When I was diagnosed with herpes on my 23rd birthday (happy birthday to me!), I was devastated and thought no one would ever want to have sex with me or date me ever again. Six years later, here is a chronological list of what each of the people I’ve dated have had to say when I told them.
“What,” my upstairs neighbor said when I pulled his hands out of my underwear, “I’m clean.” It felt like someone had put an icicle through my stomach. I slid out of bed to cry in the bathroom. The next day I knocked on his back door and crawled into his bed. [...]
We were naked. He was hard. I'd always considered this moment the best time to disclose, because rejection seemed less likely when the possibility of a good lay was hot-breath close. Though maybe once we're naked, it's too late.
I shut my legs and stacked my knees to one side. “I have to tell you something,” I said.
Prefaces, everyone knows, are never good.
“What?” he asked.
I took a breath, let it out. I hate this part, I said to myself, possibly aloud. And then, definitely aloud: “I have herpes.”
Silence. The word had to be chased with something.
“But before you freak out,” I said as casually [...]