Category Archives: MEN AIN’T SHIT

This doesn’t apply to all men, of course. There are pockets of honest, faithful, openly communicative, and trust worthy men. But, some of ya’ll Ain’t Shit!

TalesOfToney: True Stories of Dating, Love, Polyamory, Sexuality, and Herpes

July 9, 2021

From Behind The Glitter Curtain: An Erotic Memoir is Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and AppleBooks

It had never occurred to me to see myself as a victim. On some level, we have been conditioned to see victims as a clear black and white line. However, in this new era, and growth of the “Me too” movement, and the understanding of spectrum behavior, I realized that I too have been in many me too situations.

I never wanted to be a victim of rape, so, more often than not, when I found myself in a sexual situation where I didn’t want to move forward, I conditioned myself to agree to the act to avoid being violently raped. Sure, I could’ve left. But the fear of being pulled back into a room and forced pushed me to consider engaging as my only option. And, when your options seem extremely bleak, they don’t seem like options at all. 

It recently occurred to me that I was once a victim of coercion. During my recording of the How I F*ck podcast, the host asked me about my first sexual encounter after being diagnosed with herpes. 

I was at the house of a guy I was dating, we were watching a movie at his home, and I hadn’t disclosed my status to him yet. Eventually, the moment arrived when he wanted to have sex, but I didn’t want to have sex. I told him I didn’t want to have sex. But he proceeded to push forward. In the final moments of the tug-of-war, as he was not taking no for an answer, I made a choice not to be a victim of undeniable rape. But in turn, and with years of breaking down rape culture, I became a victim by another name. That name is coercion. 

Although I never saw myself as such, it took years of education to learn that consent is freely given and can be taken back at any time. One sexual encounter does not guarantee you access forever. And the inability to remove consent or not feeling safe enough to withdraw consent means that the act falls on the spectrum of rape culture.

The Spectrum.

It takes a powerful person to acknowledge that all they thought they knew is now questionable and, in many cases, outright wrong.

I grew up at the height of the rap era. Women in bikinis, shaking their asses. Strip clubs and pool parties were the focus of every video, and bottles of Dom sprayed across the weaves of every moist bodied video vixen. It’s hard for men and women growing up in this era to realize that those scenes played a pivotal role in what we now know as rape culture. 

You can even take it back to the 70s and 80s with a cult classic like Revenge of the Nerds. In the movie, the main nerd character donned a mask to trick his crush into having sex with him. Let’s not forget the blacked-out date-rape in Sixteen Candles, or the peeping Toms in Porkys, or the attempted car rape in Back to the Future. 

Sometimes what people bitch about as “cancel culture” is calling out fucked up shit. (I challenge you, go back and look at these movies and tell me you’d want your daughter in those roles). 

I’ve experienced having my ass grabbed when I was 14 at a street festival. I was followed on the six train in NYC on my way home from college. My elementary school friend and I were even followed on our walk to school by a pervert who fondled himself from a (not so far) distance. Even receiving unrequested dick pics in my phone (I swear that book is coming); it’s all problematic. 

But the worst, by far, was when I was exiting my building and rushing to get into a cab when a man approached me. Because I didn’t make time to stop and talk to him (you know, because I was getting into a taxi), he felt entitled and enraged enough to threaten my life. 

“I should shoot you in the back of your head bitch!” Were his words, to be exact. Not knowing if he meant it or not, as the driver pulled off, I slid down in the back seat.

This altercation still sits with me because I had no clue how to respond. I still don’t know how I would react if it were ever to happen again. The nerve of a total stranger to feeling so confident and comfortable to threaten my life simply because I didn’t stop to engage in his advances.

I hate to go down this road, but I’m going to do it anyway. 

As a black woman living in NYC, most of the disrespect I’ve experienced was at the hands of black men. Black men who will call me cute one minute, then turn around and call me a bitch when I ignore them. It’s been black men that have followed me for a block to get my attention and turn disrespectful when I deny their advances. It’s been black men in passing that feel they had ownership to my body, so much that they saw fit to reach their hand out to touch me. WTF!!!

For those men fixing their mouths to say the “That’s not me” bull shit, you’re missing the point. 

It doesn’t have to be you. But it’s happening to your daughters, sisters, cousins, aunts, mothers, friends, etc. It’s happening. Ask the women in your life if they’ve ever been verbally assaulted, followed, threatened, cat-called, coerced, or inappropriately touched. If they tell you yes, I challenge you to listen to them, then consider what measures you can do as a man to change the pattern of negative behavior.

