Here's a lil piece from one of my essays on my patreon. If you want more dating and herpes tips/essays and access to my support group, you can join here
As always don’t have any sexual contact where u get outbreaks before disclosing—we love consensual sex!
First and most important tip: OWN IT, confidence is key—if you’re super comfy with it and act casual, people will pick up on that energy and treat it as such (usually)! Since this is hookups from a dating app, I personally think it makes the most sense to disclose beforehand on the app/texting instead of waiting until y’all meet up. Imo, it’s just nice for them to have an understanding, ask questions and do some research before—and since it’s just a physical thing, it feels like a little less pressure than if you wanted to actually date, so it’s nice to just get it right out there! Of course, you should disclose however works for you, and if you wanna do it in person then go for it! It’s totally fine to wait. But also safety is obvs most important, so disclosing in an unfamiliar place might be kinda scary and dangerous, so def use your judgment (and make sure at least one friend knows where you are!).
I usually just say (once it seems like we have a hookup plan, I don’t disclose right off the bat), “also btw I’m hsv2+ let me know if u have any q's,” which usually they’ll respond: me too, or no problem I dated someone with it, or what’s that like/what does that mean (and if they’re just shitty they won’t respond (good riddance we don’t want that energy anyways). Seriously, that’s how I usually say it. Short and sweet, baby. You can also say similar things like “I’m really excited to have some fun with you, but let’s talk about STIs and condoms/barrier methods first,” “I get cold sores just in a different location,” “have you ever gotten a cold sore before,” “when was the last time you got tested,” etc. I also really like to stress that genital herpes is literally just cold sores just in a different location, like literally. You can also say the only reason there’s stigma around having it genitally is because of societal shit, it’s literally the same thing. I would also add it’s usually asymptomatic, so the majority of people who have it don’t even know.
Of course, we love being casual about disclosure but it’s super necessary to clarify what that means and the potential risks especially if they just say okay but don’t really understand what that means! Feel free to send them my Instagram, or another herpes account or podcast!
Then I’ll just give some facts about transmission and how common it is if it seems like they need some education. I also talk about how herpes is not on the standard STI panel and the worst thing about it is that it’s just really stigmatized—but def keep it short+to the point—and just keep the convo honest af and also keep it open for them to ask qs! MOST IMPORTANTLY: I also ask them if they’ve been tested recently—don’t skip out on this! If you are meeting up with someone for a date not hookup, don’t feel obligated to tell them while you are still just texting them—do it when you're ready!—whether that’s while y’all text, on the first date, or just before you know y'all are gonna be physical—whatever works for you! The main response I’ve gotten is that people say they're more turned on because of my honesty! Who says disclosure can’t be hot foreplay?!
A lot of people will put hsv+ right in their bio, and that is great if that’s something you want to do! I tested that out for a few months and honestly, I don’t think it swayed too many people from matching with me. It also can be a good conversation starter.
Some personal examples:
I used to disclose on dating apps for fun, so I’ve experimented with disclosing all types of ways on here. And honestly I can say the response has been amazing. Playing around with different ways to disclose is also a great way to practice disclosure on dating apps when you’re newly diagnosed. This will just help you get comfortable talking about it, whether you’re interested in that person or not.
During quarantine, I would get wine drunk and do a social experiment. I would literally message a guy and say “wanna bang?” haha and LITERALLY the response was always yes. So then I would continue to flirt a little and right before we would make plans, I would just say “also I’m hsv2 positive, let me know if you have any questions.” Legit that’s what I always say (feel free to use that or say something that feels more comfortable for you!). I think maybe one or two people ghosted me? Majority of the time I didn’t end up going to hookup with them, I was just curious about their reaction lol. Luckily, I ended up educating a bunch of people. There were also a handful who had it as well, dated someone with it, or knew someone with it. No one was really judgmental, just uninformed and uneducated. I highly recommend trying it out for fun lol. A few times I did go and hookup with them after hehe.
One time, I was messaging this guy and decided I wanted to hook up with him. So I invited him over but was like let’s go for a walk first. We sat down at a park bench while we sipped some white claws and I just blurted it out. He literally was like oh yeah I kinda know about it, I used to do Drew Michaels' hair (HSV pos comedian, watch his fire skit on herpes here). Then we went back to my place and had some fire sex. Chef’s kiss.
Bottom line, disclose when it feels right for you as long as there hasn’t been any sexual content yet. And disclose with confidence! Confidence is key, baby!
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