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dani

avoiding the heat of the moment disclosures?

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Been a while since I've been on this forum, but it's perhaps the first time there's a girl I'm definitely into and would like to be having sex with since I got diagnosed. I don't know her that well but feel chemistry, she invited me over to her place tomorrow. The thing is, I would rather not disclose it over text, and I would also rather not disclose before we've even made out, which if things go well will happen tomorrow. But, what if things go there, and then beyond that? I don't want to make any presumptions, but sometimes things move quickly; I won't try to get her clothes off or anything without having disclosed, but what if she reaches for my pants? Do I stop her and say "There's something I need to tell you, yada yada...", and then, if she has any hesitation, leave her to think about it? Or do I say I need to leave and then disclose at a future time, when things haven't gotten so hot?

 

Personally I have no moral problem with disclosing in the heat of the moment - I feel like it really fulfills any moral obligation I have to tell. But, I would rather her not freak out about it or have sex and then freakout the next day, since I'd be interested in hooking up more than once. So I'm just not sure the best way to approach the timeline.

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I vote for wait and see how things go, and if they escalate then disclose. Be confident, clear, not making it more of an issue than it is. I wouldn't make a set script because then you'll get too in your head, but have a general idea of the points you want to cover when it comes up.

 

As you said, I think it's too presumptive to text her or bring it up before things even get close to sex. I know some people here are obsessed with NOT disclosing in the heat of the moment, but I am with you, you are fulfilling the obligation and doing way more than a lot of people do. If she's an adult and isn't insanely drunk or something, it isn't like you're twisting their arm.

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Decades before my own diagnosis, I was disclosed to once in the heat of the moment. I chose to move forward but was disappointed to be told in the heat of the moment. I would've preferred to have a little processing time. I had no issue with his HSV status but being told in the heat of the moment was not ideal. *In the moment* I was really only able to mentally process that I was already undressed and it would be awkward and offensive for me to stop everything to think things through at that point. I know some people see that as a benefit of disclosing in the moment. Less chance of rejection. But I prefer to give someone time to let the information settle so I know the choice they are making is more proactive and not reactive. The next day, I was able to talk it over with my best friend, discover she had herpes, learn about it from her, etc., and I was totally at ease with the decision to move forward, but my initial decision was more about not offending him in the heat of the moment because that's all I could process under those conditions. Just something to think about.

 

 

 

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thanks for the feedback @surfsup and @optimist. I still think I'm trying to separate "what is moral" from "what is most likely to have the best outcome." Morally, I feel like there's only so much responsibility I can take for this condition - and so much worrying I can do about the other person's processing of it. Even if she were to have sex with me and then start worrying about it the next day, I kinda feel like I would have done my part by telling her, which, like surfsup said, is a lot more than many do - whether intentionally or not (and statistically, if she's a type that would sleep with someone so soon, there seems a high probability that she already has herpes or has already been with men who have it, whether she knows it or not). So I really think I'm more thinking about this from a selfish perspective - I don't want to create a situation where she'd be likely to then freak out and not want to see me again after the first night, because I'm looking for more than a ONS.

 

But also, when I say "heat of the moment" disclosure, I'm still talking about the moment before clothes come off (which @optimist, it sounds like your situation might have been after that?). And to be honest, though there's a high probability I'm overthinking this and that nothing happens later today except for making out, if even that - if things did in fact progress to the point where that was likely, what other options do I have? Do I just say "I have to go" - and then run out, and tell her at a different time? I guess I could tell her then and there that I have herpes and then insist that we don't do anything more until she has time to think about it (unless it's really clear she doesn't give a shit). I just really don't want to tell her now before she's expressed any intention on actually having sex with me, though I know some people have had success that way.

 

 

 

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@dani The "best outcome" is highly subjective, I think. For me, the best outcome is knowing for sure the person is fully aware and is still enthusiastic. If they are anxious about HSV, I move on, and I consider that a good outcome because I feel like I dodged a bullet. If you've read posts from people freaking out about potentially contracting HSV, you understand what I mean.

