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,