Tag Archives: HERPES

I WONDER…

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Sometimes I wonder, how different my life would’ve been if certain things had gone differently. I know we often like to think that we have total control over our lives, and some believe that we have no control at all (what is meant to be will be). But a part of me believes that I may have been in a different place than I currently am if certain things hadn’t happened. And the clinker is, there is no guarantee that the hypothetical place would be better, worse or the same. 

I knew at the age of 8 that I liked girls too. I used to flirt with my boy classmate during exercise, but when I would hang out with my childhood friend after school, I felt the same way for her that I felt for him. And she was my first kiss behind the couch in my mother’s kitchen area. At the age of fourteen, I joined a choir, and with them, I found my new home and place to express myself. Half the group was either gay, bisexual, or what we once considered androgynous. There was a girl in the choir that I had a massive crush on, her name was Odessa, and she became my girlfriend for an entire week (at 14, that really meant something). She was my first conscious kiss, but she would be my last for a very long time. 

Shortly after she and I broke up, my sister-in-law got wind of my budding-sexual-curiosities. There was another girl in the choir that I found attractive. Because she was a year or two older and thus more experienced, I wanted to explore my sexuality with her. However, my sister-in-law saw her desire and attraction for me as predatory. To be specific, she thought that the girl was trying to “turn me out” instead of me genuinely liking her. She threatened the girl and told her that I was off-limits. I didn’t know how to express my feelings, and I was too afraid to speak up for myself, so that was the end. Even if I had been confident in my attraction, she (like many adults do) would’ve dismissed my sexual curiosities with, “you’re too young to be gay or bisexual.”

What is the proper age for someone to honestly know their sexuality? As young as eight years old, I knew how I felt; I simply didn’t have the language or courage to express it. So, it would be almost two decades before I would admit to myself what I had denied for so long. With my first threesome, I knew that my desire for women was valid the entire time. I had simply suppressed it. When my SIL and I talk about my coming out, she expresses that she wish I told her a long time ago. She didn’t see her actions as negative because she thought that she was helping me. But when it came to boys, her need to protect me wasn’t as present. This makes me wonder if she hadn’t intervened, how different my journey would’ve been.

I don’t have many regrets in life. I honestly don’t even regret being with the man that passed me herpes. Sure, my life would’ve been easier without the virus; but I don’t regret knowing him. The sex was great, and he didn’t treat me poorly; he just came with a lasting parting gift. 

What if I had explored dating women with the same passion that I dated men. Maybe dating both genders would’ve opened up the door of my sexuality a lot earlier. Perhaps I wouldn’t have sought the perfect male companion all those years. Maybe I wouldn’t have encountered so many male-induced heartbreaks. Maybe I wouldn’t have dated Will, and perhaps I would still be herpes negative. Perhaps I would’ve ended up in a long-term lesbian-presenting relationship and didn’t have to be on birth control for much of my adult life. Maybe my first “I love you” would’ve been with a woman instead of a man. Maybe I could’ve met, fell in love with, and married a bomb ass, sexy ass curvy woman. Maybe. Perhaps. Maybe. The fact remains that I will never know. But, because of various events, I lived most of my existence as heterosexual, never learning how to navigate the complexities of dating other women. So, when I finally came out at 30, people naturally didn’t believe me. 

Last year, I got into a debate with a later-exposed Hotep who was very opinionated on LGBTQIA+ representation. Like many heterosexual and misogynistic individuals, he argued that the increased representation of said individuals is media propaganda to force young (black) boys and men to become feminine. As if these very individuals didn’t exist before the invention of the TV. Like many who think like him, he couldn’t comprehend that, more often than not, people hide who they are for the comfort of others. It was easier for them to go with the lie that the media is brain-washing the minds of young (black) boys to become women or because they see it, they want to try it. You can correct me if I’m wrong. But, no amount of seeing something will make you want to do it if it was never on your mind in the first place. —No amount of seeing men kiss will make you want to one day break up with your girl and kiss a dude. If you never wanted to before, you won’t want to do it now.

Being gay, straight, bi, lesbian, and others is not a choice. Living your truth is a choice. And for years, I did not live my truth. For years I lied to myself every time I made a dating profile, and I only sought heterosexual connections. For years I denied myself the possibility when I turned away from a woman’s flirting eye. If my family had embraced me exploring my sexual orientation identity, my life might have been different.

I say all of this to say despite how you as a parent or adult feel, sometimes your child KNOWS. There is no such thing as too young to be gay or bisexual because feelings and attraction often precede the language to express such desires. If your child comes to you expressing their sexual orientation (or gender identity), listen to what they have to say. Allow them the ability, to be honest with you and go from there. Don’t shame or deny their feelings or identity because it is not what you want for your child. Provide them a safe space to be who they feel they are and allow them to come to a healthy conclusion, not a forced societal one.

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!

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.