~Fuck this entry is long but worth reading to the end, I promise!
Doesn’t it make sense we use condoms when perusing the streets of sexual adventure? The more I have open and honest conversations with people I come to realize that it just isn’t a concern for most. There are people that seriously do not ever use protection and they are fucking around like jack rabbits. Ok great, you have “solutions” for pregnancy and some STI’s but what the hell are you thinking? Gotta love the ones you ask about testing and they tell you how their last fuck was tested and clean so that in turn omits them from having anything. Bet your ass most people don’t have a clue what they are risking and what STI/STD’s they could be contracting and quite easily at that, even with a condom. No wonder STI/STD’s are rampant and to boot it’s the honest, trusting ones who end up getting fucked and contracting something because of a careless, dishonest partner.
When we attach stigma’s to prevalent issues we end up doing ourselves a major disservice. We force people to be ashamed of something that is no longer in their control. They end up hiding, in turn putting others at risk, all out of fear. Fear of being judged, fear of being labeled and looked at differently. Let’s talk about HSV, yes most of you likely have to go and google the abbreviation so let me make it simple, Herpes Simplex Virus. Oh did you just cringe?! Why? I’d say it’s because you are knowingly ignorant to what HSV actually is. I’d say you are attaching a nasty stigma to it, shame on us, not on the people who suffer from it. Ok so what is currently running wild in your imagination? Did you go and google HSV images and almost barf. Well shit go and google any image of a virus or infection and you’ll be grossed out. Now attach that image to somebody you love, somebody who means the world to you; put a face to it and make it real in your world. Are you still going to be a complete dick about it? I sure hope not. For starters those images are the worst of the worst. Do you seriously figure somebody with HSV walks around with extreme outbreaks the entirety of their lives? Again such ignorance. I for one can tell you that one of my best friends suffered from HSV-1 (commonly-cold sores) when she was younger and most people were cruel about it, to no fault of theirs of course. We were young and it wasn’t something our parents openly talked about. My dad also has HSV-1 and even then our parents never had the open dialogue about it. We also didn’t have access to the internet; yes I’m old as fuck, haha. Even if we had access to the internet, as we do now, I am sure nobody would care to do their due diligence to understand what this poor girl had to suffer through, all because a relative kissed her, passing the virus along. She had to endure the consequences of ignorance for the entirety of her young childhood, adolescence and adulthood.
Do you actually know the most common ways HSV-1 can be contracted? When I asked my doctor for screening on the virus she laughed it off telling me I was being paranoid and foolish. She informed me that I could potentially get the virus from rubbing against somebody’s arm or sharing a sip of somebody’s drink (obviously an outbreak makes contraction more likely). That’s how prevalent the virus is and how easily it can spread, so stop being a complete asshole about it and respect the risks everybody “unknowingly” takes. Oh ok so you use condoms right? Well did you know that somebody with HSV-1 on their mouth can infect your genital area by going down on you? In all honesty who is using a dental dam or condom when giving oral? Ummm, I sure ain’t! Wait for this, US stats show that more than 1 out of 6 people aged 14 to 49 have genital herpes, most people with genital herpes- close to 90%- don’t know they have the infection. About 1 in 2 people aged 14-49 have HSV-1. Globally 2/3 of the population under the age of 50- more than 3.7 billion people- are infected with HSV. This is blaringly obvious that most of us are risking it every time we are intimate with somebody we are not in a monogamous relationship with. Ok so you have been tested for ALL STI/STD’s and so has your partner. Likely not, HSV is not screened in regular testing for STI/STD’s. This is something you have to specifically ask your family doctor for and they will only do it if you have been exposed to the virus by a sexual partner or have had a suspected outbreak, otherwise they will only begrudgingly screen for it if you are a persistent dick about it. Even then the screening can cause false negatives and vice versa. Basically what I am getting at is the next time you decide to jump on the asshole bandwagon and look at somebody sideways when they have a cold sore or have the gull to tell you that they have genital herpes, you will step back and put a goddamn face to it.