The black man-child that shot at those women dining outside, those women could’ve been your sister. The black man-child-cowards that beat up the black woman at the liquor store in NYC, that woman could’ve been your daughter. 

How do you, how do we change the cycle for the next generation? How do we change the culture of rape, entitlement, and violence towards black women? We can’t continue to march and fight for the same black men that turn around and victimize us in the streets and the homes.

Some great black men do not perpetuate these acts of violence. However, those who do, do it so loudly, boldly, and proudly that they often overshadow the good men.

As a “good” black woman, I don’t want the least desirable of us being the standard for all of us. So, all the “good” black men need to be louder and more visible than the toxic and problematic ones. 

You’re tired of the black male generalizations; me too. So, FIX IT!

MONOGAMY SAVED MEN, NOT WOMEN

Being in the poly community, it’s common to hear men say, “I want multiple wives.” Even before I became poly, men often said it to make themselves seem more masculine or like they could get all the bitches. For decades, men minimized the responsibility of having multiple wives to only meet their sexual desires. But when those very same men were asked if they could afford those wives, they often went silent. 

History Lesson: In ancient times and even in the animal kingdom, only the richest, strongest, and most powerful men had multiple wives. For centuries, it was a man’s responsibility to take care of the woman, be it his wife, mother, sister, or daughter. Sure embedded in that ideology was tons of misogyny, but no woman would go hungry if a man were around. Because women always outnumbered men, sometimes 4 to 1, how was it possible for every woman to be taken care of? This was the real reason for polygamous unions; it was for every woman to have a husband, NOT for every man to have multiple wives. 

A man was able to acquire as many wives as he could financially provide for. And, since wealth often remained with the rich and powerful, those who lacked the finances often found themselves without or lusting for female companionship. 

I’m certain some ancient-time-INCEL got on his angry soapbox in the middle of the town square and screamed at the top of his lungs, “Give me a woman, or I’ll start blowing shit up!” And some lower-ranking man of the kingdom said, “Fine, you can have my mistress, just don’t blow up the town.” This was often how women were used in olden times, as bartering chips. Do you really think a princess and prince separated by oceans married for true love? Do you really think they wanted the consummation of their marriage to be seen by all of the royalty? Do you really think she enjoyed the pressure to give her husband a male son to solidify their union? Silly Rabbit!!!

With that INCEL throwing a tissy-fit, we began seeing monogamy. Monogamy became a way for men with meager means to find a spouse and create a lineage of their own. Men whose trade was a welder could pass down his name to his children, thus making the Welder family. Yes, more often than not, people’s last names were nothing more than their profession. If your last name is Taylor, it’s highly likely your ancestor (or, in the case of many brown bodies), your ancestor’s owner was probably a tailor. Your last name is Miller, then you probably had someone harvesting wheat in the past. 

So, how are we now at a place where men of meager means feel they have the ability to get and/or expect multiple wives? It’s a combination of patriarchy and feminism. 

You see, feminism and feminist ideals arrived out of necessity. Remember that, for centuries, women were 100% attached to a man. A woman needed a man for everything, but what would happen if that man no longer existed. If her father died, her brother, husband, and son, who was she, and what value or influence did she have? An unmarried woman was considered a bitch to the societal norms. But, as women continued to outlive men and meager men could now choose a bride, some women weren’t chosen. The unmarried women left had to but push for change, get jobs, and fight for fairness. (Keep in mind black women had already been working the entire time, so this new push is extremely white-centered). But that was the ideals of feminism, fairness, and equality. If I had to work, I wanted to be paid the same. 

Somehow though, this desire for fairness was met with opposition from both men and women. Some women couldn’t understand why others didn’t want to follow the tradition. What do you mean you don’t want to experience morning sickness, gain 30-40lbs, having your vagina stretched wide, and risk postpartum-depression? Being a mother is amazing! While men didn’t want women monopolizing their space. And those men who suffered the earliest influx of women went out of their way to make them feel insignificant or sexualized in the workplace. Patriarchy (white-patriarchy) is the fucking devil. So, the narrative became, women who wanted independence outside of a man was the enemy. “You don’t want to get married and have my babies? Fine. Do everything yourself then.” As if wanting my own, in case of emergency, was code for I don’t need you for anything. (Venus Vs. Mars).

So, why do some men feel that they have the right to possess and/or want multiple women? Because both men and women are dumb as fuck and refuse to learn their history.

