Tag Archives: HERPES

I ALWAYS FEEL LIKE SOMEBODY’S WATCHING ME

When I was a little girl, my street was closed off for a block party. I remember being in the middle of the road, with my colorful dress swaying as I danced to the music. I remember posing for pictures, raising my hand in school, auditioning for various social groups, and enjoying being the center of attention. You see, at a very young age, I was a performer, and as I got older, I perfected my craft. 

I live on the fourth floor, and on more than one occasion, over the 20 years I have lived at this address, I have left my curtains wide open. Over the years, I’m sure my neighbors have seen me sing and dance in my room, undress, have fantastic sex and masturbate at all hours of the day. There were many times when my mom would enter my room when I was getting dressed and close my curtains. She’d make a remark about my body being all over the internet that I’d brush off, and when she’d leave, I’d wonder if anyone was watching. I’d always been an exhibitionist at heart. So, it was only natural that, once I entered the sex-positive space of a sex club, I let my true freak-flag fly.

I’m 25% voyeur and 75% exhibitionist. I enjoy watching people have sex, but I really love being watched. When I used to masturbate, I used to imagine a crowd of bodies around touching me all over, helping me reach my orgasm. When I attended my first sex party, I was finally living out a long-awaited fantasy. The random hands caressing my ass, rubbing my legs, and pinching my nipples heightened my orgasm. After every party, I grew more emboldened.

As my primary partner and I attended more parties together, we often took center stage (not a real stage, just a bed). He would eat my pussy, I would suck his dick, then we’d fuck. We’d occasionally play with other people, then come back together to end our night. Having to tell a man you have herpes with another man’s dick in your mouth is no easy task. So, I got into the habit of inviting men that I already knew and were aware of my diagnosis. It would ensure that the night would be fun, my partners knew my status, and I would be thoroughly fucked by the time the party was over.

At the last few parties we attended, I started taking time to please myself when my pussy needed a break from actual fucking. So, while he was either cleaning up or playing with another woman, I took the liberty to pull out my Womanizer. I would lay back, relax, and let the fantastic sucking motion bring me to a wet orgasm. Every party where I used my Womanizer, a moist spot was left behind as evidence —Sorry. Not Sorry—

The last party I attended was a Luau themed party at Caligula. In the corner, I was getting fucked when one of my other partners entered the room, positioned himself in front of me, and pulled his dick out for me to suck. I was in heaven. —I’ll never know where or how this came to be my bliss, but I have no desire to turn back.— Nonetheless, they switched positions, and once again, I was getting pleased from both ends. Then my partner positioned me on his face and ate my pussy as I sucked my guy’s dick. When we were all thoroughly pleased, we went and danced for a bit. A little conversation, some flirtation, then we all ended back upstairs in the infamous corner. Another MFM threesome and my pussy needed penetration rest. 

The room was dark, so I laid back on the bed with my body facing the room, and I pulled out my Womanizer. I turned her on, and shortly after, the sensations started to radiate through my body. I moaned and writhed with pleasure as the guests in the room speculated what was causing me to make my sounds. Hearing their wondering voices made my breathing quicken, and as I had my orgasm, I let out a loud scream and a steady stream of squirt. I realized the bed was now soaked, so I pulled up the sheet to signal for the attendant to switch it out. 

I wanted to freshen up, so I tip-toed to the 6-person shower. I removed my lingerie, turned on the water, and soaped up. I had an audience, and I liked it. I thought about playing with myself to give my onlookers a show, but my clit was still sensitive, so I just showered and went back to the room. 

I ended up back with my original players and a special guest star. He had told me earlier that day that he wanted to fuck my brains out; and that he did. For what felt like an hour, and a shower break somewhere in the middle, I was fucked while slobbing two knobs. With lube and persistence as my best friends, I survived the pounding he delivered to me. When he finally screamed, “I’m about to bust!” and did, the entire room was cheering for me. They all knew that I had just taken a thorough beating, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Not too long after we finished, they began announcing that the club was closing. When I went to take my last shower, I was approached by BDE (the guy from Corset, Collar, and Lingerie – Part 3). I don’t know if he remembered me, but I definitely remember him. I gave him a short hello and went back to my partners. 

