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mr_hopp last won the day on July 9

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  1. Great job coming on these forums and opening up! That right there is a huuuge step. Asking for help is the first jump into the healing journey. Certainly a vulnerable power move. 😉 And to your question about disclosing, there is so much on this site that will help you shift your mindset around it. Disclosing isn't a block to connection, but a doorway into deeper trust and intimacy. It sounds like you honestly didn't know and are taken by surprise by this. That is all part of the disclosure. Being authentic while being honest and forthright with your partner is an admirable quality. The shame and embarrassment will dissipate with time and attention to your healing process. Know that most of that comes from our cultural infatuation with shaming herpes when in reality it's a very common and pretty harmless skin condition. When you get that most of the shame is because of culturally inherited stigmatized beliefs, that's when you can take your power back and turn this into a positive in your life. An Opportunity, if you will. 😁 Start by watching/reading these posts here to start shifting you into the Opportunity mindset. I'm dropping a lot on you at once, so take them at your own pace, okay? You got this. 🙌 First things first, download the free e-book & handouts on Opportunity Disclosure: https://www.herpesopportunity.com/lp/ebook Watch the herpes facts overview video: https://www.herpesopportunity.com/post/herpes-facts Listen to the "Dear Men" interview: How do you to tell someone you have an STD? https://www.herpesopportunity.com/post/how-do-you-to-tell-someone-you-have-an-std How to become stigma bulletproof video: https://www.herpesopportunity.com/post/herpes-stigma-how-to-become-bulletproof Watch the video "Keeping your partner herpes-free can be super sexy": https://www.herpesopportunity.com/post/keeping-your-partner-herpes-free-can-be-super-sexy Listen to the interview "Sexual shame & rewriting your narrative": https://www.herpesopportunity.com/post/sexual-shame-rewriting-your-narrative Listen to another interview called "How to make herpes disclosure sexy?" https://www.herpesopportunity.com/post/making-herpes-disclosure-sexy
  2. Technically after the scabs, you are no longer directly contagious from the active outbreak. But I’ve always been careful and waited at least a week after the scabs fall off before having sex.
  3. It's refreshing to see a celebrity speaking truth about the absurdity of herpes stigma in our culture (his herpes rant starts at 9:10). He says he was trapped in a "mental prison" for months thinking he might have herpes or some other STI. Turns out his test results came back negative, but the mindfuck affected him enough that he goes on a 3-minute long rampage about how herpes is just blown too far out of proportion in our society. He unfortunately still uses the "clean" label to describe himself (clean/dirty are still stigmatizing labels), but hey, overall this is a solid rant for the good! Way to go, Lil Dicky.
  4. Oh sister, I feel your aching heart. I get it. It all seems like it's pointless to keep trying based on your perspective. But hang on here ... a lot of what you're thinking is based on the unfair stigma out there. It's just not true (although it may feel like it is). Hang in there with me, okay? You are so right in what you said: The outbreaks aren't the biggest deal here. It's the feelings of shame and regret. This is so, so common for the vast majority of people with herpes. And you know you can shift those feelings by shifting your perspective, right? This is precisely where you take your power back. So, so important. When you disclose to the right man for you, he will see You and all the positive qualities that you are showing him through disclosing: Your integrity, your willingness to be courageous even in the face of pain and shame, your honesty, your desire for depth and meaning in relationship. If someone isn't a good fit for you or just isn't ready for a deeper relationship, he won't see all those deeper qualities. He will hear "herpes" and run for the hills. Your man will see You. This is so important to realize. That herpes can act as a great filter if you make it so. And when a man is ready for a deeper relationship, a little skin condition won't hold him back from diving into exploration with you. I promise. I've seen it time and time again. In fact, it's the norm when you shift your perspective away from shame and into Opportunity. And about that quote? It's misleading, too. It's not as easy to transmit herpes as you may think. Now, this doesn't mean you don't still take it seriously, disclose to partners, protect them and keep them as safe as possible. All of that is still vital. But don't feel like a walking disease that will infect anything and anybody you touch. (I felt that way when I first got it, too, so I know how you feel! But now it's my responsibility to call BS when I see it.) 😉 If you abstain from sex during outbreaks and you wear condoms, there is a 2% chance per year that a man will contract herpes from you. (Down to 1% if you throw in daily suppressive therapy, but considering your body's reaction to it, it's understandable why you'd consider stopping it.) I've been with my wife for 6+ years and she hasn't gotten herpes yet (and transmitting herpes to women is over 2x as likely as transmitting to men). We even stopped using condoms pretty soon in (which is why we have a 3 year old now!). We aren't paranoid about it; we're careful. We keep an open dialogue about it, especially if I feel anything close to a prodrome symptom kicking in. And even when I'm having an outbreak, we can still get creative and explore sensuality in different ways. Being playful around it helps immensely. Which brings me to the final thing here: If your partner ends up getting herpes, it's not the end of their life either. In fact, they're actually much less likely to have a negative reaction about it because they were empowered to make the decision themselves whether to take the risk or not. They were disclosed to and they decided to take the risk because all of your positive qualities overshadowed the potential of getting an annoying skin rash. So many people tend to assume that how other people will perceive getting herpes will be the same as how they perceive it. For example, I got herpes from my ex cheating on my with her ex-boyfriend over holiday. Because of that, I had a few layers of not-so-nice feelings to sort through about herpes! 😂 But if my wife ever ends up getting herpes (which neither of us wants, of course!), she certainly won't have that kind of extra baggage that I did. When a partner gets herpes in a loving and honest relationship, it comes wrapped in a different perspective. Again, be careful, but don't be paranoid. Paranoia disconnects and keeps you in your head. Being full of care for your partner connects you. Here are some videos to watch STAT to start shifting your perspective to the positive: https://www.herpesopportunity.com/post/herpes-facts https://www.herpesopportunity.com/post/sexual-shame-rewriting-your-narrative https://www.herpesopportunity.com/post/herpes-and-self-acceptance https://www.herpesopportunity.com/post/herpes-rejection-as-a-relationship-filter https://www.herpesopportunity.com/post/herpes-talk-how-to-never-feel-rejected P.S. What a slap-in-the-face reaction from your daughter! Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry. No one deserves to be treated that way, especially a mother by her daughter. Callous. She's misguided about what herpes means. Don't let her perspective infect how you see yourself. Your resilience here will be a powerful response to how she treated you. You get to treat you in the way you deserve to be treated.
