Tag Archives: SAFE SEX

LIKE A COZY SWEATER

Sex (for those that enjoy it) is a wonderful thing. After a long day, sex can often be better than a stiff drink. I love everything that leads up to sex; and it often starts from when he licks on my nipples, to when he buries his face in between my legs and tastes all of my juices. After he delivers me my first orgasm, he gets on top of me and slowly enters me. As I can feel his penis pressing through the tightness of my entrance and once he’s inside; I can only describe it as, amazing. But what does that really feel like, it’s hard to describe. As he proceeds to fuck me, in as many positions as my limited flexibility will allow, I revel in the pleasure of knowing that he too is loving every single moment of being in my body. When he finally reaches his orgasm, I deliver myself an invisible pat on the back and know that I have, once again, satisfied my partner. It’s one thing to know you’re a good fuck, but I’ve never known how good, until my partners started verbalizing it.  

The first time, I remember, a partner attempting to describe how sex with me feels, I was in my late twenties. This particular partner loved to fuck me; the problem is, he never lasted long. I would freshen up to go and see him. We’d kiss, he’d play with my nipples and he’d be hard as a rock. Then once inside, he’d deliver a few good thrusts; and although I could feel him trying to hold out, all the time he would fail. One afternoon I was highly upset, and I called him out on it and his response was, “he missed me”, and my pussy “was too good”. I asked him what he meant; because he made it clear that this only happened with me. So, I needed to understand what he felt. He described sex, with me, as; an ice-cold coke on a hot summer day, when you stopped drinking coke years ago. I guess I understood what he meant, and I was grateful for the accolade; but I had made up my mind that his sex was no longer worth the walk across the street for me.  

At the last swinger-party I attended, my partner and I had an amazing time. After he pleased me, I happily returned the favor, then we proceeded to enjoy the other party-goers. Every once in a while, in between our individual pussy devouring and sex sessions we would circle back around to one another, and reconnect. As the party came to an end and the lights came on; two of the men I had played with during the night couldn’t stop bragging about how good my “punany” (as one guy called it) felt and tasted. They kept calling it; good, amazing, and fantastic. They asked him if he was my man, to which he said yes. Then they proceeded to congratulate him on being able to enjoy me whenever he wanted. I didn’t quite know what to say; but “Thank you” and blush. 

In a room full of pussy, I was semi-surprised that mine garnered such accolades. I’m aware that when there is an emotional connection, the sex can be much more magical. But these were two strangers, and there was nothing but animal lust driving the interaction. I mean- sure, I do my Kegels; but, could sex with me be that different from other women? I had to take their word for it, until it was solidified with this remark.  

I had an amazing sex session with M_Tinder. We hadn’t connected in a while because we were both busy; but he didn’t let distance stop him from sending me enticing pictures and telling me what he planned to do to my body. When I arrived; after chatting with his roommate for a bit, we headed to his bedroom. After kissing, he made his way to my breasts then to my pussy. He used his tongue to deliver me an intense orgasm and long after he drank my juices, he kept on going. He took his time fucking my body in a variety of positions. He fucked my ass while I used my womanizer on my clit and found another, more intense, orgasm. Then, he switched out the condom and finished fucking me doggy style. We passed out, and in the morning, I showered and left for work.  

I was sitting down and eating my breakfast when he messaged me to make sure I had indeed enjoyed our time together. I told him I had a fantastic time and I asked him the same. That’s when he responded “Yes! Your pussy feels so great and comfortable.” At first, I took a moment to process exactly what he meant by it. More often than not, comfortable means just that, but without pizazz or anything special. So, needing better clarification I said, “Like a cozy sweater” and he replied “Exactly!”. Then it all made sense.  

You know the feeling of cold in the winter time. Not just any cold, but the cold that gets under your skin and sits in your bones to where nothing feels warm. Then, you find or buy this nice, fluffy, soft, cozy sweater that warms you up and then you just want to go to sleep… That’s how my pussy feels.  

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

THINGS UNSAID: Following up on Herpes, after the Whoreible_Decisions Podcast

There were so many things left unsaid. I’m lucky I have platform to break things down further. (IT’S A LONG ONE)

I’ve lived in New York my entire life; and while I know well the streets of Manhattan; if you drop me in the Wall Street area, I’m likely to ask a tourist for directions. Downtown Manhattan has no logic; there are no numbers, just street and avenue names, and unlike the rest of Manhattan, that’s a grid format, downtown is a series of awkwardly shaped triangles and irregular squares. 

After wandering for 10 minutes, I finally arrived at the right place. Once in the room, their banter was a mental shoulder massage, that calmed my nerves for the recording. MandIi noticed my notes and said; “Bitch, you got notes!”. Yes!– I came prepared with 8 pages of notes, armed and ready to dismantle the stigma that is herpes; I was ready to lay some facts on the world. That’s when she told me that she didn’t want to focus on the data of herpes, but more on how I lived my life and dated casually, while being herpes positive… There went all of my notes! 

