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The Direct Approach: Jenelle Marie on talking to a partner about herpes and other STIs

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One of the most common question posed to ASHA’s Herpes Resource Center over the years is “How do I tell someone?” That “the talk” is intimidating is natural: you don’t know how to start, worry about rejection, and just don’t know what to expect. We can tell you that most potential partners don’t leave over herpes but still, it’s not easy.

We are fortunate that Jenelle Marie, founder of The STD Project, has allowed us to reprint her article on talking with partners about sexual health and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Her step-by-step approach is especially relevant to genital herpes and revolves around a key message: the most important person for you to connect with is yourself.

So, you have an STD.

You might even being learning to live with yourself by now (you certainly should be, but I know this takes oodles and oodles of time)and you might have finally resolved to regard the experience as a phenomenal learning opportunity – one you wish you wouldn’t have had to learn first hand, sure, but a learning opportunity nonetheless.

Consequently, you’ve started to date! Cheers!

Or maybe someone came on to you while you were dutifully trying to swear off relationships for the rest of your life?!?!

Either way, the time has come to have ‘the talk’. NO ONE wants to have the talk with anyone EVER, but you must have it if you’re ever to develop a loving, healthy relationship with someone again – at least enough to get in the sack with them that is!

It may shock you, but sex is still fantastic with an STD. Do your best not to worry too much about that right now, I’ll get you there.

Anyhow, now what? What in the world are you going to say to the potential love of your life to get them to not run for the hills?!!?!

Well, I’m sure there are many ways to go about telling someone you have an STD, however, not all of them will help you keep the other individual.

Albeit, what I’m about to share is certainly not a guaranteed method, by any means; it’s just what I think works best. I’ve had quite a bit of luck in this approach; I’ve been married, I’ve had great long-term relationships, and I’ve never lost a partner simply because of my STD. So, in some ways, I’m proof there’s a good way to do this kind of thing.

In the end, only you will know what works best for you, but in the meantime, you can try this approach on for size until you do.

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