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Herpes Hullabaloo [Ask Dr. Miro (What You Didn’t Learn In Health Class)]

Dear Dr. Miro,

How do I tell someone I’m with that I have an STD without scaring them away? When should I even do that? How could anyone want to be with me when they find out I have genital herpes? It’s not like I’ve been with that many people but I still feel totally gross.

Sincerely,

Depressed & Dirtied

Dear D&D,

First of all, I am sure you have way more to offer than what’s going on between your legs. Having an STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) does not imply you have had a lot of partners or you are a bad person. It simply means you may not have been well informed. It only takes once to contract an STI.

The time for disclosure is a tricky one in that it does not need to be the first thing your potential sex partner knows about you but it should be addressed before you get naked together. Really, it depends on the situation. If you are dating, disclosure is definitely not suggested, or necessary, on the first date. Let your love interest get to know you a bit. Make sure when you do bring this up, you are both planning on sleeping together. Since you will already be in a vulnerable state, it a wise idea to broach the topic while you are both fully clothed. Understand, if your potential sex mate gets uncomfortable and cannot handle your reality, they may need to get up and sort it out in his or her head.

As you decide upon the right time, stay in your place of personal power and authenticity. Remind yourself: you are a good, loving, sentient being who just happens to have made this one mistake. Based on the fact you do not want to spread your STI to others, I am shown how considerate and thoughtful you are, at least in this circumstance. As you approach your moment, do so with your chin up, safe in the acceptance of yourself, regardless of how the other person reacts.

Navigating your sexual life is never easy. And, yes, having an STI can complicate things but it is not a death sentence. Even though it may not feel like it right now, you will be able to have lots of delicious, loving experiences, as long as you learn to communicate with your partner(s).

Lust & Happiness,

Dr. Miro

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featured image credit: Kimli