I Contracted Genital Herpes From a Casual Lover

Bronze Scorpio

Hi, Elsa.

About six weeks ago, I was diagnosed with herpes simplex 1. My story’s almost embarrassing. My partner and I consider ourselves intelligent, informed people in our 40’s. I’m even in the medical field. We didn’t know his oral herpes could be transmitted during oral sex he performed on me… but it was. Now I have genital herpes and he doesn’t.

We’re not “the one” for each other. We had been seeing each other for four months, but knew right away that we weren’t each other’s life partner. We’re friends, we care about each other, but we’re not in love.

I went through a lot of feelings — from numbness all the way to anger. I felt like my partner, as a resourceful, intelligent man that had had this for 25 years, should know how it’s transmitted. The anger lasted about two weeks and I’m passed that now though, truly. I’ve since decided to finish my education and just this week moved to a new state to do so. He and I parted ways on a very, very kind note, wishing each other well in life.

So, the issue: I’m pretty sure my sex life is over. I won’t sleep with someone without telling them I have herpes, and I’m not really interested in sleeping with someone that’s willing to risk having a partner with herpes. Catch-22. I know people with herpes have sex, but HOW? Condoms don’t protect, and I don’t want to put anyone I care about at risk. Even without having an outbreak, sex with me is never 100% risk-free anymore. I’m a Scorpio. You KNOW how important sex is to me.

Any words of wisdom would be encouraged, because I’m not doing real well here. I KNOW a lot of people have this disease but that doesn’t make me feel any better. If I broke my leg, I wouldn’t feel better knowing people break legs all the time, you know?

Double Scorpio

Dear Scorpio,

I am very sorry for your loss and I don’t mean to minimize it any way. I understand you feel your most prized asset has been compromised. And you’ve given me one heck of a challenge if I am supposed to talk a Scorpio out of feeling whatever it is they feel. And I’m pretty sure you’ve researched this by now and accessed every bit of information available.

I also know (because you’ve written me before and because you have planets in Sagittarius) that you are a faith-based person who understands there is a grand design. So what I am going to do is take this as a Scorpio problem….

I believe you are in a Scorpio pit of self-loathing and thinking in extremes. “You can never have sex again!” You are intensifying everything. You are scraping the bottom of the well and you’re going to stay there until you’ve exhausted this, at which time you will surface. And when you do surface, you’ll have gathered your power and all your resources and you will be able to work this out. So all I can do is try to facilitate this happening. Your rebirth, that is. And the best way I know to do this is by offering the pointed truth.

The truth is, you will have sex again. You know you’ll have sex again. And you will like the sex you have, and so will your partner.

And herpes? Current mourning aside, ultimately it will not be the death of you. My advice?

I have the same advice I have given you before. Get out of the well (Scorpio) and back on the horse (Sagittarius) without delay. Because people with herpes have sex every day, as do people who are HIV+, women who have had mastectomies, men who have had heart attacks, etc. etc. etc. They have good sex. They have better than ever sex. They have sex that heals and makes them know they are still whole and in this world, perhaps even more beautiful then ever with their new vulnerability. Think of Leonard Cohen, “There’s a crack in everything… that’s how the light gets in.”

Much love and good luck.


17 thoughts on “I Contracted Genital Herpes From a Casual Lover”

  1. I’m very sorry, double Scorpio. I was very struck by this post because I have a lifelong (literally since about age 2) germ phobia (and oddly, one of the specific focuses of it is herpes). I don’t have herpes as far as I know, but many people in my family and/or friends have herpes simplex, and it can be transmitted casually (orally) by sharing food and drink which my family often do. I completely avoid sharing food and drink with them or letting them kiss me on the lips (or my daughter/husband). I am just mortified by it but then again I get the feeling that it really wouldn’t even be that big of a deal. I get the same sense from your note. The fear and stigma of the disease is worse than the disease itself. The statistics are pretty high as far as the populus. Most people share food and drink so a huge number of people have it. You don’t have to have sex to get it…same thing with HPV. A ton of people have it.