I blame women because we often fall victim to the status-quo of yesteryear. The ‘every woman needs a husband’ theory still holds true in many households. They often forget the LBGTQ+ community, those that don’t want to get married, and those who prefer quality over quantity. All that matters is that there’s a man present. Growing up in the city, I saw it all the time. Women so determined to have a man in the home, they cared not for his character. He could cheat, be an alcoholic, abusive, and not provide financially. But as long as he had a dick, he could stay. Being able to say “I got a man” meant everything, regardless of the fact that he was a shitty-man.

I blame men because some women allowed them to feel empowered, and they ran with it. Even the good men stood by and cheered them on. (Complacent ass-holes). He was able to go around and fuck other women and make babies outside of the home. But as long as he came back that night or the next night or next week, he was welcomed with open arms. He knew that the odds were in his favor. Remember, women outnumbered men, sometimes 4 to 1. Take that same percentage and focus it on black and brown communities, the ratio almost doubles. Leaving men the ability to get away with damn-near anything. 

Monogamy saved y’all asses. Women of yesteryear dealt with bastard (children born out of wedlock) because they were married to the King or Duke or whatever. He had more than enough money to go around. But you men of meager means need to take a seat and keep your dick wrapped up. Don’t go chasing water-falls, then complain when it gets too choppy. Stick to the rivers and lakes that you’re used to. Because if it wasn’t for monogamy, you’d be getting no pussy!

B!TCH, YOU TRIED IT!

When I decided to start my blog, my purpose was to create a shared emotional outlet. When I began divulging my sexual exploits, I strapped on my seatbelt and got ready for the ride. When I made public my herpes status, I braced for impact. I knew very early that my views and progressive ideas about sexuality, sexual health, and inclusion would not be popular, and I didn’t care. I stopped caring about what others thought, and I focused on telling my story. I told my story for myself and those who needed to hear something different, something new and inspiring. 

With every story, every blog, and every interview, more and more people reached out to me and congratulated me for being the voice they couldn’t find. I’ve since picked up the torch, with other sex-positive activists, to push and correct the language for change. Every day we’re posting, tweeting, blogging, and podcasting for proper and thorough education regarding sexual health and STI stigmas. We know that the road ahead is long, and we continue to rush against the tide. I take pride in what I do, and I maintain a positive outlook, even in the face of nay-sayers. However, last week, I found myself having to check a bitch!

To be clear, I use the word bitch the same way the late great Bernie Mack used the word “Mother-fucker” in The Kings of Comedy. The word bitch is used as a noun to describe a person, a place, or a thing. And by my definition, these people were complete and utter bitches. 

On Facebook, I’m a member of many sex-positive, polyamorous, and swinger group. These groups exist as a safe space for both new and veterans of the lifestyle to meet and engage with like-minded individuals. The groups are regularly a sex-positive space that exists without shame. So, imagine my surprise when a group member decided to screenshot comments from a post, repost them on their page, and use it to further perpetuate an already existing negative and inaccurate stigma.

A close FB friend of mine alerted me to a gentleman that used my public position on being herpes positive to sex shame by writing, “It’s all fun and games until you catch something.” Of course, he posted this in a group that I wasn’t a member of, so I joined the group and addressed him directly when it was brought to my attention. For what it was worth, the group people actually attacked him for trying to shame me; kudos to them. But I wanted to know what his goal was?  He claimed that he didn’t like promiscuous people, and he thought that was a good enough excuse. I took the opportunity to inform him that many people who find themselves STI positive (especially when it came to herpes) were anything but promiscuous. 

The kids living with herpes (acquired through a kiss from their parents), to the victims of assault and rape, to the people who didn’t know their partner’s cold sores caused a threat, and the people whose test results didn’t include herpes. There are many ways a person can get an STI without being promiscuous. He continued to debate me with opinions, despite my facts, but I was relentless. He claimed that he was just trying to get the information out there, and I told him he could’ve done that without adding his little flair. When the conversation got too heavy, and he realized that he was in an unwinnable fight, he flipped the switch and commenced blaming the women he stole the post from.

In full transparency, he wasn’t in the original group where the comments were screenshot from. It was a black woman in the (polyamorous, swinger, sex-positive) group that took it upon herself to screenshot the comments and repost them on her page, and he copied them from her. As black women, we are already oppressed. As black women who are sex-positive, we are double oppressed. It never ceases to amaze me how people who already exist in an oppressive society will find empowerment in oppressing others. I went on her page and couldn’t find the actual post, but from her ill-informed followers’ comments, it is evident that sex-positive activists had A LOT of work to do to break the stigma.