 

If you aren't thinking of this in terms of a ONS, I'm not sure I understand the benefit of disclosing in the heat of the moment. Is it so that you at least can have sex with her once if she changes her mind the next day? Or it just feels awkward to take sex off the table for the night after already making out? I don't know. I get the appeal of disclosing in the moment for a ONS but not really for a relationship. I mean, I get that it can happen that way organically, but considering you are planning it out, it doesn't make much sense to me.

 

Maybe this is about the awkwardness of disclosing in general? If so, I think you have to accept that it may be awkward and there's rarely a perfect time.

 

Maybe you'll decide that disclosing in the moment is what feels most comfortable for you and that's fine. The above is just my own personal perspective.

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@optimist, I really appreciate it. It's not that I feel a "need" to disclose in the heat of the moment - I'd be perfectly fine with not having sex tonight and telling her later. I'm not going to make an active attempt to have sex tonight. It's just that I'd prefer not to tell her before having made out, and I've had past experiences where things have progressed from one to the other very quickly, more at a girl's behest than mine. So I'm just trying to prepare for that contingency. If the best solution is for me to simply leave and have the conversation with her at a later, less heated time, I'm ok with that (though I'm wondering if it would leave her with a lot of questions in the moment). It's just not a situation I've dealt with before.

 

Do you normally disclose over text, or before you've become physical in any way?

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I guess, to your question above " it just feels awkward to take sex off the table for the night after already making out?" The answer is yes, I think that's the thing that's bothering me. I'm just so used to always giving into my carnal desires when I see an opportunity, that this is an adjustment. But it perhaps is not a bad thing to develop more patience, in terms of having more gratifying relationships.

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@dani Okay, I understand what you're saying.

 

I do prefer to tell people before making out, mostly because people are unpredictable and I can't guess which ones will be freaked out by HSV. Those who have strong feelings about it aren't always rational about what behaviors carry risk. I observed this with a female friend who was convinced she contracted shingles by kissing a guy with GHSV1. Personally, I prefer to disclose sooner and avoid that potential drama. However, I did once kiss someone before disclosing because it kind of caught me by surprise, so when I did ultimately disclose to him, I mentioned the kissing and specifically noted that it carried no risk and that I would not have engaged in any activity that carried any risk prior to sharing that info with him. Additionally, I did once move forward with a guy fairly soon after disclosing (like a few hours) because he repeatedly told me he was aware of the risk and was not going to change his mind and would never consider HSV a reason to not date someone. Had he said it was specific to me personally (something like "you are worth the risk"), I would've wanted to wait a bit in case it was the hormones talking in the moment.

 

I do understand your concerns about keeping things flowing and sexy and not weird and awkward and I think there's a way to do that to some degree, though imperfectly. I'm a woman, but if I was kissing a girl and she began giving me cues to get more sexual, I would stop for a moment and say "I am so insanely attracted to you, but I want to share something with you before things progress any further, and I want you to take whatever time you need to think about it, even if that means slowing things down for the moment." As a woman, I would find that approach sexy and endearing.

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thanks @optimist, I think that was the answer I was looking for :)... I see what you're saying about how some people might freak out irrationally over having become physical in any way, and maybe as I get more used to this and comfortable the spectrum with different people's responses, I will decide to tell people earlier on. At the moment I just feel better about getting a bit farther with someone, building up a higher level of attraction, before having the conversation. Another friend of mine (who doesn't have HSV) suggested that if things escalate to the point where she's interested in having sex, that I should just leave (without telling her why) and then tell her on a future date when things are less steamy. But, I kind of feel like that ends up making herpes a bigger deal than it needs to be. I want to wait until after we makeout, I also want to give her time to think about it (if she wants), but I don't want to deliberately postpone the conversation and make it seem like I'm trying to hide something big from her. So I feel like your approach is really good, I might even steal that line :)

 

Anyways, plans postponed until Saturday. And it's possible none of this may come up. Just trying to be prepared.

