and positive spirit I was born to be. She helped me to know that other peoples’ opinions of me didn’t define me. She helped me to find and love me. After I left the program I would stop by and visit her. Then, one day, due to budget cuts the program was closed. I was sad but very pleased with what she had done for me.
Fast forward a few years and toss in a herpes diagnosis, and a string of failed monogamous relationships, and I became a lost soul again. I didn’t go all the way back to square one, but I did question and doubt my identity. After my diagnosis; I was this girl who loved sex and was fantastic at it- now, who was I? Would anyone ever want me again? Who’s going to want a girl with herpes? Would I end up alone?
Too scared to go out into the world I sat on the sidelines. I kept my diagnosis quiet until I got serious and then I would tell my partners, and to my surprise, they all stayed with me. The only problem with that was, Me.
For all the boyfriends I had, post herpes, I was never fully happy. I always wanted something more; but, because of herpes and the fear of being alone, I stayed. This mentality though, isn’t just a herpes thing. Think of how many people stay in abusive relationships, or keep taking back cheaters, or stay for financial security. Staying for comfort isn’t uncommon; but leaving for peace of mind is necessary.
It was after my billionth crying series with my (X-Files series) Fuck-boy of an ex where I finally said. “I refuse to be in a bad relationship & have herpes”. Since I can’t get rid of herpes, I had to get rid of the guy.
The first step was to separate my sex from my identity. I was always this amazing human with great energy, but my fear of rejection caused me to be less than amazing. The next step was to take the time to complete me. You know the people that hop from relationship to relationship because they feel incomplete when single- we all do. I had to take the time to find the things that make me happy and whole, regardless if a man was in my life or not. That’s where exercise, marathons, and writing came in. I connected back with the people that I know would always be there for me; my family and friends. Once I became my 100% I only wanted to surround myself with people that would fill my cup over; not take from me to make them whole. I reconnected with my sexuality. I love sex, I always have loved sex. However, this time around, sex was a bonus not the grand prize. The grand prize is me: my energy, my advice, and my friendship.
Lastly, I took the moment to reclaim my sex-positive space. With this abundance of love and positive energy flowing through me and believing that monogamy may not be for me; I decided to dip my toe in the world of polyamory and non-monogamy. In doing so, I’ve been making the best connections, getting the best advice, honestly communicating with everyone in my life and, of course, having some of the best sex I’ve had in years. There’s a connection with my partners (sexual and non-sexual) that was missing before. Living in polyamory, I’m taking the time to build foundations that were often skipped over before. The openness in communicating and the ability to express my desires, with no fear of being judged is also very refreshing.
Sure, from time to time, there are some rejections (which is fine). I know that not everyone will want to take the risk, but having those moments to educate potential partners/friends/acquaintances on how to remain herpes free, after they are no longer romantically interested in me, still feels good. I am aware that when I disclose and they are no longer interested, it only means they are declining herpes and not me; because, herpes is only what I have. It is not, who I am.
Now that I’m finally having some of the best and most exciting sex in my life; I’m exploring more and more new avenues of pleasure. If it wasn’t already clear, I’ve returned back to online dating. This time around though, I’m in the process of getting to know some amazing people.
My current partner; we connected via Tinder. Our first date we talked a lot about the complexities of dating, some of the hits and misses we’ve had, and herpes (since this was on my Tinder profile). The conversation was easy and playful; to be honest it was quite refreshing to talk about herpes so casually with someone, especially considering it was a first date. Before our second date we were already exchanging sexy pics and naughty texts. He didn’t deliver the predictable sex messages and he didn’t say all the things he would do. He gave me compliments, which was quite nice. For our second date we wanted a place that was more intimate, yet still casual. We each tried to scour the internet to find a bar/lounge that would fit the bill, but nothing caught our eyes. We ended up going to a Mexican restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen and having dinner. After dinner, we wanted a little more privacy, so he bought a bottle of wine, and we headed to his place.