Overall, I got great feedback and my words, and hearing my story, it helped a lot of people feel better about their status. So, even though I’ve discussed herpes on many posts during the life in my blog; I want to take this post to dive into breaking it down further. (Be Prepared… It’s a long one) 

WHAT IS HERPES, REALLY? 

First of all, herpes is NOT a skin condition. I know that many of us positives like to label it as such, to make it sound less scary to a potential partner, but that’s not the reality. A huge part in breaking the stigma is being honest; and if we’re being 100% honest; herpes is a viral infection of the nervous system, that is transmitted via skin to skin contact. There are two most common type of herpes is HSV1 (most often in the form of cold sores, with a rise in genital diagnoses), the next is HSV2 (most often genital herpes). 

THE MAIN TYPES OF HERPES (HSV1 & HSV2) 

First of all, it’s important to note that; the type of herpes is NOT exclusive to the location. A person can have HSV1 on any area of the body: face, cheeks, lips, and the genital region (anything below the belt). HSV2, although most commonly in the genital region, can in rare cases be present on the face, cheeks, or lips. It all rally depends on the individual’s immune system and where the virus was introduced to them.  

So, let’s break down oral herpes. We’ve all seen young kids and adults with cold sores or fever blisters, well those were/are herpes. Most children acquire the virus from a relative. If you ever got a kiss on the cheek, or if your parents ever kissed you as a child; if they had the herpes virus in their system (aka a history of cold sores), they may or may not have exposed you to the virus. It’s interesting to consider that an innocent kiss, a human act of affection can forever impact a person’s life. But none the less, we are humans, we kiss, and sometimes when we kiss, we transmit herpes.  

Genital herpes, on the other hand is solely, sexually transmitted. Before I go and break this one down, I want to take a moment to give a little quasi-history lesson. Herpes (in various forms) has been around since the beginning of time; but let’s jump to why there is a stigma with genital herpes in the first place. The reason is… SEX! For decades, a genital herpes diagnosis indicated that you were either, having sex before marriage or cheating on your partner. Unfortunately, as casual sex started to become more prevalent during the sexual revolution, the stigma on what it meant to have herpes still remained and began to multiply. For those determined to police the sexually free; degradation and fear tactics became the norm. Fast forward to today, and you have a stigma with enough weight to pound a Buick into a box the size of my palm. 

Our bodies are covered head to toe with nerves. These nerves are responsible sending notes to our brain to be processed. If a person hits us, we feel it and our brain processes it as either pleasure or pain. So, regardless of where you stand on religion, politics, or sexuality; that is a fact that you can’t deny. The desire to feel pleasure, give pleasure, and receive pleasure; is, at it’s very core- human. As humans, we feel, we cry, we kiss, and we have sex. All of these biological actions are what makes us human, and sometimes, when we are being human, we make choices; and those choices may result in us acquiring herpes. Sure, if given the choice no person would CHOOSE herpes; but once we have it, we shouldn’t feel ashamed about it; because we got it being human. You wouldn’t feel ashamed if you got a cold right? So, I look at it the same way.  

FALSE INFORMATION 

  • When you ask to be tested for everything, that test, most often does not include herpes.  

HSV (1 or 2) are not included on most STD tests; which means, a significant percent of people with the herpes virus have no idea. This same percentage of people are able to transmit the virus, even though they have no symptoms. It should go without saying (but I will say it anyway). The virus can be transmitted with no outbreak present, this is called viral shedding (when the virus is present on the skin, but with no symptoms). Condom usage, a healthy diet, and incorporating antivirals minimizes the risk of transmission by a great degree, but there is no 100% guarantee. 

  • You don’t have herpes, because you’ve never had an outbreak. (Outbreak = positive, No outbreak = negative… WRONG!!!) 

Herpes does not always manifest itself in the way we assume it would. If you had a sex-ed class, you probably, saw images of blisters. Even though this is the most common manifestation of the virus; depending on the person’s immune system their initial outbreak can appear in a variety of ways. I’ve heard stories of it looking like a scratch, like raised skin from an insect bite, a small rash, and even a single bump. There are also those that never have an outbreak, but they may get a cold or have flu-like symptom; (9 times out of 10, you wouldn’t attribute a case of the sniffles to herpes) so, you wouldn’t go and get tested. But that may be an indicator that your body is taking a hit.

  • Cold sores are not herpes, so I don’t have to disclose. 