I may not care for eyes on me when I’m walking down the street or on the train. But, for some reason (maybe because it’s a sex-positive space), I love knowing that my sexploits are on full display. I suck with more passion. I moan so the person downstairs can hear me. And like a marathon, cheers from the crowd keep me going, so I can fuck longer. When I’m at a sex party, I feel that people are watching me, and I love it.

MY BISEXUALITY

Certain youthful thoughts will forever be engraved in my mind. I remember the day I got glasses because I tripped stepping off the curb; I was wearing shorts and pink clogs. I remember my first boy crush; we couldn’t have been older than 5 years old. We used to sleep next to each other, on our individual cots, during nap time. I remember one day when we were stretch partners; we put our feet together, held hands, and rocked back and forth. I remember this distinctly because both he and I rocked way too close to each other’s genitals, and after that, we were never stretch partners again.

Another thing I remember was my first girl crush. We went to the same school, lived in the same building, and lived on the same floor. She would always come over my house so we could play after school and on the weekends. I remember us seeing a (heterosexual) couple kiss on TV, and we wanted to try it. One day, when she was over, we hid by the kitchen table, and we kissed. After our lips made contact, we opened our mouths to allow our tongues to dance. When the kiss was done, we never mentioned it again. At eight years old, I didn’t quite have the language, but I knew I really enjoyed the kiss.  

The kiss we shared felt just as passionate as the flirtation I shared with the boy, from when I was five. So, at a very early age, I knew I felt a like for boys and girls, I just didn’t call it bisexual. As I got older, my attraction to women never waned, I just suppressed it for my like of boys. When you grow up in Catholic school, have a Baptist grandmother, and a heterosexual family, you don’t question anything, you just go with the flow. So, for years, I said nothing. I occasionally watched lesbian porn, on late-night TV, but didn’t read into it having to do with my sexuality.  

At the age of fourteen, I joined a youth chorus. There must have been a fine-print that I missed because almost every member was either gay or bisexual. I instantly felt at home. I finally felt free to explore that side of my sexuality without being judged. I flirted with my female and male peers; I even had a girlfriend for about a week. But, when she asked me for money, I broke it off. When my sister-in-law got wind of my questioning sexuality, she assumed they were trying to ‘turn me out.’ There was an exchange of words between her and another girl. And, just like that, I was back in something resembling a closet.    

I flirted with women on and off, but nothing ever manifested. When I was diagnosed with herpes, I put the entire idea to rest. I wasn’t allowed to be a questioning bisexual; so, I had to pick a side and stick with it. For almost a decade, I lived my life as a heterosexual woman, and most of the time, I was content. But, from time to time, I wondered what it would be like to flirt and be intimate with a woman; but fear of rejection kept me quiet.   

Then one day, when I was on PositiveSingles.com, a couple came across my feed. We chatted, met up for drinks, and a few weeks later, I had my first threesome and sexual encounter with a woman. I loved every second of it. Sadly, my time with them was short-lived, as they broke up soon after. I wanted the experience again, but it proved way too difficult to find women with a mutual attraction that wanted to meet. It also became evident that lesbians did not like women that were bisexual. And too often, the women that claimed to be bisexual preferred a consistent male presence, instead of a female one. I wanted to explore being with women only at that time.  

I wasn’t sure where I stood, so I decided the only way to know if I really enjoyed being intimate with women, without investing too much time, was to go to a sex-club. At my first sex club, and most after, I engaged with women. I enjoyed the feeling, but I still questioned myself. When I appeared on the Whoreible Decisions podcast, I defined my sexuality as bi-flexible. Since I never saw myself in a romantic relationship with a woman, it seemed unfair or a lie if I said I was bisexual. Fast forward a year later and countless sexual trysts with women at sex parties, I’m turning a new leaf. As my desire to engage with women at sex parties is beginning to disappear, my passion for real intimacy with a woman is increasing.   

