Dating with herpies

It was a Sunday night at dusk, and we reasoned we would see other people approaching before they saw us in a compromising position.It was also November, and we were freezing—but it was some of the best sex of my life.

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Rebuilding my sense of self was harder than getting over the symptoms of my first outbreak, which only lasted about a week and a half, thanks to Valtrex and a ton of Extra-Strength Tylenol.

After a few weeks of isolating myself from the world, I made my first foray into dating and the conversation it now required.

We had agreed to meet in the middle: the campus of our alma mater in Connecticut.

What we hadn’t anticipated was that because we weren’t students anymore, we didn’t exactly have a bed to call our own.

It helped to not have to look at him and watch as he processed the new information.

It was also easier for us to talk about herpes in the context of my general health, as opposed to our possible relationship.I tried to convince myself I was having some sort of allergic reaction to a new pair of underwear, but Google-searching my symptoms pointed in one, very specific direction: an STD.This didn’t make sense, as I’d never had unprotected sex in my life.Further Google searches opened my eyes to the powerful and invisible stigma associated with sexually transmitted diseases.Stigma is what keeps people from chatting about herpes the way they discuss allergies—we associate genital herpes with liars, cheaters, and the rampantly promiscuous.How could I have caught something when I had always been so careful?

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