    There are things in this world that are a part of life and none of us really get out unscathed. Either we get some piddly virus or we get diabetes or something else. Hehe. I mean, I’m totally vain and I worry about my sagging boobs! It’s a part of being mortal. I don’t like it, you don’t like it…no one likes it. I hear my aging friend talking about her hips, losing teeth, etc. It’s not a comfortable process but I am sure that you are strong enough to handle the discomforts of being mortal. I’m trying to do the same…

    Hugs and Good Luck!!!

  2. I’m very sorry this happened, Double Scorpio, but I too know people with herpes and they have had sex and found love.

    Can I point out though that this statement:

    “I’m not really interested in sleeping with someone that’s willing to risk having a partner with herpes.”

    Is not really fair, not to you nor to anyone who partners with someone with herpes. The fact is, sex is risky. It has always been and it will always be, regardless of whatever new scientific development they come up with. The risks are both physical and emotional and when people are willing to take on those risks and still love and express love for someone, well, that’s a cause for faith, not for being judgmental.

  3. Oh, and btw, I have HPV. I had the kind that could develop into uterine cancer and it was really scary bc I had several abnormal pap smears for a while. It’s cleared now but I have to keep it in check and take care of myself–and others.

  4. i myself have hpv (plantar warts!).if i am not careful, they can take up residence in other parts of my body too despite the current professional treatment i am receiving. in addition, i also risk passing them on to someone else.

    double scorpio, not wanting to underestimate your feelings, it is my belief that the degree of emotional response (shame, anger,fear etc.) to hpv is tied to the difference between the body location of my warts and the location of yours and is more of a societal judgement more than anything else because at the end of the day, we both have types of viral warts. yet, foot or hand warts rarely have a daytime talk show dedicated to them whereas genital warts do and that is the sad thing about all of this for me ~the need for a darn moral distinction based on where the wart happens to manifest because one type is transmitted mainly through sex and sex sells.

    btw i hope you find your sex realised self again.

    HCSQ i’ve had pendulous breasts for as long as i can remember having breasts. i tend to look on them as rather fetching and damn sexy! you’re right, if it is not one ailment it is another.

    and Marley, i just want to let you know i found your post here comforting and compassionate. thank you.

    all the best double scorpio

  5. by daytime talk show, i mean genital herpes have been the “topic” of talk shows and not that a show is based on or dedicated soley to discussing herpes for its season run.

    just felt the need to clarify.

  6. Double Scorp,
    As a scorp with herpes I feel for you. I got herpes the first time I had a sexual encounter, which was rape. So along with the brutal rape at a young age,I got herpes. I was angry for a very long time. I would get outbreaks all the time, which was very painful. Once I let go of my anger about pretty much everything, my outbreaks stopped.
    The outbreaks are tied to your emotions which affects your immune system.
    Now that I am a fairly healthy person, emotionally and physically,I am mostly free of outbreaks. I will get a minor outbreak about once every 4 years, usually due do some emotional stress that I let get out of hand.

    I have been married for 18 years and have two beautiful children.

    You can have it all even with herpes. A good sex life, a family, love and health.
    You just need to stay healthy in all areas to keep your immune system healthy so you wont get outbreaks as often. My husband does not have herpes after 18 years of sex. My children didnt get it when they were born.
    You will get to know your body much better and know when things feel off to avoid sex.

    And if a person would have sex with you knowing you have herpes, it isnt a sign of a bad or seedy person.. It just may mean they love and trust you.

    Good luck.

  7. Sex is never 100% risk free unless it’s solo sex. Just ask anyone who’s had a condom break, or who has gotten pregnant while taking contraceptives. Shit happens. Life is full or risks but that doesn’t mean we stop living – we manage risk the best we can. For example, driving puts everyone in the car (and the car itself) at risk. Car accidents happen all the time, sometimes with permanent consequences. It doesn’t mean people should stop driving. Just means that everyone buckles up, nobody lets someone drive intoxicated etc. It’s the same thing with STIs. There are never any guarantees, but you can minimize risk through being educated and responsible.