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@dani Personally, if a guy stopped making out with me and suddenly left, my mind would be spinning wondering what just happened, so I don't love that approach, but I think you'll just have to experiment with different approaches until you find what feels best for you.

 

As for telling people before or after making out, I think that's just a personal preference. I see nothing wrong with waiting if that's what feel comfortable for you.

 

Good luck! :)

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That's a good point @optimist about the differences between casual sex and potential relationship disclosure. And great line, btw! I guess where I am coming from is I am in a casual sex phase of life right now, and if I am sleeping with someone, it is usually after seeing them the first or second time, maybe third. There isn't a whole lot of time to bring it up in the non heat of the moment where it doesn't come across really presumptive and awkward.

 

That said, I have yet to disclose as I was diagnosed less than a month ago and I'm still processing things, so we'll see how everything goes once I am "out in the wild" with it. I got the impression @dani was similarly sleeping with people relatively soon after meeting them, so that's part of the reason for my recommendation to you.

 

Great discussion -- personally these discussions are what I find most interesting and helpful about this forum.

 

And have fun Saturday, regardless of outcome!

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Look up the Ladies' Man Disclosure Success thread for an outline ok how to disclose when you are sure sex is going to happen. Disclosing too soon can imply to the girl that you've got it set in your mind that you already are pushing for sex. You can always take a break for her to think about it if need be.

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@surfsup I totally get it. I'm also in a casual sex/dating phase of life. I was really concerned about how to wedge that talk in at the right time, but it's worked out fine. Just took a little practice. I bring it up when it becomes clear things are heading in a physical direction or when I feel that expectation is starting to form and that it's mutual. Sometimes that happens even before I meet the person, if we've been messaging or talking a lot. Usually I wait until after I meet the person because you just never know if the physical chemistry will be there until you meet IRL, but I really only wait until after the first date. If there's mutual interest after meeting in person, the next time they reach out to me after that first meeting, I discuss it with them. I try to make the first meeting a coffee date rather than cocktails so it won't accidentally turn into a hookup. I'm all for casual sex, I just want to get the conversation out of the way first, so a cup of coffee has been a good buffer for me.

 

I'm sure there are unique challenges for females and males. This is just my experience as a female in casual sex/dating mode.

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@surfsup I totally get it. I'm also in a casual sex/dating phase of life. I was really concerned about how to wedge that talk in at the right time, but it's worked out fine. Just took a little practice. I bring it up when it becomes clear things are heading in a physical direction or when I feel that expectation is starting to form and that it's mutual. Sometimes that happens even before I meet the person, if we've been messaging or talking a lot. Usually I wait until after I meet the person because you just never know if the physical chemistry will be there until you meet IRL, but I really only wait until after the first date. If there's mutual interest after meeting in person, the next time they reach out to me after that first meeting, I discuss it with them. I try to make the first meeting a coffee date rather than cocktails so it won't accidentally turn into a hookup. I'm all for casual sex, I just want to get the conversation out of the way first, so a cup of coffee has been a good buffer for me.

 

I'm sure there are unique challenges for females and males. This is just my experience as a female in casual sex/dating mode.

 

Cool, it sounds like things are working well for you. Thanks for sharing, and it's awesome to have the female perspective.

 

Not to beat a dead horse, but it sounds like one of the main differences (at least from this small thread) b/t male and female perspective is guys don't want to come across like they're jumping the gun by disclosing. Not from a perspective of being ashamed to look for or talk about sex, but from the perspective of a lot of what turns an interaction sexual is unspoken and more subcommunicated, and I would prefer to walk the fine line of seeing that sex is going to happen (assuming she doesn't say no after disclosure) and then disclose before it gets too hot and heavy. This is clearly not an exact science and we can't map out every encounter, we're all just doing the best we can.