I’ll be honest I was going to leave this entry at that but I’m sick of the internal fight over sharing my full truth. It’s been a constant struggle to share this so publicly. Recently I had a girlfriend ask me if I believed in past lives, which had no relevance to this entry, but it triggered something in me. I do believe that this life has immense meaning and I am here to learn and grow exponentially. This very much factors into the relationships I build with the people in my life. I truly believe that my purpose in this lifetime is to share my truth and be the most authentic person I am capable of being. There is no doubt that this a huge learning curve for me as I move through my learned behaviours and fears. I will forever be working to further enlightenment but I truly believe my progress has been quite substantial thus far. Yes you may be thinking that it’s easy for me to do this because I write this blog anonymously, but I only do to a degree as a lot of my family and friends follow me on this journey. I also basically have this blog posted on my forehead because I willingly tell anybody I meet about it.
Anyways back to the origin of this post. To a degree I was very much that ignorant asshole to STI/STD’s seeing as I was in a monogamous relationship for 14yrs of my 32yrs of life. It wasn’t until I became single again that paranoia struck me hard. It doesn’t help that the first guy I was with after T* was obsessively freaked out by STI/STD’s so the fear grew for me. My reality at the time was that I was raising a little with somebody who was becoming increasingly difficult, the last thing I wanted was more baggage like an STI/STD, specifically one I’d have to live with the rest of my life. HSV was my biggest fear and I tested for it after every new sexual encounter. The fear was imbedded and my ignorant fucking ass had another thing coming because the universe was going to make me pay for it. Yes, I have what my friends and I like to refer to as angry asshole, HSV-2. When I realized I had my first outbreak all I could do was laugh about it and I continue to laugh about it. There is no point in feeling any other way over it because it’s the hand I was dealt and I now have to face a future with it. I ain’t bullshitting you, of course there have been times I have fallen apart and cried over it. It honestly comes down to my shitty, shady ass moral compass surrounding sharing that truth, with people I am sexually intimate with, which brings me to such a deep emotional level. I will come back to that but first here’s how it all came about.
The first guy I had unprotected sex with was E* and even then I was naive. I had the full battery of screening done yet I was satisfied when E* told me that he was tested a year ago, when he entered his last relationship. He reassured me with the foolish notion that he trusted his then gf which in turn made him confident in knowing he was still clean. Ummm, that’s not how practicing safe sex works! Then came K*, the 4th guy I was sexually active with after leaving T*, almost two years deep into the dating game. I made my second “mistake” with K*, deciding not to use condoms after he told me he was clean. I say mistake, but that attaches shame to it and I do not want to put that on him. I can now understand his hesitation and struggle to initially come clean about having HSV-2. Most people whom I tell about how I contracted HSV-2 immediately want to chastise K* but I am far from having an inkling of hard feelings towards him. If anything I am sympathetic to anybody struggling with their truth. It’s honestly why I find myself sharing this on my blog, to not only keep myself accountable and on an ethically moral pathway, but to form some kind of understanding for how hard it is to share such a raw truth. Let’s be serious, it’s way too easy to withhold the information or straight up lie about it, especially when you don’t have outbreaks, yet the daily reminder of taking a suppressant keeps bringing me back to my truth. How can I continue to tell people I am the most honest and open person they will ever meet, yet I hide this? I can’t, it eats me alive. This is when I find myself feeling sorry for myself, crying about the fact that I struggle to be honest about it. My first line of defence is to keep talking about it. It’s honestly so discouraging to have open conversations about having HSV and continually be slapped with the warning of never having sex again, as long as I plan on sharing this piece of information with potential sexual partners. This isn’t surprising to hear due to the mass ignorance and stigma that blocks people from really understanding the virus. So be it, this is my future, I can’t change it! I’d rather be honest and celibate (not by choice) than suffer from the lies that I would be embedding into my reality. With that said, you bet your ass I have withheld the information from sexual partners and sooner than later I have regretted making the choice. I’ll address that later, but let’s get back to K*! Initially with a little more digging K* told me he had HSV-1 (from his grandma). I swear to you I totally freaked out. At one point I even mentioned being legitimately concerned I’d unknowingly give it to my daughter (as most people do not show signs of having the virus). I found myself struggling to figure out how I was going to continue a relationship with him, basically how could I “justify” the risk factors related to contracting the virus. I remember calling my brother and sister at one point to talk it out. My brother who comes purely from “his” logic and easily ignores human emotion insisted I bail. I could see his point, considering K* and I were only a fling at that stage, yet here I was circling back to the fierce attraction. This is when I turned to my sister, for more sound advice as she comes from love and reason. She quickly made me realize that I was treating K* as if he had the plague. Here I was willing to punish him for something he had no control over. Once I wrapped my head around my stupidity, I quickly came to terms with it. It became quite clear considering I would likely be taking the same risk with anybody I planned on being sexually intimate with. Simply stated, why wouldn’t I be willing to take those same risks with somebody I already had a meaningful connection with. As time passed and I started to form a real friendship and trust with K*, he eventually came clean and told me that he indeed did have HSV-2 and was struggling with minor outbreaks due to extreme stress. By this point we hadn’t been using condoms for awhile and he wasn’t using a suppressant, as to why he was having minor outbreaks. This would have likely been when I contracted HSV-2, as we were clearly not taking the necessary precautions during the time of his outbreaks.