When I’m walking down the street, and a beautiful woman walks past me, I don’t think to myself, damn, I want to eat her pussy (like a man would). I think I want to get to know her, and I wonder if she wants to get to know me, then we’ll see what happens. Despite being totally satisfied in my primary relationship, I want to explore a female connection on an intimate level.   

Every so often, I wonder how it would feel to walk, holding hands with my female love interest. I wonder how we would meet and what our first date would be. I wonder if she would be ok knowing that I’m polyamorous and a swinger. Would we intermingle our lives, or would we keep things separate? And I wonder if our sexual chemistry could transform into love? These are just some of the things that float through my mind when I think about my bisexuality. 

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. 

IF ONLY IT WERE THAT SIMPLE (PART 2)

Joke: If you google random symptoms, all roads will lead to cancer. If you have sex, all roads will lead to herpes; it’s almost inevitable. 

5-Lastly, PEOPLE LOVE SEX! And the general public’s unwillingness to change their sexual habits is the leading reason people continue to get STD/Is. 

Take HIV for example; HIV, unlike herpes (HSV), is a fluid transmissible virus (passed via blood, semen, vaginal fluids, breast milk, and in rare specific* cases saliva). The virus has to enter the person’s blood stream in order to replicate. The most common and effective way to minimize their chances of getting HIV, are to simply use condoms/barriers and test your partners before having sex (before Prep and Pep, etc). Seems simple enough right… WRONG!!!! 

The truth of the matter is; many people don’t use condoms. For whatever reasons people give: they’re too tight, they feel uncomfortable, allergic, or they lose sensations, etc. It all balls (pun intended) down to people don’t want to use them. I’ve had plenty of partners throughout the years (before and after herpes) that will get annoyed with me when I stop and tell them to get a condom. When it comes to the topic of getting tested; I remember asking men and they’re response was “Why?  You think I got something?” or “Don’t worry, I’m clean”; without even being able to tell me when was the last time they actually went to the doctor.  So, when you consider the reality that the use of condoms can minimize the spread of HIV; and people still don’t want to use them; that’s proof that people would much rather live in the moment and worry about the possible consequences later. And, for what it’s worth- there is nothing wrong with that. If you want to live a sexually empowered life, then do it. But, in this era of sex positivity, the conversation of sexual health is often not had.

The above (5) examples play a major role in the spread of herpes. I find it highly imbalanced to only focus on people not disclosing as the main reason this virus spreads.  

Truth Serum: I can tell a man that I have herpes and educate him on all the possible ways of contraction; and that man may decline to be with me (which is totally fine). That same man, will still go out the following night and sleep with the next woman (who may not know she’s positive), and still end up with herpes.  

This little story, is just another one of the many reasons why I can’t get behind the attack of a single individual for not disclosing. Everyone that had consensual sex (myself included) could’ve taken extra steps; but we(I) didn’t. Even if I had taken the extra steps (as I lined out in Part 1), I still may have contracted herpes. But in my case, I looked at my partner, allowed my trust in him and my feelings for him to be all the proof that I needed. The use of my feelings, that allowed me to assume his words and actions, as proof of his sexual health, was in-fact a choice, MY CHOICE. This acceptance of choice is what allowed me to get rid of the anger and find peace with my diagnosis; and that allowed me to heal.  

Many of the toxic people I describe, and often debate with, hold onto that anger; and when someone even hints at not disclosing they go into attack mode; because (I believe) they’re still very angry. Some people choose to sit in the anger and dish it out rather than do the self-reflection and acknowledge the choices they made that landed them where they are. In the end it’s not about blame, it’s about choice. A choice that we had and made; a choice that, had we not contracted herpes as a result of it, we’d be proud to have made. Just because the end result was one that was not desired, that does not make the entire act any less of a choice. When we agreed to have sex, we all signed an invisible contract, without acknowledging the fine print.