    I also wonder why the health professional Double Scorp saw didn’t help put the STI into perspective (would we expect someone with cold sores on the mouth to think they should never kiss again? Of course not!). It seems s/he also failed to talk about the practical things one can do to continue to have a fufilling sex life which is something they should have done. If your doctor is sassing you, don’t stand for it!

  8. I think an excellent idea would be to take a serious look at the medications available to control the herpes. I’m not overly familiar with it, but I have heard enough to know there are drugs available that can significantly reduce the number of outbreaks, as well as the possibility of transmitting it.

    Don’t give up! Best of luck!

  9. Elsa, thank you. Youve just explained one of the great mysteries of my life. Whyyy I must go SO far down into the abyss before I can deal with (whatever it might be) mentally/emotionally & then seem to resurface & be ok.

    I recently tried to explain this to my husband, who totally didnt get it.

  10. Can I just say that everyone who has posted on this thread is amazing! And compassionate. What a buncha lovely people. Hang in there, Double Scorpio! To add to what i.n. said about solo sex, sex isn’t all about penetration, either. You’ve got options, and good luck exploring them.

  11. I am sitting here reading these post trying to find comfort. I agree with Christine, the compassion in this thread is amazing. I have had H. over 20 years. I am recently legally separated from a 14 year marriage. I told my husband when we were dating that I had H. It wasn’t a problem for him, we married, he never contracted it either. There was a man before him that I also told, wasn’t a problem for him either. Now I am back on the dating scene. Met someone online — we talked online and on the phone for 2.5 months — we met last weekend. Had a great time — got somewhat intimate. He was coming back thru town on his way home from vaca and we were going to meet up again since we both clicked. He wanted me to help him find a place to stay. He got a train and would be in town at 4:30 and asked me if I could pick him up. So I decided a couple of days before meeting up with him when I talked to him on the phone to let him know about my H just in case we got even more intimate. Well, not a happy ending. He called me the morning of the day (happens to be today) I was to meet him at the train station for a nice day to spend together(he had said previous to our H. discussion that he was looking forward to see me). He said he wouldn’t be stopping in town. I asked if it was because of what I told him. He said partially, but I believe it was 100% He said he would call me, but I don’t think I will ever hear from him again. I was very calm in telling him about H. and very calm talking to him when he told me he wasn’t going to stop. I am very disappointed. I am writing all postive things down about myself, otherwise, I will go to that dark place to never return. It is hard not to think that everyone will reject you when you tell them. Both of us were really attracted and liked each other. I am sad that he is letting this bother him so much. I am responsible and creative enough to minimize the risk of spreading my H. I also am on drug therapy. I just don’t understand why he couldn’t talk to me about it. I am hurt and I only have know this guy for 2.5 months. We have had a lot of long talks on the phone and really enjoyed each others company the first time we met. But I guess he has no compassion and has freaked out that he could be at risk of catching this from me. I am very sad that he is only concerned about the sex — what about me as a person and friend? I am crying as I tell you that I want to have sex again I don’t want to give it up, I am a wonderful, intelligent person, anyone would be lucky to be my companion or lover.

  12. It was almost earie reading your post, I am a scorpio and my partner is a sagitarrius.

    My story is a lot like yours. We knew that we were not meant to be, good climbing friend of mine.I even had him go into the doctors to get checked and I did the same.

    Anyways we just got back from a trip we took, the sex was great, at least once a day 4x on one prticular day. On the last day I was really sore. I thought it was just from having all that sex.

    Over the last three days I have been having what I believe to be my first ever herpes outbreak. I am seeing a docter tomorrow and am very frightened to hear what I think I already know.

    I’ve looked at so many pictures on the internet, I’m 70% sure it’s herpes.
    Whatever it is, it hurts soooooooooooo much.

    What I am really getting at is that although I am scared to hear the truth I know its not the end of the world.

