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Disconnected from my sexuality/sensuality

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I’ve been feeling really disconnected from my sensuality/sexuality since getting herpes. It’s an STD that lies dormant in the body after catching it, there’s only suppressant medication but no cure yet, it has recurring annoying symptoms, like itching or burning ever once in a while. I was a very sensual person all my life, I was a late bloomer but I loved my body, I started masturbating when I was 18 and experimented with different kinds of stimulation for fun, I was really aware of my needs and very confident and attractive. I didn’t care much about seduction tho, so I only lost my virginity when I was 20, to a friend of mine. He ended up betraying me very badly and I fell into a period of depression/feeling unworthy/feeling disappointed. It lasted a little over one year long. During this time a really creepy old coworker asked me out on a date and I was too afraid to say no, I couldn’t set boundaries right. It was the worst date ever but he ended up taking me to his place and having sex with me while I was half asleep already (exhausted from the horrible date). I caught herpes from him. I barely remember his face now, I’m over him, but I’m not over herpes. I’ve had it for two years now, I’m 23. I used to love fooling around in public, like some light foreplay while walking at the park when no one was looking, but now I feel like I’m toxic because I can give herpes to others who come into contact with me... My guy wanted to tease me with his fingers under my panties the other day, we’ve known each other for a while and he knows I have herpes but he just has no idea how disgusted I am with myself. I hate my own pussy. How sad. My pussy is amazing, it gave me so many orgasms and it gave my guy so many orgasms too! I should see it as a warm pot of thick shiny honey but I just see it as a problem and like something I had lost.

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I'm so sorry your got herpes in such a traumatic way. From your description, it sounds like you were essentially sexually assaulted if not raped. Have you talked to anyone about this? Working through how you were taken advantage of may help you come to terms with the herpes diagnosis as well.

Part of the reason that it is so important to disclose herpes is because our experience with how we contract it informs how we end up handling with it. My new boyfriend at the time was cheating on me with like 4-5 other people (he was actually never faithful and just lied to me about being faithful so I would sleep with him) when I caught herpes from him. 

I was so angry that he was someone I wouldn't even have slept with if I had known the truth. He took something away from me and left me with this thing I had to carry with me for the rest of my life. 

But you probably had chicken pox, yes? This is also lying dormant in your body. People who have cold sores have a virus that lies dormant in their bodies and reactivates sometimes. There's nothing wrong or deficient about these people, and genital herpes is no different.

Genital herpes is only perceived differently from these because we catch it sexually. A lot of us catch it from someone who didn't tell us and betrayed/lied/took advantage/etc in some way, so we have a negative attachment to the experience, and that is connected to herpes. 

You probably have random itching sometimes. Like, sometimes I have dry skin and my arm will itch. So I scratch it or get some moisturizer. I don't attach meaning to it. But if I itch "down there" I feel shame/sad/regret, even just momentarily. It is very hard to detach these feelings from the meaning we have assigned to them. 

It takes time, but it does get better. I'm 5 years into this journey, and the first 2 years were definitely the hardest for me (and I met my husband at the end of the first year, so it wasn't like it was hard because of dating).

Try to remember that the guy you are with is accepting you knowing that you have herpes. He knows he might contract it from you and he wants to be with you anyway, because you told him about it and you gave him the choice to make for himself. So if he gets it from you, it will be a risk that he chose to take, and it will likely be way less traumatizing for him than it is for you. 

You can still be just as sexual and sensual as you always were. You can still have all of the same sexual experiences that you had before or were planning to have. Don't let herpes take any of that away from you.

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