People with cold sores or fever blisters (or any other fancy name) you choose to call your reactions; just know that they are, in fact, HERPES. Many people will say, “well, it’s not the same”, but if you look at HSV1 & HSV2 from a medical standpoint: they are both life-long viral infections, and they both can be transmitted, during shedding (no outbreak) and/or an outbreak. This is a horrible example; but If I had to break down the DNA of HSV1 vs HSV2. Look at your hand (all 5 fingers & palm) as HSV1, then consider your hand and add in the wrist, that’s HSV2. I won’t sit here and say that, if you have a history of cold sores, you should tell every potential partner. Honestly, the decision to disclose (with oral or genital herpes) is a personal decision; especially since the CDC doesn’t require testing and many doctors don’t advocate disclosing. But consider this; if you don’t mention that you get cold sores to your partner, and you perform oral sex on them and by accident, you transmit the virus to their genitals; consider what does that mean for their sexual future. Hence why people advocate for disclosing.

  • THE STIGMA OF HERPES 

The most difficult part of this virus is, in fact, the stigma. People assume we are walking blisters; in pain everyday all day, and that we are always living with outbreaks. They assume that they will know what a person with herpes looks like and they assume that a person with herpes must’ve had an entire host of partners, and that’s how they got their virus. When the reality is: most people never have symptoms; and overtime (as your body adjusts to the virus) those that do have actual outbreaks; the outbreaks, become less frequent less painful. And the biggest myth of them all is the whore-herpes-false narrative. I know plenty of people that contracted this virus with their first partner, from cheating spouses, and casual sex. There are plenty of people with hundreds of partners and don’t have herpes and there are people with only one partner that has the virus. You won’t know until you ask and get tested.  

  • FACT: THE FIRST YEAR IS POSSIBLY THE WORST 

Studies indicate that you are most contagious during the first year of exposure to the virus (if you have an initial outbreak). A newly diagnosed individual may, after their first outbreak, experience recurrences, and may also be shedding the virus as the body has not fully begun to build HSV antibodies. On the opposite end a person may acquire the virus and never have symptoms, they too, during this period are most contagions due to viral shedding. 

  • SO MANY UNKNOWNS 

Because we are human, above all things, we need control and answers. We need to know that 1+1=2; because the idea of the unknown is scary; then, herpes happens. We’re taught that if we are careful and have ‘safe-sex’ we will be alright; then herpes comes along and throws that idea out the fucking window. The reality is that, herpes doesn’t care who you are, what you are or how you identify. It doesn’t care about your race, your income, or your profession. It doesn’t care if you go to church or if you’re having sex in back alleys. Herpes doesn’t think, it just does what it wants. And at the end of the day, it wants to travel and replicate and it, unfortunately, uses us humans as the means for that connection from point A to point B. 

STARTING OVER AFTER HERPES 

So, your results come back, positive for herpes, now what? If you go to a GYN or regular doctor, you’ll find pamphlets and support groups for alcoholism, drug abuse, cancer, and HIV; but you’ll rearely find any for herpes. In school (again, assuming you received sex-ed), all they told you about herpes, at best, were ways to avoid getting it and that it was incurable. Everything is before; they never educate you on the after. Often times, when you’re told that you’re HSV positive, the doctor writes you a prescription for antivirals and sends you on your way. It’s a sad reality that there is little to no support (from the medical community) in combination with the stigma. 

The stigma and shame of sexuality, has told us that being diagnosed with herpes, is our penance for being loose, promiscuous, or too sexual; and because of that, we now have to live in silence. The stigma tells us that we are dirty and unworthy of finding true love; and if you do happen to meet a person willing to accept you, you had better shut your mouth and be happy. The stigma tells us that it’s our fault and that we now have to walk around with a scarlet “H” burning a hole in our hearts. The stigma, that fucking stigma needs to take multiple seats.  

We are not dirty! We deserve love and respect! And, we deserve to be happy!  

If you are struggling with your diagnosis, there are support groups on Facebook and Reddit. There are advocates working to dismantle the stigma of herpes and spread the truth. It helps to have friends or family you can talk to about what you’re going through; you shouldn’t have to do this alone.  

If you are a human being, that has sex (whether it’s with one partner for 500) herpes is inevitable. 9 times out of 10 you either know someone with the virus, already had sex with someone with the virus, or will have sex with someone with the virus in the future. That’s just the reality of the virus.  

How you choose to live your life, whether negative or positive is totally up to you. All I hope is that, after you’ve read this post is the following: 

1- If you’re already living with herpes, you know that you don’t have to go through it alone.  There are various platforms on the internet that you can seek out and join to have a piece of mind.  Confide in family and friends and never be afraid to live your truth. I know the fear of being “outed” can be terrifying. But there reality is, once it’s out there- no one can tell your story.

2-If you’re herpes negative, and want to remain that way, instead of assuming your partner is STD(I) negative, you both go and get tested together. It’s better to know than to assume.  