    My mom has herpes and she is happily married to my step dad of 4 years and they’ve been having sex the whole time and he still doesn’t have herpes to their knowledge. He gets checked every 6 months.

    I haven’t told my mom yet, I want to wait till I get the real results, but if and when I do I’ll ask her what she does and how she does it.

    I feel so stupid for getting herpes, if I did, I’m only 21. I really relate to what you were saying.

    Herpes is forever, but your attitude will change my scorpio sister. Be strong like we are and we will get through this.

    It would be nice to have someone to talk to about what we are going through. If yo are interested in Pen Palling yo can reach me at [email protected]

  13. wow…what a timely post…i’m a sagittarius with scorpio rising and mercury in scorpio. was supposed to be a scorpio but i was born 2 weeks late…i’ve had herpes for 11 years now, got it when i was 17 from my first boyfriend. he never showed any symptoms of it. since then, i gave it to several guys without knowing i had it, and 1 guy because he forced himself on me…i wish i could say i’ve worked out my issues but i haven’t totally…i’ve been single for 2 years now. my last bf was amazingly supportive, he didn’t care that i have it. i am talking to a few guys right now, none of whom i’ve told. engineb, i feel your pain, caz i’ve been there and had guys reject me caz they couldn’t handle the fact that i have a STI. i hope and pray that one day i will meet the guy who can accept this part of me, and hopefully you will too! 🙂

    think of herpes as a litmus test…if someone can’t accept that you have it, why would you want to be with them anyways? imho, that’s just the tip of the iceberg, baby…if someone can’t handle my herpes, how could they handle the idea of building a life together…??? better to find out now…the trick is finding the balance between being interested in someone but still able to pull out emotionaly if they can’t accept…i’m still working that one out.

  14. I’ve been reading a lot online and it always seems like the girls are eventually able to find a guy who can handle H and have a happy ending. I never read any posts about guys with H finding a girl. I guess us guys are doomed. 🙁

  15. I contracted HSV II from a partner I was with for 7 months. He says he didn’t know he had it. But I can’t imagine a person not knowing. I was in horrible pain, so horrible I got to my doctor the day after all the pain started. She didn’t think I looked like I had anything but ran every single test just in case. Before the results came back, I knew I had it. He was in denial. He got tested, tested positive. Blamed me. He is 28 years older than me.
    We eventually broke up after I found his personal ads. I still don’t know if he cheated on me but I can say that he is the guy that won’t tell someone he has it. But I have told every man that has expressed interest in me. I told them upfront when we started to spend any time together so they could make up their mind before they were emotionally committed to me. I was 28 when I got it. I am now 30. I met the man of my dreams, told him I had it and he accepted that. In fact, he was so determined that he met the woman of his dreams, he exposed himself to the virus and got it the very first time. We are both angry about how I got it, but not with each other. We’ll share this the rest of our lives, but neither will go it alone. Now, that is the man I wish I would have waited for. I only hope so many could be a fortunate. It doesn’t have to be life sentence but it is serious and people need to communicate whether they are positive. And better yet, get tested, condoms don’t protect you from getting it.

  16. Yes life will go on. I was diagnosed 5 months ago. My ex didn’t tell me he had this. Actually he sai he was just recently tested and was completely clean. We always used condoms, however he had problems keeping it up, and one time he took the condom off and i told him to put another one on before continuing and he refused and just went about his business. I broke up with him the next day based on his complete disrespect he showed for my feelings. Two days later I got my first outbreak not a big one only one little sore but flulike symptoms really bad. And then i was an emotional wreck.. I went through the phases of noone will ever touch me again. It is based on the stigma. I got over those feelings. I just recently met a really awesome guy and i really like him alot.(not thinking about having sex with him until i tell him about this and until he gets tested for everything else as well.) I’m not sure when is a good time to tell him. I want him to know me and care first before i scare him off. Any advice. I do believe there is hope though and everyone will find there soulmate because if someone is truly commited, and in love with you this will just be a virus and he/she will not care.

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