What Happened When I Got Herpes In College And Had To Tell My Sex Partner I Had An STD

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What It's Like To Get Herpes In College & HAVE To Learn How To Talk To Guy About STDs
Sex

It's definitely not fun, but it's taught me so much.

I knew before I got the phone call. Like most, I have had my fair share of scares, but I knew that this time was different. Instead of a few symptoms, I had them all, and the pictures I found online weren’t just similar, they were exact matches.

So when nurse Blah Blah called from Dr. What’s Her Face’s office, I knew she was going to tell me that my Herpes Simplex Virus test results came back positive.

Yay!

How I got myself into this mess…

During my freshmen year of college, I was lucky enough to find myself in a very casual but highly beneficial relationship with a hot 20-something senior, early on in the first semester. The sex was great, the friendship was fun, and though we weren’t exclusive, I had legitimate feelings for the guy. Which of course meant I was dumb enough to not make him use a condom.

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After hooking up for most of the year, we both knew that we were sleeping with other people, but we had both agreed to use protection with everyone else but each other. I trusted him… Maybe that’s where I went wrong?

So…

One morning, a couple days after the last time I slept with Mr. FWB, I got up to go to the bathroom and when I peed, it hurt like a bitch. Naturally, I did a little investigating and discovered two not-so-friendly-looking bumps that had invaded my precious lady parts.

I immediately hit Google to look up pictures and symptoms. Everything seemed to match, but I told myself not to panic. The only way to know for sure is to get tested, so that’s what I did. It didn’t take the gyno more than a few seconds of inspecting before she said, “I know you don’t want to hear this, but I have seen herpes enough to know that this is most likely what it is.”

Yay!

WTF?!

That was my initial thought. What the f*** am I going to do? Sex is everything to me and it would never be the same again. I'm a sex writer for God’s sake. My life as I knew it was over.

So, I reached out to the one person I have depended on during all the low points in my life. She'd always been my shoulder to lean on, and in this particular situation, she was my savior. After telling her the heart breaking news, I found myself feeling ashamed and broken. How could anyone make me feel better right now?

It was then that she revealed to me that she had it too.

A mother and a wife, she had lived with herpes for almost 20 years, and she became my hope.

Through her, I realized that I could do this. My life was not over and I was no different from the person that I was pre-diagnosis.

How the hell do I tell Mr. FWB that I have herpes?

A part of me didn’t want to tell him until I got the test results back, but I didn’t know how long that would take and it was eating me up inside. So I sent him a text that went something like this:

“Hey, I know this is kind of a shitty thing to send in a text, but I noticed some bumps down there, so I went to get tested today... I won’t know for sure for a couple of days, but the doctor said its most likely herpes. I’m not accusing you, but I haven’t slept with anyone without using a condom except you all year. I’m sorry...”

He took it as well as a guy could, I suppose. Asked me if I was okay and said that he was there to talk about it when I needed him. But he didn’t provide any comfort about where the hell I got it from.

According to him, he had used a condom with everyone else (even though condoms don’t fully protect against herpes) and was just tested not too long ago. He said he’d get tested to find out for sure, but I was starting to feel like an ass who'd just accused someone I cared about, and also like a dumb slut for not knowing where it came from. So, what now?

At first, I was angry and just assumed he was lying. Then I got worried, wondering about the few guys I had slept with that year, thinking I had some sort of obligation to tell them I have it. In the end, I decided I didn’t care where it came from and that I wasn’t going to let it ruin the memories I had made with Mr. FWB.

After the official call from the doctor, we spent one last night together before he graduated and I went home for the summer.

As I lay in his bed, he made his typical moves to try and have sex with me, and I started to cry. He looked at me, wiped my tears away, and said, “Don’t be sad.”

I couldn’t fathom how he could still find me attractive, let alone desirable, and I said, “I’m sorry for doing this… I just feel disgusting. I don’t want you to feel like you have to touch me.”

He leaned over and kissed me with all the same enthusiasm and passion he had the very first time I found myself between his sheets. “You are just as sexy to me now as you have ever been," he said. "Nothing has changed.”

Who knew having an STD could be so cute, right?

What now?

I am not going to sit here and lie to you and say it hasn’t affected me or that my life is 100% as fulfilling as it used to be.

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My confidence and security have not only be rocked, they've been shattered completely. I have spent more nights than I can count crying and wishing I could go back in time, but wallowing in that kind of self-loathing and regret isn’t going to change anything, and it won’t make me stronger. Even though I can no longer go home with the stranger who bought me a couple of drinks at the bar, I'm thankful for the forced abstinence.

I've been given no choice but to grow up and take my relationships more seriously. Though it might be harder to find someone who is supportive and understanding when it comes to my STD, I know that once I find that someone they will be the kind of person I really want in my life.

My 5 tips for anyone who's been diagnosed with an STD:

1. Don’t ever feel ashamed or disgusted with your self.

It can happen to anyone and it often does. You’re not alone.

2. It’s nobody’s damn business. 

Your body is your body. You are entitled to the right to pick and choose who you tell, and when you tell them.

3. Be smart. Don’t ever risk not telling someone or not using protection.

Remember how it felt to get that news. It isn’t something I would wish upon even my worst enemy.

4. Stay tough.

Eventually, there will be a joke, or someone will bring it up, and STDs will be the topic of conversation. Most likely, they don’t know that you have one and they aren’t trying to hurt you in any way, so don’t let it break you down.

5. Remember that you are not your STD.

Don’t let it control you.

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This article was originally published at Slutty Girl Problems. Reprinted with permission from the author.