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Recently Disclosed to Supportive Partner, but Still Having Anxieties

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Hi, all!


So I disclosed my HSV-1 to the wonderful man I'm dating about a month ago, and he took the news better than I could have hoped for. We have not had sex yet, and because I really care about him, I wanted to make sure I shared my status with him before we did. (Note: this is the first time I've disclosed to a partner since my last relationship and my first partner since that relationship in general.)


Not only did my status not turn him off from me (I disclosed via letter sent by email and he was grateful for my honesty/wanted to talk face-to-face the next day), but the conversation has brought us closer in terms of openness and intimacy. Both of us have scheduled doctors appointments. He'll be going for a general checkup and STD testing, and I'll be refilling my antiviral prescription. He has done a significant amount of research since our initial conversation and has asked many questions. He genuinely wants to explore ways in which we can be physically intimate while protecting himself and making sure I still feel sexy, which I appreciate very much. He says I'm very special to him.


As it nears time for us to give sex a try for the first time, however, I'm finding myself feeling anxious. Since this is the first time I'll be having sex with someone since my last relationship, which ended a little over two years ago, it's really just now hitting me how different sex will be in terms of freedom. I fear the limitations (he has expressed his preference not to perform oral sex on me, despite it being one of his favorite things, which I understand and respect) may have a strain on our relationship down the line, and I want to be able to satisfy him to the best of my ability, despite not being able to have sex as "freely" as I was once able to.


Though he says my status doesn't scare him and he cares about me very much, part of me feels like he may also be more afraid than he's revealing to me, which I also understand. He did admit that when I initially gave him the news, he felt as if it was "unfair" (i.e. he finally met a woman who's perfect for him, but he doesn't have as much access to her sexually because of her status). He says he realized how selfish this was before he ultimately decided he still wanted to move forward in our relationship.


He's brought up things like wearing boxer briefs during sex and spraying down with rubbing alcohol during times "we're not so sure" because apparently rubbing alcohol "kills" the virus on the surface of the skin (I've never read anything backing this up, so not sure how accurate it is). While I understand his right and desire to be as careful as possible, it admittedly has stirred up some insecurity, and I've been struggling with self-esteem a bit. I know finding our groove won't be easy, but I also strongly feel it will be worth it in the end if I can work through everything I'm feeling. I trust he means what he says when he says he cares and finds me insanely attractive.


Did/is anyone else struggle/struggling with this? Would it be worth it to express these feelings to him? I became overwhelmed and ended up crying on his chest the other day during a conversation about how we were going to protect each other. Not only do I *not* want to pass this along to him (and I know the risk is inevitable), but I also really want this to work. He's both a partner and one of my closest friends.


Thanks for reading!

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