A lot of people are nervous about connecting with people with herpes.
Cathy: Hi Reid. One of our listeners asked, is it safe to be involved with someone with herpes?
Reid: I’m Reid Mihalko from ReidAboutSex.com.
Cathy: I’m Cathy Vartuli from TheIntimacyDojo.com
Reid: Is it safe?
Cathy: Well, it is true that our culture makes …
Reid: That was a shout out to my friends who are really big geeks about Robert Redford films. Do you know the Robert Redford film with that “Is it safe?” Actually, no, it’s not even that. It’s the Marathon man with Dustin Hoffman.
Cathy: No wonder I couldn’t get it.
Reid: Good lord. That was completely off.
Reid: Back to what we’re talking about.
Cathy: Our society does make STI seem very frightening and overwhelming and I’ve had a number of clients that were diagnosed and they were terrified and they felt that their life was over until they started reading statistics and getting some education that when people first hear about, “Oh, you have an STI. Oh my God! It’s the scary thing. So, I think it’s a great question.
Reid: Is it safe for me to answer that?
Cathy: Yes, it is.
Reid: Okay, great. It’s herpes, folks, and I am just going to be blunt with you. You are not going to die from herpes. It’s not a fatal disease. For the most part, for most people, statistically speaking herpes is, it’s a dermatological issue. There is a small percentage of people who have herpes where they have frequent recurring outbreaks that are very painful. They do not die. Although they may feel like they want to kill themselves because it’s a pain in the ass whatever else shows up on your body, and culturally speaking it’s stigmatized. However, most people statistically speaking are not the people that have frequent recurring outbreaks that are painful.
Statically speaking, most people have like three to six outbreaks in their lifetime and then it just kind of doesn’t show up, or maybe every once in a while and for a lot of those people it’s not painful. All this is to say that herpes-wise there are way bigger things you could be worrying about and putting your emotional and your psychic energy towards. Herpes is not the one you should be focusing on. And because of the way that herpes is transmitted from skin to skin contact it’s really hard to prevent, absolutely prevent that you will ever be exposed or possibly catch herpes. And frankly, a large percentage of the population gets herpes … I’ll move it herpes geek so you can talk.
Reid: By the time they are 11 because they kissed Aunt Gertrude at Thanksgiving and Aunt Gertrude had a cold sour, and a cold sour folks is herpes.
Cathy: And a large portion of the population has herpes 1 or 2.
Reid: Yeah. And a large portion of the population who have it is asymptomatic which means they don’t know they have it.
Reid: And we know now about herpes that you can be, what’s called shedding which is when you’re contagious you can be contagious without having an outbreak and you won’t know that you are contagious. Good news, you won’t die from herpes. If you are pregnant and about to give birth and you are having your first herpes outbreak that’s problematic, the doctors will tell you, “Hey, you should probably have a C-Section,” but for everybody else out there, I’m sorry, the focus is going to be handling the emotional weirdness and the cultural baggage and bullshit about you having herpes. And the good news is in the Sex Geek community a lot us are like, “Oh, you have herpes. Got it, okay. What else do we need to know to play?” So you will not be excommunicated from culture and left to die in the desert.
Cathy: It was really interesting for me to read, I think it was in the 50’s or 60’s before that herpes wasn’t even a thing. They made it an STI like they.… They had something to help with the symptoms so they created a lot of buzz around it. Before that, it was like you got people who had herpes and it was like …
Reid: Like dandruff?
Cathy: Kind of. So that helped normalize it for me.
Reid: Okay, yeah. If you have more questions about herpes leave them in the comment section below. You can certainly email me at Reid@ReidAboutSex.com. You can email Cathy at Cathy@TheintimacyDojo.com. Herpes, it’s okay, we will still love you.
Cathy: Yes. Thank you.