 

I think the disclosure can be good in that it tells you A LOT about someone based on how they react. It's obviously totally their right to say no and I'm not gonna dog them for it, but it's got to be interesting to see how people react in terms of their education about STD's and just in general with how mature they are.

 

I am living abroad currently so I occasionally have a slight language barrier involved (not always though), so it will be interesting to see if that factors in at all. I got herpes abroad (I'm from USA) and when I spoke to the person who I am 90% sure I got it from, she was pretty clueless. I think about if there was a role reversal and I had to disclose to her, how would have it gone.

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@hippyherpy, I've seen your thread, and I gotta say thank you, on behalf of a lot of guys, and probably some girls, who that thread has probably given some encouragement to post-diagnosis in terms of continuing to have some kind of casual sex life.

 

@surfsup, you were right with you said about how I've typically done things in the past, having sex fairly soon after meeting them. If I can avoid herpes being this cataclysmic routine-changing thing, where I now need to spend copious amounts of time getting to know someone before having sex, then I hope to. At the same time I do feel myself shifting towards perhaps wanting to be open to something a bit more substantial than I've done for the past few years - and definitely more than one night stands. So, I just want to cognizant of the other person's feelings - how they process the new information, and give them time if they need it without pressure.

 

I really appreciate all the advice I've received in this thread.

 

Also, @surfsup, sidenote but kinda funny, but my situation right now is VERY similar to yours. I have a work life style that allows me to live a fair amount of the year abroad, and I also believe I contracted it from a girl last year when I was in Guatemala. I didn't mention it to her, because honestly I wasn't really upset with her about it - I have no idea what the cultural norms are around it in that country. But now I'm living in Colombia, and this girl I'm interested in does not speak great English, so if I get that far I'll be doing the disclosure entirely in my non-native language of Spanish. Depending on what happens with that girl (or any other girl I end up meeting in my next few months living here), I'll probably post about my experiences, since I know international attitudes about herpes are a subject of great curiosity on this board. Where are you living now?

 

 

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@dani -- I am in Thailand currently. I've mentioned it in another thread, but I'll say it here, I spoke with a doctor here about herpes and she said it is not a big deal here. Like, it's common, but socially the stigma is not too bad. I forgot to ask her if people here typically disclose, but I have a feeling she'd say it's a toss up.

 

I am currently moving around a lot and it makes my situation even more conducive to casual sex. Like you, I am interested in having something more stable like a relationship, but I really need to settle down in a place a bit longer than I have been for that to happen.

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@surfsup I understand what you're saying about the unspoken stuff. That was one of my greatest fears, actually. I loved the whole seduction part and I thought disclosing would ruin that, but that really hasn't been the case. It just took some practice to disclose in a way that's consistent with my personality and the type of seduction I'm used to. I can still be crazy and spontaneous, but I have to put some thought into having this conversation first so I can be sure the other person is okay with it (or not). I know that sounds like the opposite of spontaneous. Hard to explain.

 

Yes, how people react can tell you a lot. I've mostly encountered acceptance, but regardless, lots of people really open up in response to disclosure. People share very intimate things about themselves when they feel like it's okay to be vulnerable. It's pretty fascinating. I knew this already to some degree because I worked for many years in a field that required me to meet new people on a daily basis, and I've always been interested in people and hearing their stories, but even I was surprised by how much some people opened up when I disclosed to them. It was really remarkable. Not every time, but maybe half the time.

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@hippyherpy, I've seen your thread, and I gotta say thank you, on behalf of a lot of guys, and probably some girls, who that thread has probably given some encouragement to post-diagnosis in terms of continuing to have some kind of casual sex life.

 

@surfsup, you were right with you said about how I've typically done things in the past, having sex fairly soon after meeting them. If I can avoid herpes being this cataclysmic routine-changing thing, where I now need to spend copious amounts of time getting to know someone before having sex, then I hope to. At the same time I do feel myself shifting towards perhaps wanting to be open to something a bit more substantial than I've done for the past few years - and definitely more than one night stands. So, I just want to cognizant of the other person's feelings - how they process the new information, and give them time if they need it without pressure.