So, getting on an invisible pedestal to degrade another person, just because their choices don’t align with yours, does not make you any better. At the end of the day; it takes two to tango, and each individual should be responsible for their own sexual health. We all should want to know our partner’s status; not just think and or assume it; but many people don’t ask. We all should get tested regularly, and be able to happily exchange results with our partners before we have sex; but many people don’t.  

The reality is, many people would rather not spoil the mood or miss the opportunity. Most people won’t even talk about sexual health before they have sex. And, many people would be very happy not knowing the truth. People want to continue living and loving as if nothing has changed; hoping for the best. 

It’s ok to encourage people to disclose by sharing your experiences. But to attack them, only puts people on defense and often times, they’ve already checked out of the conversation. Navigating this virus isn’t easy; we don’t have to make it any more difficult than it already is. 

It’s time to change the conversation on herpes and start being proactive about our sexual health. 

IF ONLY IT WERE THAT SIMPLE (Part 1)

With a constant rise in new cases of herpes diagnoses, more and more people are seeking support. When I was diagnosed, in 2009, there was only the internet. The internet at that time offered only information, and no support for someone that was newly diagnosed. Thankfully, I had family and random friends for support to get me through.  

Almost a decade later, there are now dating apps (Positive Sines), podcasts (Something Positive for Positive People), activists and the HANDS organization (Herpes Activists Networking to Dismantle Stigma), books (Asking for a Friend), in person support groups (Love Profound); and lastly, a whole host of Facebook & Reddit Subgroups. Many are filled with support and positive energy; and for a person struggling with the virus, these options will offer you the most peace of mind. 

When I was diagnosed, sites like Facebook and Reddit weren’t as popular, as they are now. Now, there are plenty of great support groups on Facebook and Reddit, but the problem with these groups (and the problem with the internet period) is that, more often than not, they are filled with toxic people. I joined to hear the stories and offer advice. I felt that my journey of dating while being herpes positive, would be able to help others. I was shocked to find that there was so much stigma, shame, and degrading of others within these, so called, support groups. So much so that, I sometimes look back and think… Thank God! I was diagnosed when I was! Because there is no guarantee my journey would’ve been so positive had the “support” been as negative as what I see in some of these groups now. 

There are many studies that show groups that are often degraded will, in an attempt to reclaim their power, degrade those within the same group. The act of putting others down, to elevate the other’s position is rife within the herpes community. No topic garners more hateful, degrading, shaming, and stigmatizing speech than the issue of disclosing. 

Now, before I jump into things let me make it very clear. If you know that you have an incurable virus that may forever impact the life of another human being, you should disclose (tell them). Full consent does require their full knowledge of the risks involved. There! It’s done! The spread of herpes will now be forever halted- Right… Not Even Close! 

In a perfect world, disclosing only works for those that know they have the virus, in the first place. If we walk away from Fantasy World, and get back to the real world; we’ll realize that there are many more factors that contribute to the spread and contraction of herpes. The herpes virus is a HUMAN virus. Sure, there may be strains that live in the animal kingdom; but we are talking about humans, humans that process the cognitive ability to think, process, and then act. I will not touch on acts of rape and/or assault, as the entire event was not a choice. I am specifically talking about two consenting individuals making the choice to have sexual relations. 

No matter how old you are, we all had some form of sexual education. I, for example, went to catholic school; so, the information I received was more abstinence based. But the message that sex could lead to disease and un-planned pregnancy was evident. Don’t have sex or this or that will happen. So, even if it wasn’t the most fully informed education, we all knew that sex carried some risks. When we chose to have sex; engaging in the act, was signing an invisible contract that assumed whatever risk may come our way.  