His apartment was very nice for a bachelor but the 4-floor walk-up let me annoyed, as I despise stairs. I quickly went to the bathroom to freshen up, as it was almost certain that the night would end with sex. When I came back, we had some wine and he put on, of course- Netflix. Not long after Sex Education started, we started kissing and clothes were taken off. He was passionate and deliberate in his movements and my body reacted accordingly. His lips were soft and moist as they trailed my neck and collar-bone down to my breasts. He delivered equal attention to each nipple, until they were both wet and hard. He kissed down my navel and my body flickered as his tongue greeted my vagina. His tongue did wonders on my opening as I moaned loudly and writhed with pleasure. Then, his tongue went further; immediately a million thoughts ran through my mind… What’s he doing? What did I eat earlier? Did I use baby wipes? Please don’t fart. While he was devouring and fingering my ass hole I was worried like hell. I know an ass hole is an exit, so he can’t expect it to be 100% clean, Right? In the past I’ve had fingers in my ass while my partner fucked me from behind, I’ve even had partners bite my ass a few times. However, I’ve never had a person stick their tongue in it- What the fuck is this? But I sure as hell wasn’t going to stop him, because as weird as it was to experience- it felt SO DAMD GOOD!
After he had his fill; he came up, wiped his face and kissed me deeply. I was surprised to discover it didn’t smell or taste like shit. Would you look at that? I had no intentions on returning that favor, but I was definitely eager to wrap my mouth around his dick and with much delight, I sucked, licked, and stroked, until my heart was content. When he pulled me off of him because he could wait no longer to be inside me; he got a condom, bent me over, and proceeded to fuck the shit out of me! The phrase “motion in the ocean” was made for partners like him. Each thrust felt like ecstasy, each slap made me more wet, and when he slipped his finger into my ass, I was completely and utterly done. I had cum harder with him, than I had cum in a very-very long time. We crashed on the couch, naked, sweaty, and breathing very heavy. We drank more wine, and went two more rounds, before we retired to the bedroom to finally sleep.
That weekend, I went to The Pleasure Chest. It was obvious to me that he liked playing with my ass. As I was certain I would definitely be seeing him again, I wanted to be prepared for next time, if I could. I bought a butt-cleaning kit and as a bonus it came with a butt-plug- This might be fun!
The next time I saw him it was right after my workout. Unfortunately, his evening ended earlier than expected; I was planning to go home first and do a proper cleaning, but he called my Uber right after class. When I arrived at his place, I sat down to unwind a bit and he gave my shoulders a tender rub. I don’t know if it was his hands or just my overall horniness; but I turned around, pulled his dick out from his pants and proceeded to suck him off. I took a moment to remove my shirt and bra because I knew exactly where I wanted him to release at. I returned back and continued to lick and suck until he was ready to explode. With that he kissed me deeply and we got undressed and went in the shower.
Once we were both all clean, he put on, once again, Netflix. This time we actually watched an episode of Good Girls, while eating dinner. He made it clear that his refractory period was over and that he was ready to go again, and so was I. I started by kissing all down his body and sucking to get him ready. I was bent over on all fours with his dick deep in my mouth. He sat up to play with my ass, as I knew he would. He pulled me in to sit on his face; as I grinned down his fingers slipped into my ass; as if by clock-work I started to lose control. A few convulsions, then he turned me around, so we could 69. I tasted his pre-cum it was subtly sweet and I proceeded to work my magic. Pew!– A splash of saliva misted my ass and back as his fingers continued to fondle my tight hole. Flickers of his tongue, a loud moan from me, a suck and slurp sound. Pew!- Another mist; this one less shocking and more arousing. The mixture of his saliva cooled from the air touching my warm sweaty back was an entirely new sensation. What the entire fuck was I missing all my life?
My clit couldn’t take anymore; I needed him inside of me. Condom on, he bent me over and slid in deep as my body began to quiver from the pleasure. He starts to explore my ass again- one finger, then two. I’m moaning louder as he pushes into both my holes. I turn around and whisper. “I’ve got a butt-plug, you want to try it?”
My 2018 ended on an extremely low note: I had not had sex since August, I was still unsuccessful at online dating, and I felt like I was reaching for blog content. Growing tired of the nonsense, on January 1st, at the stroke of midnight I deleted all my dating apps and I figured I’d take time to just be alone and reevaluate the direction of my blog.
