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  • Writer's picturecocodensmore

I didn’t think she deserved herpes, but I did because I was a slut.

When I was in my 30s, a good friend also in her 30s contracted herpes. She’d had sex with three men. One before she was married, her husband, and one shortly after she was separated. The third gave her herpes. I remember holding her while she cried and saying, “I’m the one that should have gotten this, not you. I’ve been with more men than I have fingers and toes to count.”


I didn’t think she deserved herpes, but I did because I was a slut. It took me many years and a lot of therapy to let go of the ludicrous standards beaten into me during my ultra conservative Christian upbringing, thwarted beliefs which spawned my lifelong struggle with low self-esteem.


I know now, beyond a doubt, STIs are not punishment for sex, they are not punishment for having multiple partners, and they are not punishment for having unprotected sex. STIs are not a reflection of character. They are simply one of the risks of engaging in sexual activity.


If you contract an STI, do not make the mistake of feeling like you got what you deserved. That’s a misguided and destructive way to think. If you’re heading down that path, get the help you need to correct your perspective. That includes the support of loving friends and seeing a therapist.


STIs are a fact of life. Don’t get scared, get educated. Understand and acknowledge the risks of your lifestyle choices. Then make decisions that are right and best for you and only you.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

An excerpt from my book, How To Do Single With Dignity & Grace.

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