I'm a divorced mom back out in the dating trenches. And yes, I've become sexually active again (protected sex only), not with the intention of falling love but to release some of this psychotic, pent-up, approaching-40 sexual energy.
But a few days ago a man I planned to meet this weekend for a first date told me he has herpes. Shocked, I sat there waiting for him to say he was joking (not sure why) ....but no, he wasn't.
He said he's had it for twenty years, that his case is very mild and his outbreaks are rare. He also said I didn't need to worry about contracting it cause he "knows his body and can feel when an outbreak is coming on."
Hmmmm. I wasn't buying it. From what I knew about herpes, it is highly contagious BEFORE the symptoms/outbreak occur. Nonethless, he was ADAMANT: "The only person I've ever given it to is my ex-wife," he said "And I've been pretty sexually active since we got divorced three years ago."
Fear went through my bloodstream like ice: "But do you tell women you have it?" I blurted.
"Yes, of course," he replied. "But I usually wait until they're sitting on my lap and things are hot and heavy (laugh)."
"I see," I murmured.
"Delaine," he continued. "Herpes is everywhere. Every second or third woman I've been with had it. They say it's one in three or one in four. It's really no big deal."
I thought, Maybe not to you. But I don't want to spend the rest of my life with an STD.
I've since cancelled our date. I've decided there's no use even meeting him cause the herpes thing freaks me out too much. Even though he INSISTS I have nothing to worry about, especially since we'd have protected sex if it came to that, I think I'd be so worried about catching it, it would dampen, if not destroy, my enjoyment of the experience.
All this being said, I'm very glad he told me about it. There again, the reason he told me is because I came striaght out and asked him if he has any STDS (I ask all my partners beforehand). But now I'm wondering how many people might actually lie about having herpes. Are they too embarassed? Would they put sexual pleasure before the health safety of their partner?
I guess I've always assumed a man would be honest; it's a big deal after all. There again, given how I've brushed this man off, maybe other sufferers are tired of being treated like lepers and choose to stay silent.
* Sorry if this offends anyone who has herpes - that was not my intention. I have a few close girlfriends and a family member who have it - two have really bad cases. And I know their having it is not a comment on who they are as people; in fact, all these women had very few partners - just a bad case of luck it seemed. *
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