 

I really appreciate all the advice I've received in this thread.

 

Also, @surfsup, sidenote but kinda funny, but my situation right now is VERY similar to yours. I have a work life style that allows me to live a fair amount of the year abroad, and I also believe I contracted it from a girl last year when I was in Guatemala. I didn't mention it to her, because honestly I wasn't really upset with her about it - I have no idea what the cultural norms are around it in that country. But now I'm living in Colombia, and this girl I'm interested in does not speak great English, so if I get that far I'll be doing the disclosure entirely in my non-native language of Spanish. Depending on what happens with that girl (or any other girl I end up meeting in my next few months living here), I'll probably post about my experiences, since I know international attitudes about herpes are a subject of great curiosity on this board. Where are you living now?

 

 

Forgot to mention, our situations do seem similar. I haven't been angry at the woman I got it from. She probably had no clue she had it and was asymptomatic, or if she had any issues, they were so minor she didn't think anything about them. I would prefer to not have herpes, but I went my entire life without having HSV-1 or HSV-2 for a long time, and if I am meeting girls off Tinder and sleeping with them, I really cannot be too shocked and pissed for getting something as common as herpes.

 

I take really good care of my immune system with herbs and supplements, and I think that helped me avoid it as long as I did, but I think not having the partial antibody protection from HSV-1 made me more supectible to getting HSV-2 eventually.

 

Have you thought about telling the woman you got it from? Just for her benefit and so she can manage things as effectively as she can. I was super non-accusatory to the woman I got it from, but I was like FYI you might want to get this checked out. She still hasn't let me know if she got tested (she said she would) and I may never hear, but it doesn't matter.

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@surfsup I understand what you're saying about the unspoken stuff. That was one of my greatest fears, actually. I loved the whole seduction part and I thought disclosing would ruin that, but that really hasn't been the case. It just took some practice to disclose in a way that's consistent with my personality and the type of seduction I'm used to. I can still be crazy and spontaneous, but I have to put some thought into having this conversation first so I can be sure the other person is okay with it (or not). I know that sounds like the opposite of spontaneous. Hard to explain.

 

Yes, how people react can tell you a lot. I've mostly encountered acceptance, but regardless, lots of people really open up in response to disclosure. People share very intimate things about themselves when they feel like it's okay to be vulnerable. It's pretty fascinating. I knew this already to some degree because I worked for many years in a field that required me to meet new people on a daily basis, and I've always been interested in people and hearing their stories, but even I was surprised by how much some people opened up when I disclosed to them. It was really remarkable. Not every time, but maybe half the time.

 

Yeah, I am kind of looking forward to that. The potential for disclosure opening things up and getting people to be as authentic as possible.

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@surfsup - I will think about that. I guess I just feel a bit ambiguously about whether it's better or not for non-symptomatic people to know they have this if they don't need to, because when I was first diagnosed, my first reaction was - "I wish I didn't know and din't have to deal with this burden, when so many others who have it don't know." I mean, I know it's a medical condition, but it's also a fairly minor one. But, I suppose it could be helpful for her, and helpful for future partners whom she might potentially expose, to know (if she doesn't). She might be appreciative.

 

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@dani -- I'm with ya man. I've had the exact same thoughts about thinking "god, it'd be really convenient if I didn't know, since I am not having outbreaks"... I realize this is not contributing to awareness or tackling the herpes stigma, but I am human and it's ok to have these thoughts!

 

Regarding telling her... I see what you're saying, but if you in fact did get it from her, it isn't like you putting some crazy burden on her. She is an adult and having sex casually. She should know the risks and since it isn't a huge deal, it's just nice for her to know going forward. I dunno, I respect what you're saying about not wanting her to feel what you feel, so you only should do it if it feels right.

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