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Can I Date With Herpes?

Umm, yes.

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

Despite some antagonistic fuckery as of late, we’ve been of the age of rapidly (but not rapidly enough) evolving human / sexual rights and freedom.

I’m not gonna shit talk the obvious. We know there are many who are lacking in their ability to access the parts of the brain that offer empathy, problem solving, and antagonistic neurotransmitters.

Meaning; there are a lot of people out there who default to making fun, shit talking, judging and running away vs listening, holding space, asking questions and compassionately inquiring.

Yet there are so many people who are able to listen, hold space, ask questions and inquire about how it’s been for you in a respectful and in a compassionate way.

For someone living with a herpes diagnosis, deciphering between the two can make or break our sex life. And if we don’t yet know how to, learning how to decipher between the two is honestly the path to freedom from the pain that can come with such a diagnosis.

Herpes isn’t the problem.

The problem lies in what we make up about it.

Real talk now, to access those people we need to know how to recognize them.

Something that’s often not taught, or modelled, to many of us.

This leaves us looking for love based on the emotions we felt / tied to love while we were growing up.

Ooouf. No wonder herpes hasn’t been a cake walk.

Think about it – We grow up in homes where we often didn’t feel seen, prioritized, nurtured or protected, then we hit puberty and we start hunting for those same vibes.

Because that’s how our DNA has been programmed – to model our tribe and stick to what’s familiar. Making big brain changes in thinking / perception of things takes big energy, something the brain has been programmed to avoid if possible as it's always trying to conserve energy. 

So, we end up in similar patterns that are familiar to us; co-dependent, emotionally unavailable relationships, playing out our childhood traumas until we finally get a glimpse at freedom via being ready to do the work.

Along the way, our disempowered, co-dependent and boundary less asses end up banging someone with herpes and for whatever reason, we contract it.

Fuck.

(FYI – stats show that it’s often victims of complex childhood abuse who end up passing / receiving the virus due to lack of boundaries, communication skills and feelings of low self-worth)

We already had relationship and attachment issues, now you layer on a highly-stigmatized skin condition on top of it and boom, you’ve got a nervous breakdown / psychotic break on yo hands.

 

Political + personal side note: there needs to be more support and training for those getting sexual screening in clinics and hospitals. It’s gross how under-supported we are and these issues, left unsupported, leads to high numbers of suicides and attempts. This is an epidemic and the only way we’re going to get better support is to demand it.
This is part of my mission. By ‘going public’, I’m hopeful of offering others the strength to be in their beautiful, bright power, and live / love life again.

 

Babe, freedom, and the ability to show up in society (and sexual relations) exactly as we are, lies in learning how to slow down and re-parent ourselves.

We have to do the research on human behaviour, communication, and authentic relating.

We have to learn the art of boundaries, speaking our truth, letting go of the inherent shame that comes with complex PTSD and stigmatized diagnoses, then practice, practice, practice.

Maybe it’ll click like a light switch one day, or maybe it’ll be a progressive climb with rolling hills. However it looks for you, it’s ok.

The “work” is a gift. Honestly! Think about it.

We get to learn how to become ninjas at being human and interacting with other humans.

We get to learn how to think, process, filter, enjoy, prioritize, self-regulate and self-heal. It’s an honor, and a blessing, should we choose to see it that way 🏳

And hey, listen, I have my days too, but I’ve flipped the script and experience 95% of the time in a place of acceptance and personal fulfillment.

But every so often I get hit with some self-loathing and that’s fine too. We’re dynamic, organic, feeling and imperfect beings, it’s key that we stay understanding and protective of that common truth.

With that said, wherever you are in your trauma healing process, anyone can try these on:

3 things to consider when beginning any type of sexual relationship with someone when you have herpes.

1. Beware of people who speak ill of themselves, their journey or others’.

How people perceive anything is how they perceive everything. If they’re speaking judgmentally or ill of people, life and all its peaks and valleys then it’s most likely going to be headed your way, too. Disclosing to a potential partner, or friend, means knowing how to create safety for our nervous system. Having a few key filtering observations can be helpful in deciding when and who to disclose to.

Possibly this one can make it on that list?

2. Notice how your energy is when you disclose.

Assess where you’re at with shame and fear around it and learn how to self-regulate.

Did you grow up hearing demoralizing comments and stories about people with herpes? These things stick. It’s ingrained in our DNA to rely on peer acceptance for our survival. The risk of being ostracized by our tribe could = death due to starvation or physical injury / lack of protection. Evolution hasn’t caught up yet my babes. It’s up to us to nurture that fear-based survival response and use our conscious brain, aka executive function.

We need to learn to remind our nervous system in the moment of catching the fear-based response of hiding from love and sex, lying or not disclosing, and choosing celibacy as a way of avoiding rejection, that we have ourselves at the end of the day.

No matter the response of others, it’s our job to learn how to have internal boundaries alongside those external ones.

Noticing our mental, physical and emotional state when talking about having herpes communicates a lot of information to the other person(s). If we’re freaking out, they probably will, too! It’s so, so important that we step into the headspace of worthiness, and groundedness, just like you would be if you were asking someone to pass the salt .)

3. How do I feel I need to protect myself, also?

Sometimes, after we contract a highly stigmatized virus, like herpes, we think we’re lucky if they choose to have sex without condoms. The truth is, we aren’t contaminated and we still want to protect ourselves from other possible STIs / STDs.

Let’s commit to slowing down, self-assessing our comfort in any dynamic, making changes as needed and always questioning what it is we need in order to feel safe, stay in our window of tolerance and access pleasure. A God-given right that I wish all who test positive for HSV could know for themselves.

If you have herpes, or any stigmatized diagnoses, and are afraid to show up in the bedroom with conviction of your worthiness of experiencing complete and utter pleasure, you are so not alone.

We live in a really under supported, undernourished and highly traumatized society where a lot of people barf their traumas on others.

There are good ones out there, and the ones who’ve hurt us, blaming it on the virus, it’s not the virus babe. It wouldn’t have worked anyway, trust in that, keep your chest up and heart full. Be the resistance and live life to its fullest, no holding back, all in.

We won’t regret it, my friend <3.
Cassandra Hope

CASSANDRA HOPE, ALL IS WELL WELLNESS EDITOR
@BEWELLWITHHOPE
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