When I was diagnosed after being in a committed relationship, I was furious. I was hurt, shocked, heart-broken, and briefly depressed. For a moment I wanted to scour the internet to find him and call him out. However, I had to take a step back and realize the role I played in this. Sure, I asked him and he said he was “clean” and we used a condom. But there were other tools at my disposal that I negated to use. I could’ve asked to see his test; but I didn’t. I could’ve postponed having sex until we both got tested, and exchanged results; but I didn’t. Even if I had, there’s no guarantee that his test would’ve included herpes (as most don’t); and because of that; I would’ve seen his results, that were absent of herpes (assumed he was negative), still made the choice to have sex, and ended up with herpes.  

A lot more goes into minimizing the spread of herpes than just disclosing one has herpes. So, I can’t get behind this moral compass of blaming someone else for the choices that we all knew, on some level, carried some risk. They aren’t called Sexually Transmitted Diseases because you get them sharing a hug. You get them when engaging in an act of sex.  

Now, there are many individuals that have herpes passed to them from a family member via an act of affection, and not sex (almost always a kiss). More often than not, this is classified as cold sores (oral herpes), most often Type1. But these cold sores (oral herpes), that most people forget they even get, have the ability to be passed to another person’s mouth or genitals, and they will then have (Genital Herpes Type 1_GHSV1), adding to the number of newly diagnosed genital herpes cases. 

There are many reasons why this virus continues to spread, and here are the ones that should be getting the attention, instead of attacking one person at a time, for not disclosing.  

1-The CDC does not require testing for Herpes 1&2. So, many times when you go and ask for “everything” you are not getting tested for herpes (HSV) or HPV. The medical community, outside of the CDC, are resistant to giving the test, when specifically asked by patients to be tested. Doctors are also constantly misinforming patients on what they should do after being diagnosed.  

  • Doctors have told patients as long as they take meds and use condoms, and refrain from sex during an outbreak, that they don’t have to disclose. (Completely forgetting that both Type1 & Type2 are capable of being passed with no symptoms present (Asymptomatic Shedding) 
  • Doctors have told patients with herpes antibodies that, because they have no visible outbreak or symptoms that they were only “exposed” to the virus, but don’t in fact “have” the virus; leaving them to believe that they pose no threat to sexual partners. 

2-Access to testing & education, play a major role in the spread of herpes, in the youth community and those communities that lack financial infrastructure.  

  • If education was mandated to talk about the herpes virus from a medical stand point; young kids would know that cold sores are herpes and have the ability to be contagious.  
  • If access to testing was affordable, many people would know their status. The reason why HSV is not often included is because it’s more expensive, so many people already have it, and the risk of a false-positive diagnosis.  
  • In addition, a person that’s never had a sore or bump isn’t thinking to ask for testing. People often assume NO SYMPTOMS = NEGATIVE, when that’s not always the case. 

3-Public Perception: Commercials have done such a great job at marketing cold sores as something you just put a little cream on, and you’ll be fine.  

  • Marketing doesn’t tell you that your cold sore is actually ORAL HERPES (most often, but not exclusively HSV1) 
  • Marketing also doesn’t tell you that your cold sore, can shed when you’re not having an outbreak; and if you happen to perform oral sex on your partner, you can then pass them Genital Herpes Type1 

4-This virus is tricky AS FUCK!  

  • When it comes to herpes, condoms don’t always work to protect a partner (if it did, I wouldn’t be GHSV2+). So, even if you use condoms and a partner is asymptomatically shedding; they can transmit the virus.  
  • Add to that, If you ask a partner to get tested, there’s often a 3-6 month window where the virus may be setting up shop before it’s visible on a test. The fact remains that even if you make your partner get tested and exchange results, there is still a risk that someone could have herpes. So, after you’ve had the conversations, waited to have sex, got the tests, then proceeded, and months later – still contract herpes!!!! What could you have done any differently? What do you do now? 

With this, I push you to stop looking at this virus as something that’s more than sexual, IT’S HUMAN. The most recent data says 1in3 have HSV1 and 1in8 have HSV2. So, it’s very likely you may have already been with a herpes positive individual, and not have known it. 

CONTINUED IN PART 2