Something Positive for Positive People Episode 109: Big C Energy
The C stands for confidence 😉
Carolyn Toney is a fashion designer and sex-blogger who was born and raised in NYC.
You may have heard her talk on WHOREible Decisions podcast (ep 128) or Sh*t I’m 30! Podcast, and today, she’s on with Courtney Brame of Something Positive for Positive People, talking about her journey of living with herpes for the past 10 years.
Toney started writing her sex blog, Tales of Toney, as a way to share her experiences — that so many can relate to but find hard to talk about — of awful dates. At first, herpes was always left out of her stories, but that evolved, and last year she decided to be completely open about the fact that she’s living with herpes, is polyamorous, and bisexual.
Now, the fact that she is living with the herpes virus is on her Instagram, and on her dating profiles, but she talks with Brame about how her disclosure journey has evolved, how she didn’t always tell people she had herpes upfront, and how, depending on where you are in your healing journey, sometimes it’s better to take things slow.
“What’s wrong with just going on a date with someone?” she asked Brame during their interview. “Sometimes you just need to enjoy the conversation and not worry about telling them you have herpes.” After all, a first date may reveal that you don’t even want to sleep with or continue to see this person.
Something she would ask herself is: “If I didn’t have this virus, would I still like this person?”
Her confidence — or shall we say, big C energy — is almost addictive to listen to and seems to be the product of a deep, radical self-acceptance. Someone who’s loved sex her entire life, Toney went from serial monogamist to polyamorous (with many fluctuations in-between). A huge proponent of online dating since the good old AOL days, the digital dating landscape is her safe space, although now she meets new dates and partners at play parties too.
Toney describes how important it is to truly heal from whatever it is you’re going through in life. She describes how she used to cut herself when she was in high school. Her mother read about it in her journal and at first thought it meant her daughter was cutting class. Once her mom figured out she was self-inflicting harm, Toney’s mother had her go to therapy. The therapy helped her, and while she didn’t go to therapy following her herpes diagnosis, she was able to use the tools and reflect on that support she received then.
Finding a support system, finding someone you can talk to, whether therapist or friend or online support group, and knowing that, while you cannot control some things (like contracting the herpes virus), there are things you can control, is crucial to healing. Toney is a huge advocate of focusing on the good things in life, and actively shaping your life so it revolves more around the positive forces.
“At the end of the day, you’ll be fine,” Toney promises, saying that living with herpes caused her to discover interests and parts of herself that she may not have otherwise.
We’ll soon have a full spotlight piece up on Carolyn Toney and the amazing work she’s doing in the sex-positive & herpes affirming communities.
Until now, enjoy the podcast and stay sex positive!