In self-help seminars the world over, they say, “You’re only as sick as all your secrets.” Why then, do we as a society, form horrible opinions about those who struggle with STDs?
This stigma is incredibly harmful and produces an array of unpleasant emotional side-effects on top of an already stressful situation. Worse than that, though:
In this post, I’m grateful for the chance to be upfront and in doing so, hopefully dispel some of the harmful misconceptions surrounding STIs. Life and dating are hard enough without enduring peoples’ baseless biases.
Let’s just get right to it. Real talk, I have herpes. Before I contracted it, I never gave it much thought. I vaguely remember a Valtrex commercial where an exuberant woman seemed overjoyed as she rode a horse. Why was everyone in that commercial creepily happy while they did everyday things like dance or hold hands? Did having it really change your life that much?
Then I contracted it. And it felt devastating, not only physically, but emotionally as well. I really thought my romantic life was over. I reduced myself to nothing more than my diagnosis; I was nothing more than a walking virus. I felt like some dirty, ruined wretch you’d find in the poorhouse of a Dickens’ novel.
But after some time, you know what I ended up learning? Lots of things:
Guys, if you have an STI, unless you’re on the same moral level as Voldemort, you have to be honest about it with potential partners.
Look, I get it. Disclosing this information sets the mood as much as a lecture on various decomposition rates. But you owe it to whomever you’re dating (and your karma bank) to be honest about your STI status.
I’m not suggesting you blurt it out on your first date before the appetizer comes, but once you guys are ready to be intimate the conversation needs to be had. In general, if you can’t talk about sex you shouldn’t be having it. And if you’re not seeking partners who offer you unconditional respect, you shouldn’t be having sex with them specifically.
Ok, but how do you actually…you know…say it? I’m glad you asked. Here’s what I do:
Thanks for reading, and for giving me this chance to make a vulnerable connection. If you take nothing else away from this, I hope it’s that you don’t need to settle for less because you think that you’re less.
You’re not. You never will be. You are so much more than any illness or moment or feeling of shame. You deserve real love built on trust and honesty, and I hope this post was a helpful reminder of that.
Thank you so much for reading! Be sure to connect with me more over on Instagram, I’d love to hear what you thought of this post and what your major takeaways were! Or head over to my website to learn more about how we can work through your relationship and sexual health journey together.
And don’t forget to join my signature 12-week program, The Connected Woman, if you’re ready to go from anxious & insecure in your relationships to setting boundaries, healing yourself and living your dream life!
See you back here in the next one!
I get it, girl. I’ve been there too. For years, I was going through the same experiences with men over and over again that left me feeling confused, anxious and pissed off.
I silenced myself in dating and relationships because I was terrified of being judged, rejected and abandoned. It all changed when I went through a break-up and thought “enough is enough. I cannot continue to repeat the same relationships with different men! Something HAS to change!”