Herpes casual sex dating

26 Nov

How could I have caught something when I had always been so careful?It felt like an ironic sitcom plot twist that would wind up being a huge misunderstanding: the episode where Ella convinced herself she had genital herpes. But sure enough, the doctor at my university’s health center took one look at me before announcing, “This looks herpetic.” I remember very little of what she said after that; I was too distracted by the way the walls seemed to be closing in on me to catch more than the words “incurable” and “not prevented by condoms.” To say I was shocked would be an understatement—a tidal wave of shame unlike anything I had ever experienced hit me over and over statistics on how common genital herpes is, the math didn’t add up: If one in six people had it, how was I the only person I knew to do the ultimate walk of shame from the student health center clutching a stack of STD pamphlets?But this was easier to know than to actually believe.The next six months were a bit like learning to walk again—I stumbled around like a baby deer, too heavy for my own body.I developed a crush on a new friend back at school, and we went for a long drive through the woods on a Thursday night, about a week into our budding relationship.We chatted about the health center on campus, and with my eyes fixed firmly on the road, I told him about my experience getting treated for genital herpes.A soft-spoken and adorable nerd on OKCupid invited me out for drinks, but we parted ways when I brought up the fact that I'm herpes-positive on our third date.

of my 21st birthday, I woke up to find a cluster of painful red sores on my labia.

Further Google searches opened my eyes to the powerful and invisible stigma associated with sexually transmitted diseases.

Stigma is what keeps people from chatting about herpes the way they discuss allergies—we associate genital herpes with liars, cheaters, and the rampantly promiscuous.

He asked me without any trace of judgment what having an STD meant for my sex life, and I answered that condoms were a must.

He nodded contemplatively before changing the topic.