First I'd like to say that you have gotten me through my HSV 1 (genitally) diagnosis. But this question doesn't necessarily have to do with that but more about myself as a person. I've always been, but even more so after the diagnosis I'm a very sexually open person, I love talking about sex and I'm so open about myself and how I feel or what i want. This tends to scare guys away. Am i supposed to tone myself down?! Why is it me being a girl and loving sex is so taboo, makes guys run?
Hi there! From one incredibly sexual self person to another, there is NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU. I have had many people be afraid of my sexuality, judge me for it, etc. But I am who I am and I can’t change myself, particularly in that sense. Don’t allow the fears of other people to coerce you into “toning yourself down” - you are who you are and your sexuality operates the way that it does, and that is that. Historically, women* have been socialized to believe that we should be pure, chaste, nurturing, “well-behaved”, passive, domestic, private etc. This trope of “successful womanhood” can be seen almost everywhere within culture, particularly in Western cultures or nations who have a history of colonization, and everyone is socialized in accordance with these gender constructions. Of course, these notions of femininity are not necessarily true, fixed, or universal. Your sexuality, as does mine, brings these apparently “naturalized” notions into question which makes people uncomfortable. For men*, masculinity is constructed directly in opposition to these hegemonic notions of femininity (this is the gender binary at work). For example, if women* are passive then men* get to be active. If women* are private then men* are public etc. Men* are socialized into believing that “successful masculinity” is as the sexual aggressor, seeker, initiator, teacher etc. Women* who prevent this from happening complicate and disrupt the norms (which gets even more complicated when we look at lesbianism/queer practices etc). The advice I would give you is that you are fine just as you are and trust that sexual partners who are intimidated by your sexuality are likely partners you wouldn’t want to have anyway. I assure you that there are plenty of fantastic people out there who will be entirely welcoming and excited by your fascination and enjoyment of sex :)
Within feminist academic spaces there is a great deal of time spent discussing categories of subjectivity and the basis with which particular aspects of identity become the axes or the point of entry for oppression. But we NEVER discuss health and how particular conditions, like viral STD’s, are moments of “marking”. I don’t feel like having HSV and creating a feminist discourse around the condition falls under disabilities studies - I feel, in fact, that it would be a mis-appropriation of what disabilities studies is attempting to accomplish. However, I feel like there is a space to discuss and give voice to the complex ways in which persons become further marked, and often further marginalized, by having a viral STD. Thoughts on this?
Today I really felt compelled to be open about me being HSV-2 (genitally) positive. I really think it would help empower myself and even perhaps serve as an inspiration to others who also have the virus. I asked my boyfriend & close friend what they thought about it & they both were very serious when saying they think its a bad idea because it would embarrass them. They said it is important that I take their feelings in consideration. Now I feel even more ashamed. What should I do? :(
Find a new boyfriend and a new close friend! This is YOUR circumstance, your HSV is YOURS and you have your own relationship with the virus, you have your own story with the virus, you have your own feelings about the virus. If you’re finally in that place of empowerment and positivity and the people who love you don’t want you to explore and express that positive change because they’re concerned with how THEY feel, then I say completely ignore them! Why do they have such deeply personal feelings about your herpes??? Especially your close friend!?!? If they are afraid of you being open about something that is completely and entirely yours because it will somehow “embarrass” them, then that means they haven’t wholly accepted you as you are. If anyone ever told me to not start this blog, to not put my videos up on YouTube, to not write and research the condition while at University then I would very kindly tell them to go fuck themselves. By being open and empowered by your life experiences, it shouldn’t embarrass them but inspire them too. It means that there is much that they still don’t understand about the condition and that they are still engaging in deeply mis-held beliefs about the STI.
Listen, I mean it when I tell you that you are amazing, that you are perfect as you are. I mean it when I say you shine. Don’t ever let anyone force you to dim your light, to make you feel ashamed or wrong, especially when you want to be courageous and empowered! People who love you, people who wholly accept you for who you are would never hold you back from being excellent. For those of us living with HSV, the moment we reach that positive perspective of our condition, the moment we begin to feel empowered is an exciting, yet delicate moment. Surround yourself with people who will celebrate with you and encourage you in those moments not flood you with selfish feelings that have no place in your process. You’re fucking awesome and I think you should absolutely continue exploring those good feelings and how you want them to creatively manifest. You have a supporter right here and if you need help with anything, let me know.
Back in school for my FINAL semester at UC Berkeley! This means more posts and more opinion pieces headed your way. Also, pretty excited/nervous to be applying to Phd programs this fall. Wish me luck :)
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