Something Positive for Positive People: Leave People Better Than You Found Them
I speak from a perspective you can only find yourself in when you put yourself in the space of having hundreds of conversations from people with herpes. Interviewing people living with HSV (herpes simplex virus), I’ve come to learn that in the beginning stages of a person’s diagnosis, dating is “more” challenging than it’d be if a person didn’t have to worry about whether or not a person would accept their positive status.
Unfortunately this is assumed because we simply don’t get perspective on this until we come into contact with the herpes virus whether it be after someone discloses to us that they carry the virus, date or have dated a partner who’s positive, we have a ‘scare’, or we test positive ourselves. Interviewing people who have tested positive for herpes on the Something Positive for Positive People podcast about their experience in dating, I find that the experiences are just as broad as they’d be without herpes in the mix. Yes, we have options available to us that make screening a little bit easier such as Datingpositives.com where you can meet others who are available and dating. We have to remember that people are still people and do people-y things.
Limiting your options exclusively to dating people who have the same STI status as ourselves is stigma playing through us at its finest. This week’s spfpp guest shared her reason for only dating others who are in fact positive for herpes. Prior to this conversation, it was my understanding people still experience rejection, ghosting, absence of chemistry, lack of integrity, incompatibility, bad sex, creepiness, cheap dates and deception. While we sometimes face rejection because a person doesn’t want to put themselves in contact with herpes knowingly, these peopley traits are still prevalent in the dating world.
Eliminating one obstacle in dating (rejection for herpes status being positive) doesn’t remove these other obstacles. If you’re someone who chooses to only date people who have herpes, understand your intention behind that. Is it because you believe you have more in common with someone else with herpes? Does it make having sex easier? Is it more comfortable that you know each others’ status and you don’t need to talk about sexual health at all? Are you not wanting to put another person at risk of contracting herpes? Identify the reasons and move forward. One of the worst things we can do to ourselves is unconsciously go into a relationship with someone solely because they’re ok with us having herpes. Being seen by those you’re in a relationship with should be a priority.
Don’t settle for being accepted, be seen.
Courtney W. Brame is the Founder of Something Positive for Positive People, a hub of sex-positive resources.
For comments or questions on this week’s episode of SPPP, reach out via www.spfpp.org
Courtney Brame is on social media @HOnMyChest