"asking, telling, living with herpes, screwing up, doing the right thing"
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msmom (924 posts) Click to EMail msmom Click to send private message to msmom Click to check IP address of the poster
May-27-02, 00:21 AM (CST)
"asking, telling, living with herpes, screwing up, doing the right thing"
Hi, all....

Wow, there are lots of thoughts going through my head right now, so I really, really hope this post makes some kind of sense.

My heart hurts for both Lisa2 and Spoiled. Both of them are in a world of hurt right now, in part, I think, because of some narrowness in perspective. I don't have any desire to blame anyone for anything, or to kick someone who is down (and make no mistake, both of them are DOWN) but I really do think there are some lessons to be learned here.

In my opinion, Lisa2 got herself into trouble for the same reason that my buddy Rachael recently got kicked in the head by a horse - she knew too much and she got too damned comfortable.

Lisa2 had done an excellent job of coming to terms with herpes, recognizing that it's not the be-all and end-all of her life, not even an important factor in many ways. She learned a lot about statistics, and the way that herpes works. She'd also gotten quite knowledgable about ways to reduce transmission risk, and she'd had some pretty good experiences, both with telling and with being with someone without transmission. So....she got a little careless, a little cocky, and it got away with her.

The key point to telling about herpes is to tell before someone is at risk - I think we all understand that. Sometimes, we have to help newbies understand that that doesn't mean walking down the street in a sandwich board that says "I have genital herpes" fore and aft. You don't need to tell your whole family. You don't have to tell on the first date.

BUT... Everyone I know who has stood in Lisa2's shoes has been cockily sure that they could stop and tell *anytime* before tab a goes in slot b. It's been my experience that this just ain't so, and that the point of no return is farther back from the edge than we like to think. We joke about thinking with our sexual organs, but darn it, it's sometimes true. Once that whole instinct thing kicks in, it takes a HUGE amount of stimulus to override the process, and frankly, it sounds like that herpes wasn't a big enough deal to Lisa2 to hit the override button. Anyone who wants to throw stones about that will need to sign an affidavit that they have never been on either side of a pregnacy scare.

Where *I* think Lisa2 may have made the mistake is in riding the edge too long. In my opinion, you need to tell BEFORE sex play starts, and not trust yourself to call a halt once things get heated. We all THINK we can do that, and most of us are wrong, most of the time. Ironically, an understanding that the likelihood of transmission within a single session isn't large, and the confidence that herpes doesn't diminish you as a person may make it MORE likely that you can't stop the train once it's rolling. Confidence and comfort can lead to carelessness, and that's what I think may have happened here.

We have to be so, so careful as we learn and evolve to remember that herpes really IS a big deal to most newbies and also to some people who have had it for awhile, and that not telling feels like a HORRIBLE breach of trust to the person put at risk. It sounds like a dichotomy, but it's true: herpes isn't a big deal, but not telling about it is. We've got to remember that at a gut level, and not just with our minds.

We also mustn't forget how much more we know about STD's than Joe Average - whether he has any or not. Most people think that STD's are accompanied by huge screaming sores that you couldn't possibly miss, that only a few people have them, and dirty people at that. It's pretty easy to dismiss that as unconsionable ignorance, but I think it's really the most common condition. As foolish as this sounds to me now, it's certainly what I thought before M was diagnosed.

I know Lisa2 feels really bad about what happened, and I'm sorry that she's hurting so. I DO hope that this incident has helped her understand at a visceral level the limitations of statistics and the consequences of riding the edge. I hope that some of us can learn from this hell she's dealing with now and not make the same mistakes ourselves.

On the other side of this equation, Spoiled is working with a view of STD's that, although common, is VERY impractical and incorrect. You can't tell who has STD's by looking at them. Most people who have STD's don't know it, and of those who do, many don't have a clear understanding of when and how they can be transmitted. Those who do know and understand... well, obviously they are just as human as the rest of the world. I know darn well that if she'd been asked, Lisa2 would have told, although she obviously fell short of the wherewithal to 'fess up in the heat of the moment

Furthermore, assuming that a condom is a magic bullet that will keep you safe from everything is a really bad idea. Even excluding herpes, hpv and crabs, none of which are bothered much by condoms, condoms are fallible. They break or come off. This happens between 1.5 and 7 times per hundred for those who like stats. A broken condom is a MUCH more likely event than a car wreck (that happens one time in 7000 that we drive) but people who would never leave the driveway without a seat belt will put themselves in harm's way sexually with no more protection than a thin sheet of rubber, and feel that they've really done all that can be asked of them.

Yes, I agree that Lisa should have told. I understand that Spoiled didn't know what could happen to him, and I'm truly sorry for the pain he is experiencing now, and the precautions he'll have to take in the future. I would also feel sorry for a guy who got mugged wandering down Rampart street in an Armani suit with a wallet full of twenties. In both cases, I would say, man, you got done wrong. That's way too bad. But I'd also say....you could have prevented this. I know you didn't know, but you could have found out. You could have asked, you could have checked out the territory on your own.

Leaving your health and safety exclusively in the hands of others is always a bad idea. I won't even say that's a shame, because...that's life. People get hurt all the time. They get their teeth knocked out playing baseball, they get hit by cars, they contract heart disease or cancer or heaven knows what. And in most cases, you can find people to blame, but if you look really closely, you'll see that one of them is you.

Bottom line is, sometimes bad things happen to good people. Furthermore, good people sometimes do bad things. We can't avoid that completely, it's just the human condition. Arguing, freaking out, and kicking ass (your own or someone else's) are a valid and probably necessary part of the process of dealing with Bad Things, so please just keep on working through it all. My thoughts are with you both, and I'd really like to thank you for bringing your woes to this forum - I'm going to try really hard to learn something from them.

