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It’s not getting any easier


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I’ve had HSV-1 for almost 6 years now as well as HPV and it’s changed my view of sex and intimacy. I was oblivious to the health dangers before and now I’ve gone the other way and I’m very self aware. 
 

My disclosure history is a little rocky. The first girl I told after sex (wrong I know) and I was a wreck telling her but she forgave me and we had a 2 year relationship. After that I told one girl I was casually speaking to, nothing happened between us but I got it out the way early. My most recent ex I told after a few dates, at just the right point because I’d started developing feelings for her. We went on to have a 1 year relationship that I’m still getting over. 
 

More recently I’ve tried online dating but I’m not looking for a relationship. I got close to someone who wanted to be intimate and pushed it away. The longer I left it the harder it got. We did some foreplay and it made me feel even worse. I finally decided to tell her and got the “we’ll talk tomorrow” reply. I’m not sure where her heads at but I doubt I’ll sleep tonight. 

I'm really struggling with disclosing when it’s only casual but I enjoy going on dates. But if I don’t tell them it feels like I’m leading them on and being deceitful. Any advice or words of kindness appreciated. 
 

 

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Hey there @newtothis22,

First off, it's completely understandable to have your view of sex and intimacy change after a diagnosis like HSV-1 and HPV. Becoming more self-aware is a natural response, and it shows you're thoughtful and considerate about your health and the health of others.

Your disclosure journey sounds like it's had its ups and downs, but you've been learning and growing from each experience. That's really what it's all about. Telling someone after sex for the first time isn't ideal, but you've recognized that and changed your approach since then. That shows a lot of personal growth.

It's great that you're getting out there and dating, even if you're not looking for something serious right now. When it comes to casual dating, disclosing can feel even trickier. You're right, though; it's important to be honest to avoid feeling like you're deceiving someone.

Maybe try to find a casual, non-threatening way to bring it up a bit earlier. You could say something like, "I'm really enjoying spending time with you, and I feel it's important to be upfront about a few things..." Then share your status and what it means for potential intimacy. It's all about finding the right balance between getting to know someone and sharing important info. Because look, even if things are casual, you still want to trust this person and know what they have, too, so you both can go into the situation eyes open as two consenting adults. 

And perhaps most importantly, go into the talk *knowing* it's not a dealbreaker (and carrying that energy in the conversation); there can be an insidious thing that happens in *how* we disclose — a self-fulfilling prophecy, if you will — that we can disclose already expecting rejection, however subtle, that can influence the situation. Being aware of this part is huge. 

Remember, your diagnosis is just one part of you. It doesn't define your worth or your ability to enjoy and have meaningful connections, whether they're casual or serious.

It's okay to feel anxious or unsure about this. Take each experience as a chance to learn more about what works for you in terms of disclosing. And hey, you're doing a great job by thinking this through and seeking advice.

Keep your head up. You've got this, and there are people out there who will understand and appreciate your honesty and who you are beyond HSV-1 and HPV.

Sending you lots of positive vibes.

Notes:

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I feel your situation is similar as mine, but differently you already took a step ahead to talk to your partners about it. I think a lot of people know their condition and don't say anything to their sexual partners, but you have your ethics right and decided to be honest, despite you know you may get rejected, and let's be real, women get more dates than men so it is easier for them to reject you for even simpler things. 

On the other side I wanna ask you something, in my case, one of the biggest problems I have is that the girls I met lately, they always want to have sex right away, like in the first or second date, so I have to reject them, because obviously I don't feel ready to tell them, so how do you manage to don't get physical and avoid sex talks, and try to meet the person first?

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