I just want to put this out there for anyone that needs to see this.
Getting herpes is not a consequence or punishment for living your life the way you want to.
No ifs, ands, or buts about it this is a full stop kind of thing. This “punishment” narrative has to stop and way too often pops up for people who have genital presenting herpes. Society has placed a lot of drama and mystery around human sexuality, and because of that we have a lot of silence and miss-information surrounding herpes. People often think that to get genital presenting herpes means you must have slept with a ton of people. In fact, a coworker asked me if that’s how I got herpes.
For one who cares if you did! I bet you had a shit ton of fun doing it. Still doesn’t mean it’s a punishment for having fun. For two people often get it the very first time they have sex. One or many partners, married or single It doesn’t matter you don’t “deserve” getting herpes because of societies wacky views on purity and sex. STIs are just something that happens when humans decide to have sex with each other. We should be taught that its something to expect to have happen and not something to be used to control peoples sexual behavior. Being taught that you are pretty much guaranteed to get an STI in your lifetime would be so beneficial. Being taught how to better protect yourself and get treated, would make it, so people felt comfortable going to the doctor to get checked out and help limit the spread. It would also put an end to the shame people feel when they get a positive diagnosis.
So, practice this one with me if you feel safe and comfortable doing so.
Tell your friends, tell your family, teach your children that getting an STI is normal. Teach them where to go to get tested and treated. Teach them that jokes about STIs aren’t funny. Teach them that herpes is just a skin condition, just a rash that doesn’t need to rule their lives. Most importantly teach them that getting an STI is not a punishment for living how they want to live.
The above bolded portion is inspired by an instagram post by Emily Depasse. Check out her work at https://www.emilydepasse.com/