As much as he tried to deflect from the virtual ass-whooping I was serving up, he was right that I should re-direct my energy to her. But before I do, I had to make it clear; I didn’t care to change his mind. Truth be told, I never go out of my way to change the minds of those who have their heads buried in the sand. I only ever comment to reach those struggling with their diagnosis, know someone who is struggling with their diagnosis, or be a voice for those who (years later) need to remember seeing my comments, to see that they are still loved. I do it to empower, NEVER to shame.

Now, onto Bonita (aka Black Becky), your ignorance runs through your veins. The fact that you saw fit to try and shame a person who is already public about her herpes-positive status shows not only how immature you are but how desperate you must be for attention. I’ve looked through your Facebook, and you’re all over the place; you reek of someone incapable of thinking for themselves, and your followers are no better. I’m sure that you and over half of your negative commentators genuinely believe that they “know when a person got something,” despite the fact that you, or them, have probably NEVER seen the full STD panel test of your partners. You’re ill-equipped with the knowledge and ability to have the conversation, and you gloat from a position of sheer-luck and blind-faith. 

In closing, I’ll say this. You are toxic. The rhetoric you perpetuate is toxic. And the fact that you tried to infiltrate a sex-positive space only to shame others is toxic. I pray you get all the help you need and that you don’t find yourself facing the same ridicule you tried to place onto others. 

Bitch, You tried it!

BLACK FEMINIST

I will never understand how some people can love one part of a person’s anatomy, but when people organize and ban together to support that shared anatomy, it becomes the most hated thing in the world. This thing is pussy-power, AKA feminism, or for my specific purpose BLACK-FEMINISM OR BLK-FEM. 

I’m a member of various social groups, so I witness the human unfiltered audacity on a daily basis. I get to witness the shit that most people wouldn’t say in mixed company, but behind the safety of a screen, these people feel emboldened to express their toxic opinion as fact ¬—Welcome to the digital age! — And when this happens, I feel it’s my duty to set them STRAIGHT!

A few weeks ago, I entered a back-and-forth debate with a keyboard-gangster on the topic of feminism. He posed the question, why do black women support feminism when the movement wasn’t originally for them. I responded with, the same reason why black men support patriarchy and the nuclear family, despite both being pillars and symbols of white supremacy. —He did not like that.—  We went back and forth a few times, then he blamed feminism for why the black family is broken and they don’t care for black women. That’s when I had to hit him with the facts.

For those who are unfamiliar with the origins of the feminist movement, he is correct. In the 1920s, the movement was predominately for white women to gain some semblance of independence from their white husbands. To achieve this independence, they joined with black women (strength in numbers, AKA pussy power) to push for change. We marched together, lobbied together, and when some of the battles were won, they closed the door on black women issues. As the movement continued to grow over the decades, the feminist movement as an ideology continued to focus on white issues, ignoring those issues that affected black women. 

Despite decades of fighting, it wasn’t until the 1970s and 1980s that black women started to draw a line and call out the fact that white-feminists had, for decades, dismissed black issues. But, the damage was already done, and black women began forming their own organizations that focused on issues that plagued black families. We saw a new wave of feminism that wasn’t white-washed. The new wave was UNAPOLOGETICALLY BLACK —BLACK FEMINISM—

Feminist ideals, at their core, are universally about fairness and equality. I sincerely believe that if you lay out scenarios of what feminism fights against, most people would fight for those same things. But, mention the word F-word, and people go running.

1. Your daughter/sister/mother has a job, and they find out that their salary is $20K less than their male co-worker, even though they do the same exact job. 

2. Your daughter/sister/mother graduates top of her class, with honors, and goes for a top company job to get turned down by a man who lacks her credentials.

3. Your daughter/sister/mother is sexually harassed at work, and they take the issue to HR, and HR dismisses and minimizes the case. 

4. You want your daughter/sister/mother to have ownership over their bodies and what they can do with it.

5. Your daughter/sister/mother is getting abused by their male spouse, you’d want them to be free and safe to press charges for their safety. 

The above issues are about fairness, equality, and safety. None of them are about casting aside men (especially black men), as some would push you to believe.

It’s difficult for people to consider the fact that some women don’t want to have kids. I mean, it’s been pushed down our throats since birth that our only goal in life, as females, are to get married and have kids. It is okay if a female wants the above for herself. But feminism makes it clear that if you choose to not have kids or get married, that is also okay. There is nothing wrong with a woman that wants to work instead of having kids. It’s her body, so it’s her choice. 