In January; after a year of carefully writing around the topic, I wrote my first story about my life and dating while having herpes.
In February; I took another step down the sexually free runway; and I attended my first sex party. I re-downloaded Tinder and Hing, and I explored FetLife (this should be interesting!). This time, however, I decided to have a different approach. What if I stopped searching for a relationship and just enjoyed the art of dating? Sure- many times I’ve said“I’m not looking for anything and I’m just having fun”. Then, like clockwork, on date three, I would begin to wonder: What are we? Where is this going? Big wedding or small wedding? How many kids will we have? Apartment or house?
This time around, I told myself to STOP! I told myself to not only smell the flowers New York Botanical Garden had to offer, but to enjoy the process of planting them too. The lilies, the tulips, the roses, the hydrangeas, the azaleas, and countless others. I told myself to find happiness in the sowing of the dirt, planting the seeds, the watering, and the sunlight. When a flower dies, that does not make its life lived any less significant. The death of the flower does not erase the joy you found in smelling and viewing it. Instead of waiting for the richest hue right before the decay. I made the decision to learn to enjoy the moments that were happening all around me, from the very beginning to the very end. I was excited to start this new journey. But first… I had to tell my mom.
So, in March I told my mother that, not only, was I bisexual; but that I was also polyamorous, and non-monogamous. To which she rolled her eyes, gave me a lecture about sex and diseases. To which, I had to remind her that, I actually acquired herpes when I was in a relationship; so, her point was moot.
For years I was determined to find the one that would deliver me from the endless hurdles of first dates and dry conversations. So, what’s your favorite color? What’s your favorite food? Blah blah! I hated talking to someone, and thinking it was going somewhere, all to find out that they were a total fuck-boy; but I kept on going. I believed that I would swipe right on the perfect guy, we would like each other, meet, fall in love, and live happily ever after. Fear of dating with herpes kept me on this self-inflicted-toxic-path for almost 4 years. I gave into the idea that people with herpes weren’t allowed date casually. If a guy hit on me at a party. I would flirt a little but eventually I would fade away. I couldn’t go around spreading my toxic vagina. I couldn’t have a casual one-night-stand. I had to dive all in and hope for the best. I didn’t have the right to be selective; because, people with herpes can’t be choosey. I had better be happy with whatever I could get!So, what! if he has no teeth, bad acne, not job, and a little wiener. He accepted your virus and now you’re together for life.
Then I had an epiphany. I am not now, nor have I ever been toxic. I am human and I deserve to be happy. As long as I was honest and upfront about my status, I could do whatever the fuck I wanted. That not only meant starting a situation-ship, that also meant ending one as well. I stayed in many relationships long past their expiration date. If he accepted my herpes, I had to accept whatever shit he came with as well; I had to make it work, because no one else would want me. I had to learn that I deserved the same happiness that everyone else had. I deserve romance, great conversation, and to have fantastic sex whenever, however, and with however many partners my vagina and mouth could handle. As long as I told them up front, I was doing my part. So, I decided to try something different.
Instead of writing a long drawn out profile, I kept it important to the fundamentals of what I was/am looking for, and I put it all on front street: polyamorous, non-monogamous, bisexual, and herpes positive.
Non-monogamy, because I am not in a space of solo-commitment. Polyamorous, because I actually require an emotional connection that precedes the desire to engage sexually (energies over sex). Bisexual, because I enjoy being with women as well; and of course, herpes positive because I’d rather not waste your time if it’s a non-negotiable for someone.
Within a week, I had a Tinder date; we’ve been seeing each other for just over a month. The following week I met a man from Hinge, and we too have gone on a couple of dates. I’m finally in a place where I am enjoying the journey of dating with no clue on where the hell I’m going to end up. I’m sowing the dirt, I’m planting the seeds, and I’m watering the soil. I’m enjoying the butterflies, the flirting, the conversations, the kissing, and some great sex. I am rooted in my happiness at the moment and hope you’ll continue with me on this journey.