It was a good ten months after meeting K* that I had my first outbreak. At first I had no idea, I honestly thought we just had rough ass play and he scratched me, but when the sore didn’t go away and other symptoms started to surface, I was slapped in the face with the reality of it. I seriously laughed out loud when the lightbulb went off, even though I was in pain. Yes the first outbreak is the worst and I only had a sore smaller than the size of a pea, but it no doubtably hurt like a mother fucker and the outbreak lasted a good three weeks before I found complete relief. Ok now I’m scaring you right?! Nah, it isn’t that big of a deal and I knew once it passed I’d never have to suffer like that again. (My second outbreak, the same size sore, lasted three days, one of which was extremely uncomfortable.) I should add that me suffering for a full three weeks was not of my own doing. The first week was due to the fact that it took me that long to realize what I was actually suffering. Once I finally saw a doctor, I straight up told him I was 99% sure I had HSV-2 and was just looking to close the gap to 100%. He took a swab and was quite sure himself yet this dink decided not to give me an antiviral drug to help with the symptoms and I suffered another two weeks. It’s hard to explain what I dealt with as the pain was substantial and I had this crazy urgency to pee that affected me 24hrs a day. Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t at 100% the full three weeks but it was pretty intense either way.
After my relationship ended with K* I found myself having to face the dating scene with my additional “baggage” and the inner fight for sharing my truth was as real as it could be. My moral compass was hijacked and my friends influences were of no help. I had them constantly in my ear telling me that I was foolish for wanting to be so forthcoming, especially with people I had no desire to be in a committed long term relationship with. In the midst of this I met W*, the first guy I had been with after finding out I had HSV-2. We both had an understanding that it was going to be nothing more than a fling and he had no interest in asking about practising safe sex so I just insisted on using a condom and let it be. After sleeping with him a few times my conscience got the best of me and I found myself reaching out to my friends, I was a complete mess. I begged for guidance but it kept coming back to lying. It was either, who gives a fuck don’t say anything as long as you’re using condoms or it was advice to come clean but lie in the process. I knew if I wanted to come clean I couldn’t bury it in lies. Well W* and I stopped hanging out before I could nail him down to tell him my truth. The plan was to make sure I talked to him before posting this entry but the slippery little fucker is hard to nail down, so the best he got was a link to the entry. Sorry W*! (BTW he read the entry and took it in stride, he’s extremely respectful and appreciated my honesty, even after the fact. This was a reality check for him as it was common place for him not to practice safe sex and had never been tested. He has since reached out to me in an effort to “hang out” again, haha!)