While all the above is fine and dandy, black feminism kicked in the door waving the four-four, screaming, “Hold up! Wait a minute!”

Black feminism shines an even brighter light on all the issues that affect black men, black women, and thus, black families; while also calling out those female-women who don’t acknowledge our problems because they don’t see through our glasses. 

Yes, we are in an era where black men and women are making more money than ever before (minus the pandemic). From black CEOs to black COOs, we’re doing the damn thing. But the reality is we are still earning less, even within our highly decorated fields. The order often goes White Man, White Woman, Black Man, Black Woman. My race and gender shouldn’t correlate to my salary. If I do the damn job, pay me my money. 

He argued that feminism tears down the black family dynamic, and that liberals are the problem. This is not the first time I’ve seen (what I consider) weak men use this argument. They, and those women who are also anti-feminism, often refer to the old-school nuclear family ideology. This was when the husband would work and support his family while the wife stayed home, and dinner would be on the table by 5pm. That vision is lovely, but as stated before, it’s very white and not realistic for the world we currently live in. Even higher earning working-class black families, with no kids, need two incomes to survive, depending on where they are. And our original cultural upbringing was more ‘a village to raise a child’ than ‘every man for himself.’

He then blamed welfare and black feminist women for black men not being in the home instead of looking at the real and undeniable data on systemic issues. 

He didn’t mention the lack of black male presence due to gun-violence, drug-use, alcoholism, spousal abuse, mass incarceration, and the fact that some men simply don’t want the responsibility of being a father. He ignored all the above, but make feminism his focus of animosity. Because of his animosity, he didn’t care to learn that the new wave of black-feminism is in full support of the black family (despite the lies that others push).

When a black son or husband gets locked up, who do you think takes on the family’s financial and emotional burden? Who do you think is the person putting money on his books, answering his phone calls, and making the visits? The black woman.

He didn’t care that black-feminists are actually the women marching on the front lines for so many of the black lives lost at the hands of law enforcement and random gun violence. Their marching is for black lives and black families.

He didn’t care to research the fact that many black-feminists, for decades, have been pushing for criminal justice reform, to altogether abolish the prison system. We know that people who go to prison, have a higher chance of becoming repeat offenders. Prison does not rehabilitate the person: what it actually does is put a scarlet letter on their back while making it harder for them to get back on their feet after they have been released. Add to that the over-sentencing of black men compared to white offenders being under-sentenced. This disparity creates years of broken black families. And black feminists, by fighting these injustices and if they succeed, can restructure and restabilize black families.

He didn’t care to research that black-feminists call attention to and are combatting the systemic injustices regarding health. He brought up the abortion rate amongst black women as a tactic, completely disregarding the black woman’s choice. But he remained silent when I brought up the fact that black women are 4x more likely to die during childbirth, and black children whose mothers experience trauma during birth have a higher infant mortality rate, which directly impacts black families. He also didn’t know the numbers that show black women are often diagnosed with more aggressive types of heart disease and various cancers, while the many ailments that affect black men (high blood pressure, colon cancer, heart disease) cause them to die younger than their white male counterparts. 

These are all pivotal issues for black-feminists, as these issues don’t plague the white community like it does ours. And this is just the tip of the iceberg of the matters that black-feminists fight for. 

Another follower expressed his disdain in dealing with difficult feminist women as justification to not support the (black) feminist movement, which I found amusing. Black women continue to support black men. We support and fight for the same black men that verbally, mentally, and physically assault us, day in and day out.  We put our feelings aside because we know that we’re fighting the injustice that may be forced upon them, and that’s not okay. 

And as with any group pushing for change and equality, there will always be some extremists. But the same way we don’t paint a broad-stroke and hold a grudge against all black men based on the actions of the few, we should receive the same support. And the actions of the few should never overpower the truth of the movement. 

So next time someone tries to make you feel bad for being a feminist or black-feminist, do your job and school them with the facts.

WHAT IF…

A few years ago, I found my first herpes support group on Facebook, and on the façade, it seemed very supportive. Messages of “Keep your head up!” Be strong, you’ll find someone!” and “It wasn’t meant to be.” seemed to flood the daily feed. Even though I knew I wasn’t the only person living with herpes, it was great to finally see and hear other people’s stories. The overall morale of the chats was positive and uplifting, which for a newly diagnosed individual can be essential. However, every so often, I would come across a post asking for advice and support.   