  5. Big hugs to you, @Btru2urself (Love your screen name, by the way!) I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your sister. That's hard. All of us are giving you a big group hug with you in the center sending you a lot of love ... Whew. Know that this is not the end of your sex life. Quite the opposite! You'll find that herpes will help to weed out the riff-raff and bring you and your partners into a deeper vulnerability, trust and intimacy than you might have imagined. And it's not that herpes is some magical thing that changes your life for the better (it's just a virus that manifests as an occasional skin condition) it's who you are becoming in the face of this perceived setback. Don't let this dash your dreams. Hold onto those dreams and dig even deeper. Set your expectations even higher for the right man who, instead of seeing herpes only, he sees your courage and vulnerability and falls in love all these qualities in you. It's what Herpes Opportunity is all about. It's the deeper vulnerability that becomes the opportunity here. It's scary as hell to go there, but so so freeing and empowering... Here's a video that might resonate with you about how keeping partners herpes-free can actually be quite sexy: https://www.herpesopportunity.com/post/keeping-your-partner-herpes-free-can-be-super-sexy And about genital HSV-1 specifically, it sheds 5x less than genital HSV-2, which means less outbreaks and less chance of passing it to your partners (in fact, even Terri Warren once told me she hasn't actually heard of a patient who transmitted HSV-1 genital-to-genital). Check out this article for more on that: https://www.herpesopportunity.com/post/genital-hsv-1-herpes-and-oral-sex
  6. Makes sense since so many conditions are linked to inflammation in the body. (Which is why chronic stress is such a big instigator of disease.) If we can keep inflammation at bay, we can stave off a lot of maladies (not just herpes outbreaks). Before going the daily aspirin route and getting those possible nasty side effects, try turmeric (a natural anti-inflammatory) first. I take a few capsules of the stuff every day in addition to my regular regimen of multi-vitamin, fish oil, vitamin B12, etc. I can't speak to its direct impact on bringing down herpes outbreaks since they are now rare for me a decade later, but definitely a more natural anti-inflammatory to consider first.
  7. Hello! The risk of transmitting herpes to a man without using condoms or suppressive therapy is 4% per year. Each layer of protection added in cuts that risk in half (so using both brings the risk down to 1%). Check out the handouts for all the facts and the e-book is an overview on having the talk from the perspective of opportunity. All can be downloaded for free here: https://www.herpesopportunity.com/lp/ebook
  8. These are good! But even deeper than these is how you treat yourself in general. Start there and these affirmations and reframes will flow more effortlessly. Have you seen this video yet? https://www.herpesopportunity.com/post/herpes-and-self-acceptance Use this self-love/self-acceptance practice as a way to shift your own relationship to yourself as the foundational baseline in your life and you'll see the way you talk to yourself shift. Here's another along those same lines on a radical view of self love: https://www.herpesopportunity.com/post/radical-view-on-self-love
  9. I thought exactly the same thing when I was first diagnosed! (Everyone has that fear when they find out about asymptomatic viral shedding, so you're not alone in that.) "AAAHH! I'm a walking disease factory that will pollute anyone and everyone I come in contact with! I'm dooooomed! AAAHH!" (at least that's what it sounded like in my head). 😛 But the truth is you have a few great things in your favor: You actually are *aware* you have herpes, which makes you more aware of being careful and safe with your partner (80% of people who have herpes don't know they have it or are in denial – they are much less safe!) And since you'll disclose to partners, they will be aware of it, too, so both of you can share the responsibility of safety. If you take suppressive therapy, it cuts down the amount of viral shedding (and thus outbreaks) in half. If you wear condoms, it cuts it by another half, but whether you wear condoms or not is a discussion you and your partner have. It's all about risk/reward tolerance, which is entirely subjective. I've been in a few relationships since contracting herpes over a decade ago. My girlfriends and I would have open conversations around when I would feel prodrome symptoms coming on or otherwise something felt "off" so we would play in other ways that didn't involve genital touching. At a certain point in our relationships, eventually the condoms would come off (it was mainly her decision always since she was the one navigating her own risk tolerance). And during those times of actual outbreaks or prodrome symptoms, we'd get creative. We would focus on intimacy and not only on sex. Sex is a vehicle for intimacy, but it's not always the only way. It would honestly expand our horizons of what was possible (which would then give us more room to play in when sex was back on the table). This video might help clarify what I'm getting at here: https://www.herpesopportunity.com/post/keeping-your-partner-herpes-free-can-be-super-sexy I'm now married and have been with my wife for 6+ years. She hasn't gotten herpes yet. And we decided to not wear condoms pretty soon after we committed to each other. Which was a contribution to us now having a 3-year-old boy. 