Herpes is an opportunity for authenticity. Ultimately, if you are going to have sex with someone, trust and connection are not only nice-to-haves, but vital. (I know, I sound like your mother.) Unfortunately in our culture, sex in many ways acts like the precursor to intimacy (if intimacy ends up happening at all). So let’s reframe herpes as an opportunity for deeper connection before having sex.
Herpes can be your opportunity to share something vulnerable with the person you trust, something that most people would rather just withhold and ignore, something that most people say with shame and a squirmy expectation of rejection. But you say it with care, honesty and clarity. You say it because it is important to you that you kick off new relationships with a foundation of honesty and integrity. They are important to you. Sharing that you have herpes shows your partner so many positive qualities about you, about your integrity, your strength of character. You don’t wither away waiting for them to reject you; you stand strong knowing that it was your choice on whether to tell them or not, and you chose the high road. Yes, there are certainly other ways to achieve intimacy, but this can be your way.