Then D* came along and fuck me, here I was hiding it again. After all the heartache and shitty feelings over hiding it from W*, I kept telling myself I was going to be honest with the next one. My friends were once again of no help, even worse this time around. I’ll tell you why, because D* is 10yrs younger than me and at first it seemed pretty cut and dry that this was just going to be a fling. With my friends constant reminders that I would never get laid again I foolishly thought it was going to be easy to withhold it from him. Well it sure doesn’t end up sitting well because my conscience always gets the best of me. After building a friendship with D* and sleeping together a few times I found myself in a dark place, feeling like a horrible human being for hiding it from him. How was I justifying it on such shady terms of it being ok because it was just a fling. Fling or not this was somebody who deserves the same respect as anybody else and I really started beating myself up over it, so much so that I found myself fully running from it. I had so much fear over it that I was determined to just end it with him instead of facing my shitty choice of not being truthful with him before being intimate. On the night I planned on spilling my guts to him I found myself opting out and I straight up told him I never wanted to see him again. Poor guy, I really threw a fucked up wrench in things considering that as far as he was concerned things were going splendidly. I immediately regretted it and fell into a pretty shitty state of being, completely falling apart. Here I was willing to push somebody good out of my life to spare myself from facing my fears. My head was spinning and I knew I had to make it right and come clean, to see if I could salvage even the idea of a friendship at this point. When I finally got him to come and hang out with me again I felt so numb and blank over what to say to him. I am sure the days leading up to our meeting, lack of sleep and pure exhaustion very much factored into me vibrating over the idea of having to tell him. I somehow got the words out without any kind of rehearsal to pep myself up. Let’s just say it was much easier than I anticipated and the jokes with my friends about him punching me in the face were all left behind. He was a true gentlemen about it and didn’t lose his shit on me, far from it actually. Obviously it’s a lot easier for somebody to come to terms with it when you have had a chance to build a friendship first but in all honesty dating is quite different as an adult. It is very much based on sexual attraction and I am forced to face the conversation a lot sooner than I’d like. Either way at the end of the day I know I have a lot to offer and if HSV holds somebody back from journeying with me, short term or long term I could care less, as it is what it is. I can’t harbour hard feelings over my circumstances and I refuse to fight for something that isn’t meant to be, one must accept all of me!
Ponder this idea, next time you have a get together with a bunch of your friends/family have them anonymously circle yes or no on a paper to this question… Do you or your significant other have HSV-1 or 2? I bet you will be surprised to see the results. I know you dicks aren’t brave enough to do it and that’s ok, not all of us are capable of being that raw and honest, even with our close friends and family. Talk about an awkward dinner party, and you know exactly who the host of it would be, moi! You’ve been warned!
I was personally surprised to find out that my best friend also has HSV-2 and it just so happened that she was staying with me when I had my first outbreak. It’s how we came about the ridiculous term, angry asshole. Before her arrival I had told her that I was at the doctors because something was wrong with my asshole. When I picked her up and we were in the grocery store, out of nowhere she inquired about my doctors appointment, then straight up asked me if I had the herp! I was so confused, I was sure I hadn’t told her that it was the reason I was there. She then followed it up her inquiry with a bold statement, “It’s not a big deal, you have an angry asshole. I have it too.” There was a huge rush of relief and I was in the middle of the grocery store aisle rolling around with laughter. It couldn’t have played out any better, having her there for the week as I suffered the peak of the outbreak, cracking jokes left and right to get me through it. Being able to be honest with her really helped me come to terms with it; I put a voice to my fears, never holding back. She doesn’t necessarily help in the dating realm as she has been in a long term relationship for awhile but her and her man are on my speed dial and their support is amazing. We have had lots of dry runs on how to speak my truth with potential suitors, it’s seriously hilarious. They are wonderful human beings, I adore and love them like no other. We always joke that I will never have to be celibate because I can just join them!
The reason I find myself being so open and honest about living with HSV is that it comes down to being able to release the emotion and disappointment behind it. I will never have to live with the fear that surrounds my truth on my own. This is who I am and I refuse to hide something I have no control over. I am grateful to have such amazing people in my life who allow me to share my truth without judgement. My to the point, no holds barred approach to life has never altered the deep connections I have with the genuine people in my life. I will forever feel love and acceptance from them, and that’s all that counts in this world. HSV doesn’t change who I am, it’s a minuscule thing that lives inside of me, so be it. Now the ongoing joke is that I should just send potential suitors to this entry and get it out of the way, haha! You know if anybody is going do something weird and off the wall, it’s me!