I’m not sure I would have done the same in your shoes.” “No? Still, I had always been boy crazy, craved penetration from the moment I first learned how good a finger felt. Images of worst-case scenario, untreated venereal diseases were projected on the whiteboard, and we girls let out disgusted squeals. With the existential and physical crisis of herpes on my mind, suddenly, I heard everyone talking about it, the way everyone always seems to be using a word you just learned. There was no sex that night, and I was practically a virgin. The single unit of sex-ed at my private high school consisted of a Power Point presentation given by a dance teacher, whom none of us presumed to have ever been screwed in her life. That night, I told my roommate my wild fear: that I had herpes. “Do I really have to tell every single partner for the rest of my life? There was no point in building a relationship, no matter how brief, on omission. “And one in four or five people have it, even though most people don’t know since a standard STI test doesn’t test for it,” I said. In short, herpes hasn’t had such a significant impact on my life. I thought if I kept it light and perfunctory, his reaction might not be so bad. Ever since I had said the word, his hand had frozen on my stomach, started to sweat. Like he had many times before, the boy from the party went down on me. Right away, the scene of the crime was burning, sore, but nothing I hadn’t experienced before. That’s when I realized I was picking the wrong men. As we waited for our results, we giggled conspiratorially, stuffing little packets of lube from the fishbowl into our pockets.
But then the next morning, it was swollen and worse. I may have been paranoid, but his was the young, frat-boy voice of a student. That day I discovered the ultimate turn-on: two negative tests, and one man who didn’t care about the test the doctor didn’t give. For the first time since getting herpes, I felt like a normal girl in normal puppy love. But heartened by my first post-herpes relationship, disclosing became less of a chore.I am now confined to partners who think my awesomeness eclipses my cellular flaw — so instead of killing my love life, herpes has weirdly deepened it. I have gone through "the conversation" a million times in my mind. After going through the normal flip out and that my dating life would now consist of Ben and Jerry’s and DVD’s every Saturday night, I’m ready to get out there again.I have seen men post on various dating sites where they come right out on their profile stating they have herpes.
“Then I’m glad I’m going.” I snatched the bra he had struggled to free and the top I lustfully tore off minutes ago. I remember whispering to my neighbor, who, wide-eyed, nodded in agreement. ” The exam room was sparkling and sterile; the stirrups cold. (Spoiler alert: everything down there was in proper order.) Months later, during a visit home, my father: “What’s the difference between love and herpes? “Herpes lasts forever.” *** Eventually, the virus that lay dormant inside of me slayed my fear of sex. I’m gonna go.” He jumped into his jeans and out the door. Let’s just fuck.” He was bleary eyed and hazy, the sex jabby and inhuman.