When I was first diagnosed in 2019, I was terrified. I wasn’t terrified about getting an occasional uncomfortable rash, I was terrified that I had to tell people I wanted to fuck. How do I even begin that conversation? It felt so embarrassing.
Flash forward over three years later, and disclosing my herpes status is not only something I use as a filter but is also fun for me.
I like to look at disclosure more as an open conversation about sexual health rather than a confession. Their sexual health is just as important. Just because I have an STI doesn’t mean I have to stop caring about my sexual health. Having a conversation with a potential partner about BOTH of our sexual health backgrounds is non-negotiable. This should be the norm, herpes or not.
I always start my disclosures off by asking the other person when they’ve been tested last and what those results were. It takes the pressure off of myself for a bit and is also really telling about them and their view on sexual health. I’ve heard allll the responses– “I’ve never been tested,” “it’s been a while,” and one of my personal favorites, “oh my ex would have told me if she had anything so I’m good.” Even if someone will accept my status, after hearing a response like that my pussy is so dry. Don’t sleep with someone just because they accept your STI status–if they make you feel icky please feel free to gtfo.
If they say things like “I’m clean,” use other stigmatizing language, or say anything derogatory regarding STIs, you can totally feel free to leave (or educate them if they seem like a good person, probably just a bit uneducated).
Herpes is a great dating filter.
Herpes made me more open-minded, empathetic, and sex positive. Those are now requirements for what I look for in others. Using herpes is a great way to learn from the start if someone also has the qualities. I have to be so open and vulnerable early on, so it’s just weeding people out early.
Disclosing my herpes status not only works as a great filter, but is also a fun conversation to me. Most people don’t have these conversations with potential partners (it’s also a bummer that it’s also us hsv+ people who initiate the conversation every single time).
It’s fun to educate people on STIs, particularly herpes (not fun in the sense that it’s frustrating that responsibility is now on us positive people to do the educating, but fun in the sense that seeing their faces shift when I tell them it’s so common and it’s not what their preconceived notions of herpes is). It’s literally bonkers that this type of stuff isn’t common knowledge, and seeing my potential partner’s faces when I tell them they probably have never been tested for herpes and likely have it? Fucking priceless.
I’ve only been rejected twice (I’m not counting the very few times I was ghosted when I was practicing disclosure on dating apps back in 2020), and those two people both also had herpes. They get cold sores. They had no idea it was herpes–and also didn’t want to accept it was herpes and take accountability! Which is why they didn’t want to move forward with me. Being with me meant they had to acknowledge that they have herpes. Rejecting me meant they could continue pretending they don’t have herpes, “no it’s just a cold sore!!!!”
Disclosing that I have genital herpes to people who get cold sores is my absolute favorite–informing someone that their cold sores are herpes and they need to be disclosing that to people they wanna smooch is always a good time.
Like picture this, I’m a hot girl who is a little bit tipsy on a date, acting all cute and flirty. We’re both getting handsy at the bar so they think they’re gonna get laid and bam! This is no longer a date, this is now the sex education class you never had, never asked for, but needed to hear :) I feel like I’m fucking them up in the best way.
Or people who are looking to have barrier free sex but are also the ones not getting tested because they “don’t have any symptoms.” Disclosing to these people is so fun lol. These are the ones who would reject me–but they are the type of people I wouldn’t dare to sleep with. So disclosing to them is merely for their benefit, not because I’m actually planning on sleeping with them.
Disclosing your herpes status doesn’t have to be this big scary conversation. It’s simply just an open conversation about sexual health–a conversation that will be very telling about someone’s character :)
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