3-If you’re herpes negative and you encounter a person that’s herpes positive; understand the courage that it took for them to be honest, and think back to this post. There is nothing wrong with not wanting to pursue a person with herpes, but remember that they are still HUMAN. Thank them for telling you and respectfully decline. DO NOT shame them or call them names, as they are already dealing with enough.  

If you feel like I’ve missed something, or you have any questions; my email is up and running, so don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

WORKING THE GARDEN

My 2018 ended on an extremely low note: I had not had sex since August, I was still unsuccessful at online dating, and I felt like I was reaching for blog content. Growing tired of the nonsense, on January 1st, at the stroke of midnight I deleted all my dating apps and I figured I’d take time to just be alone and reevaluate the direction of my blog. 

In January; after a year of carefully writing around the topic, I wrote my first story about my life and dating while having herpes. 

In February; I took another step down the sexually free runway; and I attended my first sex party. I re-downloaded Tinder and Hing, and I explored FetLife (this should be interesting!). This time, however, I decided to have a different approach. What if I stopped searching for a relationship and just enjoyed the art of dating? Sure- many times I’ve said “I’m not looking for anything and I’m just having fun”. Then, like clockwork, on date three, I would begin to wonder: What are we? Where is this going? Big wedding or small wedding? How many kids will we have? Apartment or house?  

This time around, I told myself to STOP! I told myself to not only smell the flowers New York Botanical Garden had to offer, but to enjoy the process of planting them too. The lilies, the tulips, the roses, the hydrangeas, the azaleas, and countless others. I told myself to find happiness in the sowing of the dirt, planting the seeds, the watering, and the sunlight. When a flower dies, that does not make its life lived any less significant. The death of the flower does not erase the joy you found in smelling and viewing it. Instead of waiting for the richest hue right before the decay. I made the decision to learn to enjoy the moments that were happening all around me, from the very beginning to the very end. I was excited to start this new journey. But first… I had to tell my mom.  

So, in March I told my mother that, not only, was I bisexual; but that I was also polyamorous, and non-monogamous. To which she rolled her eyes, gave me a lecture about sex and diseases. To which, I had to remind her that, I actually acquired herpes when I was in a relationship; so, her point was moot. 

For years I was determined to find the one that would deliver me from the endless hurdles of first dates and dry conversations. So, what’s your favorite color? What’s your favorite food? Blah blah! I hated talking to someone, and thinking it was going somewhere, all to find out that they were a total fuck-boy; but I kept on going. I believed that I would swipe right on the perfect guy, we would like each other, meet, fall in love, and live happily ever after. Fear of dating with herpes kept me on this self-inflicted-toxic-path for almost 4 years. I gave into the idea that people with herpes weren’t allowed date casually. If a guy hit on me at a party. I would flirt a little but eventually I would fade away. I couldn’t go around spreading my toxic vagina. I couldn’t have a casual one-night-stand. I had to dive all in and hope for the best. I didn’t have the right to be selective; because, people with herpes can’t be choosey. I had better be happy with whatever I could get! So, what! if he has no teeth, bad acne, not job, and a little wiener. He accepted your virus and now you’re together for life. 

Then I had an epiphany. I am not now, nor have I ever been toxic. I am human and I deserve to be happy. As long as I was honest and upfront about my status, I could do whatever the fuck I wanted. That not only meant starting a situation-ship, that also meant ending one as well. I stayed in many relationships long past their expiration date. If he accepted my herpes, I had to accept whatever shit he came with as well; I had to make it work, because no one else would want me. I had to learn that I deserved the same happiness that everyone else had. I deserve romance, great conversation, and to have fantastic sex whenever, however, and with however many partners my vagina and mouth could handle. As long as I told them up front, I was doing my part. So, I decided to try something different. 

Instead of writing a long drawn out profile, I kept it important to the fundamentals of what I was/am looking for, and I put it all on front street: polyamorous, non-monogamous, bisexual, and herpes positive.  

Non-monogamy, because I am not in a space of solo-commitment.  Polyamorous, because I actually require an emotional connection that precedes the desire to engage sexually (energies over sex). Bisexual, because I enjoy being with women as well; and of course, herpes positive because I’d rather not waste your time if it’s a non-negotiable for someone.  

Within a week, I had a Tinder date; we’ve been seeing each other for just over a month. The following week I met a man from Hinge, and we too have gone on a couple of dates. I’m finally in a place where I am enjoying the journey of dating with no clue on where the hell I’m going to end up. I’m sowing the dirt, I’m planting the seeds, and I’m watering the soil. I’m enjoying the butterflies, the flirting, the conversations, the kissing, and some great sex. I am rooted in my happiness at the moment and hope you’ll continue with me on this journey.