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  • Writer's picturecocodensmore

HSV-2+ diagnosis + four months today.

January 17, 2022

HSV-2+ diagnosis + four months today. Another herpesversary.

My friend who was planning to attend the national herpes gathering in April is unable to attend. I’m not sure what I’m going to do. It’s not the money, it’s only $350 of hotel more I’ll need to cover myself, unless I find a roommate. But I don’t really want a roommate. I think I was relying on the security I’d have someone I truly know, who truly knows me, who I could bounce things off of as I was processing. I know there will be a lot to process. A lot.

And I guess, too, I was hoping if I got some wild idea to do something wild, like have sex or any of that business, I could bounce that off of her, too, see if I she got a sense the man was of good character and would be kind, and encourage me if she believed I was making a prudent choice.

But I know how to discern good character. Good lord, I’ve discerned plenty of bad character and gone against my gut often enough, the one thing I know for sure is what I don’t want. I don’t see myself settling for cads any longer.

But then there’s alcohol. But my gut goes against me on the alcohol! I just can’t physically do much of the stuff anymore. I can drink enough to get rosy cheeks and a warm happy sense of self and myself in the world, but not enough to impair my judgment and unwittingly fall into dangerous situations.

I think the bottom line is, I don’t give myself enough credit for managing my own life effectively. I can do it. I have done it. I will continue to do it. Yet, having herpes is so new. Being around actual people who have herpes, not just participating in online support groups, but actually being around people in real life that deal with this thing I deal with now, wow.

When I got the herpes diagnosis, I knew my life would be forever changed. And I say that with full knowledge my life will change only to the degree and in the ways I choose. However, just overnight, sex got more complicated.

The biggest issue is disclosure, which is what most of the men and especially the women are so distressed about in the support groups. I’ve done plenty of disclosure with the men I’ve matched with online, and no one has slut shamed me. Amazing. I expected things to be so different. They’ve asked questions, mostly about the risk of transmission, and they’ve shared stories of their friends that have herpes, or even disclosed they have it themselves.

I’ve been talking to one fellow for over a year, and I consider him a good friend. I did tell him about the herpes, and he was so kind and supportive, checking in with me every day, validating my wonderfulness. We finally met in person, but we had been planning to meet for months, long before my diagnosis. We didn’t have sex, the logistics didn’t allow for it that particular night, but we kissed a bit. It was lovely. We’ll see each other again. Sex? I don’t know. It will have to feel right for both of us.

As I type this, the tears start. I’m not ready to have sex. I’m just not ready. And I don’t know why, exactly. But even if he’s kind and of good character and he has herpes, I’m still just not ready.

I talk a big line about herpes being a nuisance skin condition. And so much of me, including so much of the core part of me, believes that without question. But there’s this small, yet extremely vulnerable piece of my soul that already hates me for making sexual choices that run contrary to who I am.

So much of the time, my choices have resulted in incredible affirming fulfilling experiences. But not always. And when there was a not always, I always saw the red flags before anything physical transpired and overrode my instinct anyway. Trust your gut, I always say. I do trust my gut, but sometimes I do the thing my gut is screaming for me not to do. When it hurts enough you make a change. I claim that often, too. I’m changing. For better.

Those last two paragraphs have nothing to do with herpes. This angst stems from much deeper feelings and beliefs about sex and how it’s all tangled up in the childhood sexual abuse, and all the abusive relationships I entered into as an adult, and a whole bunch of other traumas done to me and which I brought on myself because I didn’t like myself and I believed for so much of my life I deserved to suffer for the sin of being born sinful. The herpes diagnosis just triggered all that stuff all over again.

Herpes isn’t the issue. Herpes is a nuisance skin condition. The real issue is leaning into the knowledge I will make decisions that are best and right for me. The very deep down soul root of the issue is learning to love and value and honor me.

I Persevere. And life goes on.



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