I feel terrible, and I need your advice. Last week, I was drinking, partying, smoking (whatever) with my friend. Things got out of control, we had sex, and I forgot to tell them about my herpes status. I feel terrible, and I want to tell them, I just don’t know how to.  

It didn’t take long for me to realize that once the comments have been disabled, it was safe to assume that the poster was virtually attacked. Similar posts often bring out, what I like to call, The Bully-Brigade. The Bully-Brigade is the barrage of people that come together to virtually bully anyone whose actions and views don’t align with theirs. With comments like, “You’re a terrible person.” “How could you forget…” and “People like you should be locked up!” — The Bully-Brigade has struck again.  

The comments and attacks vary, but the one that sticks out the most is the one of blame. It’s the person that says, “You know, many of us wouldn’t be here if our partner had told us. If my partner had told me that they had herpes, I never have had sex with them. You should’ve given them a choice.”   

This one always bugs me, because they so conveniently forget that they, in fact, did have a choice. To have consensual sex, without knowing your partner’s sexual health status, was a choice. The power to control the sanctity of my body is my responsibility, and the same for your body. Do you not eat when you’re hungry, drink when you’re thirsty, or sleep when you’re tired? So, why when it comes to sex, is it only the other person’s responsibility to protect you? I don’t say this to point blame, I say this to take accountability.  

Think of your body as a new car you just bought. You wouldn’t give the keys for your new car to a person whose driving record you didn’t know and whose license you haven’t seen, would you? No! You wouldn’t! But if you did, and they crashed it, was it not your choice to hand your keys over to them, in the first place? We don’t take that risk with material things, but we assume that risk with our bodies every day. From the moment I laid eyes on my partner, once I know I want to have sex with him, the responsibility to ensure my sexual health is mine, and mine alone. It was my responsibility to make sure that he posed no threat to me, and the choice I made to not verify his status was, in fact, A CHOICE.   

Over the years, I learned to stop arguing with The Bully-Brigade; because they had already made up their mind that their positive diagnosis was someone else’s fault. What I try to do now is pose the question, what if…  

You say — “If they had told me they had herpes…” I pose the question — “What if you had asked…?”  

What if they told you they were clean, because the test they took didn’t include herpes? Therefore, they had no way of knowing they had the virus.   

What if they had the test that included herpes, but because they recently acquired the virus, the antibody test came back negative? (It took 9 months for my antibodies test to detect herpes).  

What if you had used condoms? (I used condoms when herpes was transmitted to me).  

What if they told you they had a history of cold sores? Marketing doesn’t make it clear that cold sores and herpes are the same virus. Many people don’t think that their cold sores are herpes or that they can impact their partner’s genital region. What if this information was made clear to the masses?  

What if doctors did a better job of educating patients before, during, and after their diagnosis? What if they pointed patients to support groups after their diagnosis, instead of giving them a prescription and sending them on their way?  

What if sex education was clear and transparent, and inclusive of all sexual behaviors, sexualities, and sexual health? What if consent and boundaries were mandated? What if the stigma was never able to exist because people were educated on the truth of all sexually transmissible and non-sexually transmissible viruses?  

What if testing were made easier for all to access? What if when I asked to be tested for everything, I was tested for EVERYTHING?  

What if we stopped shaming sex, sexuality, and people with STD/STIs?  

What if you’re herpes positive, you disclose to your partner, but you don’t ask to see their results in return? (Is that not, once again, handing someone the keys to your car without checking their license, all-over again?)  

What if asking about a person’s sexual health was as easy as saying hi? What if asking to see a person’s test results (and getting them), was as easy and pleasurable as having sex?  

What if they never assaulted me?  

What if the dad, the aunt, the uncle didn’t kiss the toddler, and pass them the herpes virus?  

What if the mother didn’t kiss her child and pass them the herpes virus?  

What if you had waited another 3-9 months to get re-tested before having sex?   

What if you had waited to go and get tested together?  

What if you had asked your partner their sexual health status?  

While the what-ifs are endless, none of them can guarantee that you still wouldn’t have ended up with herpes virus. With all the precautions that you could’ve taken in your adolescent or adult life, you still could’ve acquired the virus before ever taking your first steps. At the end of the day, we’re all here. So, instead of focusing on what if, focus on the future. A lot of why we feel what we feel is stigma. So, instead of trying to change others, maybe we can change our perception. And with that, we can change the stigma.