Addicted to Being Needed – The Spiritual Significance of Herpes

By Courtney Brame January 23, 2020
Photo by Hasan Almasi


This post-diagnosis journey has been one hell of a ride. The more I speak to people, the more my perspective expands. I’m often taken to whole new ways of thinking about herpes and how people respond to the stigma, heal the shame, or navigate the world completely unaware of how it shapes behavior.


This most recent episode of Something Positive for Positive People opens up the discussion about the spiritual meaning of herpes. What stood out to me are that the virus loves drama and seeks companionship. When I read those words out loud I got a rush of electricity through my nerves signaling resonance to me. Immediately following this, the reading suggested that the spirit of the person diagnosed has to be in sync with the desires of the virus and there’s an element of sexual shame that comes with it.


As I look back through my personal experiences, I’ve enjoyed the toxicity of drama and chaos. I am needy and find myself to be drawn to people who need me. In essence, I’ve been addicted to being needed. This has been an ongoing theme in my life from as early as I can remember. Herpes is a sneaky virus and I’ve been very covert throughout my life in terms of getting the companionship I’ve desired via sexual contact.


There’s been a history of “If I provide you with what you need, then you’ll give me what I want.” That’s shady as fuck and while I now realize this in hindsight, it went on for who knows how many years, then I got herpes, and then it went on for many more years, and then I had my awakening – like last night before typing this – that this is how so many people operate. I dislike saying “herpes taught me _____” but this has definitely been a revealing process to me that may not have occurred without HSV as a catalyst.


Digging deeper, I’ve been ashamed of asking for sex. There’s an inner conflict between what mainstream media shows us about how to get it, versus what porn shows us in terms of getting it and then the reality of getting it. There shouldn’t be any covertness around it. That implies a sense of entitlement outta this world. I’ve learned that it’s okay to just ask. Dealing with my shame has just meant being honest. The truth is that what I’ve been ashamed of isn’t sex or asking for it, but my own behavior stemming from the deception that comes from the belief that if I provide someone’s needs, they’ll give me what I need.


Damn herpes! Why you come at me like this!? I’m glad you did though because being conscious of this as I go back out into the dating world will allow me to be a better communicator. I was asked recently about when a person knows they’re ready to go back into dating. For me, it’s once I’m able to communicate this healing process as a past experience rather than being something I’m “working on” at the expense of potential partners/lovers/dates.


The healing process is mine alone. Putting that burden on someone else isn’t fair. My intention is to sit with the healing and understand the addiction to being needed, and prioritize catering to my own needs. This also means creating and enforcing boundaries around my energy and vehicles of expression. This is my first step in providing for myself and sustaining a level headspace to continue to facilitate a safe space for healing, not for the sake of feeding my addiction to being needed but to heal and be most useful to everyone.


Courtney W. Brame is the Founder of Something Positive for Positive People, a hub of sex-positive resources. 
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Courtney Brame is on social media @HOnMyChest