😉 (By the way, by me saying this, I'm not saying your experience will be the same; even though the risk is still small with viral shedding, you still disclose to all partners, have open conversations around sexual health, be careful as a responsibility ... but don't be paranoid about it! Paranoia disconnects. Care connects.) So in short, life goes on. Embrace the inherent risk that comes with this through embracing deeper vulnerability with all your partners. This isn't the end. It's absolutely an experience you can use as leverage to bring you deeper into the intimacy you're truly wanting. It's not a big brick wall to intimacy and love; it's actually a doorway. And I'm not here to glorify herpes here ... It's not really about herpes. It's about herpes being an opportunity to embrace your deeper vulnerability.
  10. IgG is indeed notorious for false positives and negatives. When in doubt, go for a Western Blot. Here’s a breakdown of the tests: https://www.herpesopportunity.com/post/herpes-tests
  11. Doctors have been getting this wrong for too long ... way before I even got herpes over a decade ago. 🤦‍♂️ Yes, you can transmit herpes when you aren’t having an outbreak and even with no symptoms. You won’t know when you are shedding. It’s called “asymptomatic viral shedding” since there are no detectable signs or symptoms when virus sheds. Depending on which kind of herpes you have (HSV-1 or HSV-2) and where it presents (orally or genitally), it will shed at varying rates. Now don’t assume that you are shedding all the time and get paranoid about it either! It’s just sporadic and hard to pin down when it’s happening, but it does happen a small percentage of the time. Check out the fact sheets for the breakdown of those numbers. And here’s an article all about asymptomatic viral shedding: https://www.herpesopportunity.com/post/herpes-asymptomatic-viral-shedding Let us know if you have any other questions!
  12. My pleasure! And hey, it's not really my place to tell you or him how to feel or think. I just want him to understand the facts before he goes off and doesn't give his girlfriend head based on not-so-good data. 😉 To each their own as far as what risk level they're comfortable with, and if he understands the facts and still wants to play it super safe on the cold sores front and not go down on you, then it's up to you on whether that's something you can live with or not. After all, relationship is a negotiation, an ongoing dance of finding common ground between what can be two very different worlds.
  13. Hey @glassovy! Great question. Here's a bit of a mindfuck of this whole thing ... When you aren't having an outbreak, him going down on you with genital HSV-1 would carry the same risk of getting oral herpes (oral HSV-1) as if he were to kiss/make out with someone who has a history of cold sores (which is the vast majority of the world). Here's an article to check out on that: https://www.herpesopportunity.com/post/genital-hsv-1-herpes-and-oral-sex
  14. Doctors get this wrong all ... the ... time. Definitely disclose to your girlfriend. Absolutely. You can still transmit herpes even with no signs or symptoms. It's called asymptomatic viral shedding. The rate of transmission vary depending on whether you're on suppressive medication or wearing condoms or both. Read the fact sheets that come with the free e-book to see the risk breakdown. With wearing both condoms and taking suppressive therapy, the risk per year can be brought down to 2.5% for a woman contracting herpes (1% for a man since there's less mucous membrane).
  15. To answer your question, yes to all of the above. Any sort of irritation around that area or stress to your immune system can be a trigger for an outbreak, especially if it's early on in your diagnosis (the longer you have herpes, the more antibodies you build up and the less outbreaks you'll have). And yes, it's absolutely normal to have a recurrence of that shame monster whenever you have a recurrence of herpes since it tends to dredge up all those yucky feels you thought you'd successfully repressed. 😂 But here's the trick ... Use these recurrences as opportunities to love yourself even more through it instead of sending yourself deeper into a shame spiral of self-flagellation. It takes retraining your muscle memory of how you might normally treat yourself, but over time it becomes easier and easier to go down the self-compassion path. Here's another way to look at it: An outbreak can be seen as your body's signal, asking you to take care of it. So use outbreaks as a time to go deeper into self-compassion and self-love, because those are the times you need it most. Here's a post that might help put it more in perspective: https://www.herpesopportunity.com/post/radical-view-on-self-love
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