Peace and very best wishes to you both,
M'sMom

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  Table of Contents

  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
 RE: asking, telling, living with herpes, screwing ... CAT11 May-27-02 1
 RE: asking, telling, living with herpes, screwing ... Kallie (Guest) May-27-02 2
 Awesome, awesome post Laurie May-27-02 3
 Hall of Fame material.. Rajah May-27-02 4
   I'm speechless etrnlmonkey May-27-02 5
       RE: I'm speechless CAT11 May-27-02 6
           RE: I'm speechless David (Guest) May-27-02 7
 Well Said ! oh well :-) (Guest) May-27-02 8
 Not to take away from your post but smokentoke May-27-02 9
   RE: Not to take away from your post but Lisa2 (Guest) May-27-02 10

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Messages in this topic

CAT11 (317 posts) Click to EMail CAT11 Click to send private message to CAT11 Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
May-27-02, 00:40 AM (CST)
1. "RE: asking, telling, living with herpes, screwing up, doing the right thing"
Thank you for that.
It was a beautiful way to sum up this whole mess.
As a horsewoman, I can relate.
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Kallie (Guest) (18 posts) Click to check IP address of the poster
May-27-02, 05:46 AM (CST)
2. "RE: asking, telling, living with herpes, screwing up, doing the right thing"
Very well said, Msmom! I agree 100%. Thanks for that....... and now, speaking of horses....I think you have also managed to let us all now stop beating a dead horse! I know I have definitely learned from this, so thank-you again Lisa2 for sharing this with us. Let's all move on & heal.
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Laurie (2209 posts) Click to EMail Laurie Click to send private message to Laurie Click to view user profile Click to send message via ICQ Click to check IP address of the poster
May-27-02, 06:22 AM (CST)
3. "Awesome, awesome post"
I'd say "as always" but this goes beyond as always.

Excellent job.

This one's a keeper IMO.

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Rajah (3953 posts) Click to EMail Rajah Click to send private message to Rajah Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
May-27-02, 08:39 AM (CST)
4. "Hall of Fame material.."
Thanks again, MM, for summing the whole mess up in an effective way. You certainly have a knack for cutting to the chase. I would like to attribute that to your being an Engineer.

I am so glad that you made that final key point about owing a debt of gratitude for folks who screw up and then have the guts to share it with us so that others, hopefully, learn from the mistake. That really is an important part of this online community, sharing the good and the not so good.

Thanks again.

Rajah

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etrnlmonkey (26 posts) Click to EMail etrnlmonkey Click to send private message to etrnlmonkey Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
May-27-02, 09:17 AM (CST)
5. "I'm speechless"
LAST EDITED ON May-27-02 AT 09:18 AM (CST)

That was hypnotising. You are well spoken, intelligent, and effective. You remind me of my mommy, who doesn't know about my H. I now have this warm feeling like that is exactly what she would have said. It's like the comfort without the fear of telling. Thank you. That was wonderful.
Kim

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CAT11 (317 posts) Click to EMail CAT11 Click to send private message to CAT11 Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
May-27-02, 10:36 AM (CST)
6. "RE: I'm speechless"
M'smom has morphed into everyones herpes mom. She should change her screen name to Group Herpes Mom, or the Woman that Lived in the Herpes Shoe. Mother of the Herpsters....
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David (Guest) (3 posts) Click to check IP address of the poster
May-27-02, 01:09 PM (CST)
7. "RE: I'm speechless"
I would like to add one thing. Personally speaking, I will NEVER tell anyone I have herpes, other than a potential sex partner.Why? Because I won't be just "David." I will be known as "David with herpes." I will always be known as "David with herpes." If I hold out for a few more years, I firmly believe there will be a cure or something close to it. No one will EVER have to know I had this disease. That's just the way I see it.
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oh well :-) (Guest) (41 posts) Click to check IP address of the poster
May-27-02, 03:15 PM (CST)
8. "Well Said !"
ENOUGH SAID!!!!!
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smokentoke (8 posts) Click to EMail smokentoke Click to send private message to smokentoke Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
May-27-02, 05:19 PM (CST)
9. "Not to take away from your post but"
Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like some people are assuming that spoiled has acquired H?

I think we should be cautious about drawing conclusions on what happened to Lisa2 and Spoiled right away. Until spoiled's diagnosis is official, we can only speculate that he got H from Lisa2. For all we know, he's allergic to condoms, so he got a strange rash.

It just goes to show how one's life hangs in the balance with H. Whether you're waiting to get tested, waiting for the diagnosis, waiting for the next OB, waiting for a cure, whatever. It's a waiting game, so maybe we should wait until spoiled is diagnosed, then we can make all the conclusions we want.

This is not to take away from MM's post, just my thoughts on this whole situation.

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Lisa2 (Guest) (667 posts) Click to check IP address of the poster
May-27-02, 06:32 PM (CST)
10. "RE: Not to take away from your post but"
This is true but it wouldn't change ANY of the lessons to be learned here, at all. And M's Mom'spost would be just as relevant as important.

I have not talked to spoiled, I know he should have his results by now. And so no, nothing is known for sure. If there is any chance in hell I hope it isn't herpes, or even that's it's type 1 and he gave it to me, or he gave something else, like molluscum, to me. I would prefer that, it would be easier for me to deal with emotionally. Sure, anything is possible. It's possible he had it all along, and gave another strain to me. Or that it is a fungus like I thought.

And if it is something else, or nothing and he hasn't told me yet... that's okay. The best case scenario would be that he is fine and this was a painful wake-up call for both of us in BOTH of our illusions of safety.

But yes, it would be nice if I could learn this lesson without having hurt someone else.

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