"I have herpes and I’m too embarrassed to tell anyone. How can I ever date again?"
- Question submitted by Anonymous
Well, one, it’s okay to take a dating break until you’re a little more comfortable talking about that kind of thing. Two, if you’re into online dating there are totally websites that are specific to people who are experiencing the exact thing you are experiencing right now. Three, shit happens.
Now, I say shit happens not to discount the severity of this situation BUT TO LET YOU KNOW A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE DEALING WITH STIS AND THAT DOESNT MAKE THEM GROSS OR STUPID OR WEIRD OR DUMB. I’ve known countless people who have slept with someone only to later find out that human gave them an STI and didn’t say anything and now won’t return their calls. OR didn’t even know they had an STI bc they hadn’t been tested. We all know people who have been in that situation and the fact of the matter is, that’s just life sometimes. What we have to do is move forward.
Don’t sit in your room and think about how no one will ever love you bc that’s just not true. Go to your doctor, get checked out, grab some meds and practice honesty. If you meet someone you really like but you’re not comfy talking about your downstairs and things start getting hot and heavy you can stop and say ‘hey, i really like you but i’m not totally comfortable with going very far right now, can we take it slow?’ Any decent human being will be like ‘yea totally’ and then once you two know each other a little better you can be like ‘i really wanna get frisky but we have to be safe, i’ve made a mistake in the past and i don’t want to screw this up’ THEN the two of you will talk about what it is happened and they will be very understanding, maybe nervous, maybe confused, maybe upset, but you will have been honest with them and that’s the best thing you can possibly do.
Yes. What Dannielle said.
First: You have every right to feel embarrassed, upset, and confused about having herpes – because in general, those are the ways in which the world makes us feel when we contract an STI.
Second: Try to understand those shameful feelings as a product of your surroundings, and not as a true reflection of yourself. You are not gross. You are not dirty. You are not untouchable. You are a human being with a body, and you are fully capable of practicing safe and TOTALLY AWESOME sex with that body (just like everyone else, herpes or no herpes).
Third: You do not have to tell people about your STI on the very first date. I am repeating Dannielle here, but I think it is important to note that you can get to know someone before opening up to them about sex and your body… you likely wouldn’t be talking about sex on the first date otherwise, and you shouldn’t have to do so now.
Fourth: When you get to a place where you want to be intimate with a person, that is when the dialogue needs to happen. Remember that most people are scared or wary of things because they don’t understand them – so if you come to the conversation with information and are able to explain how you can have safe and enjoyable sexitime, you are likely going to find that you have a willing partner.