All posts by Pamela Marshall

Pam is a Licensed Massage Therapist, Swing Dancer, and a searcher of truth and inspiration.

Protecting Your Partner When You Don’t Want To Take Anti-virals

Anti-virals like Valtrex and Zovirax and Acyclovir are a God-send for many …. and as someone who got Herpes before all these things were available, I know that they have helped many to get through the early stages post-diagnosis and have helped to give H+ partners something to help to protect their partners from getting the virus. But not everyone wants to take medication … and there are those who just don’t do well on them. I see a lot of questions about how to protect partners without taking the meds …. so here’s a list of the most useful and best known things that you can do to reduce the risk of passing it on.

  • Condoms – reduce the risk by 50% … but that number depends a LOT on where your OB’s are. So if your OB’s are on the boxer shorts area, don’t rely on them to protect your partner (but you should still use them to protect YOU from getting anything else!)
  • No sex with ANY knicks/cuts/irritation present on you or your partner. IE: if you have any breaks in skin, it’s *possible* that the virus could get into your partner’s system. This may sound “bad” but you can just look at those times as an excuse to explore other ways to get yer freak on, so it can be a GOOD thing too 😉
  • Shaving/waxing: There’s a school of thought that H has increased with the advent of shaving, and there’s good reason to believe that there’s some substance in the thought. Shaving/waxing can create micro-cuts/tears/irritations to the skin which in the H+ carrier can bring on OB’s (and thus possibly induce asymptomatic shedding as well) and in the H- partner, it can create an open door to the nerves which host the virus. Also, when both partners have a “full bush” that would create a “buffer” of sorts from any areas that are shedding. So if you are a shaver, perhaps you might at the very least want to go to using a trimmer/electric shaver that doesn’t irritate the skin, or perhaps the depilatory creams that are out there.
  • Be sure to use plenty of lube and be cautious with rough sex … esp if it leaves you a bit raw…. which can trigger an outbreak.
  • Try to keep stress levels down.. H LOVES stress!
  • Vitamin B-12: Medical research in England found that many people with cold sores were low in B12. Studies found that by adding 250 mcg. of B12 the condition improved rapidly. This research also suggested taking B complex supplements with emphasis on the B12 and folic acid. It follows that this could well help to reduce OB’s and/or shedding for genital HSV2 … it certainly won’t hurt anything and you might find that you at least have more energy!
  • Take L-Lysine supplements – for *some*, this reduces OB’s significantly so it likely would reduce shedding as well (though you will never know for sure).
  • Use H as a good reason to learn other ways to be intimate. Tantric sex requires no insertion at all and can be VERY hot. Use role play and toys and porn and whatever else works for the pair of you … this can open up a whole world that you might miss if you never had to consider alternatives to “vanilla sex” 🙂

So you can see that there’s a TON of ways to protect your partner … and the bottom line is that a life well lived entails some risk of things “going wrong”. You get in your car every day, take “precautions” (Put on the seat belt, obey road rules, etc) and you could STILL get broadsided and get hurt or killed. So try to see this is a lesson in learning to accept that you don’t have complete control over everything. All you can do is to reduce the risk as best as you can, make sure your partner is well informed and knows the risks, and then get on with life….. 😉

Peace

Article: What It’s Like To Tell Guys That You Have Herpes

Inspiring doesn’t even start to describe how I felt when I read this beautiful blog/article on Women’s Health Mag online.  Written by a beautiful young college student by the name of Ella Dawson, it tells of her experience of living FEARLESSLY with Herpes.

Starting with her diagnosis where she quickly that despite feeling very alone, she was FAR from being the only person with Herpes

When I looked up the statistics on how common herpes is, the math didn’t add up: If one in six people had genital herpes, how was I the only person I knew to do the ultimate walk of shame from the student health center clutching a stack of STD pamphlets? Further Google searches opened my eyes to the powerful and invisible stigma associated with sexually transmitted diseases.

To her resolve to push herself to be ok with saying “I have Herpes”

I was sick of making myself small because I had herpes. Six months after my first outbreak, I started dropping the “herpes bomb” into conversations casually. My logic was that every time I told someone, “I have herpes,” the words would get easier to say.

To her favorite disclosure

My favorite disclosure happened when a guy made a herpes joke while chatting me up at a party. He offered me the rest of his expensive beer and said with a wink, “Don’t worry, I don’t have herpes or anything.” I had a choice to make. I could laugh his comment off and pretend it didn’t hurt, but that would mean laughing at myself. Or I could steer into the skid and stop being so afraid of what people thought.

“That’s funny,” I said, with as warm a smile as I could manage. “Yeah, that’s really funny. Because I have genital herpes.” His face crumbled. Not because I grossed him out—I could practically see the wheels turning in his brain as he realized he’d made an ignorant joke at someone else’s expense. The guy started apologizing profusely.

Isn't she a cute as a button? But in reality this girl is one Bad-Assed Chick!
Isn’t she a cute as a button? But in reality this girl is one Bad-Assed Chick!

Ella has hit the nail on the head about why there is so much stigma surrounding having Herpes and why we need to learn that when someone makes a joke about Herpes, it’s not personal (see my blog about Herpes Jokes for my POV on how to handle them)

The thing is, this stranger wasn’t intentionally making fun of me. He wasn’t making fun of anyone because most of us don’t associate herpes with actual people. …….. I had seen in the flesh what a simple “I have herpes” could do when said fearlessly, without shame. Because when a real person—a woman you know and respect—casually mentions having herpes, it stops being a punch line and starts being someone’s reality. The more I saw that understanding dawn on someone’s face, the less fear I felt. I wanted herpes to have a human face, and I wanted it to be mine.

I think I cried a little when I read that, because I work every day with young women (AND men!) who have bought into the Herpes Stigma and who have gone from confident, radiant souls to someone who now believes they have to “settle” for anyone who will love them … and that is soooo far from the truth…

Ella’s last statement echos my own experience with being out and confident with my H+ status

Every time I tell someone that I have genital herpes, I run the risk of it being the only thing they remember about me. But when I tell them on my terms, with confidence and cleverness instead of shaking hands and shame, I am immediately positioned to get a better response.

And finally, I couldn’t have put it better…

When you disclose having herpes, generally whomever you’re disclosing to follows your lead…….

Amen sister! Please, read this blog … it may well change how you look at Herpes – whether you have it, or you know someone who has it ..

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/sex-and-relationships/dating-with-herpes

Peace Out!

 

Home Remedies: Fractionated Coconut Oil

As Forum Mom on the Herpes Life Forum pages, I hear about a lot of Home Remedies that people claim work for them. Many of these claims are one-off things that may be just a coincidence, but over time, it has become obvious that there are a number of things that people are using that have at least some usefulness for either reducing the pain or helping to reverse/control outbreaks by killing off the virus that is present at either skin level or creating some kind of environment that reduces the virus’s ability to replicate. As I come across products that I can really back and believe in, I will post my experiences and information here.

Today I am covering Fractionated Coconut Oil. Many people on the forum report that the oil soothes the outbreaks and helps to reverse the outbreaks. This is not totally surprising as Coconut Oil contains Capric and Caprylic acids which are known to have Antibacterial and antiviral properties. Continue reading Home Remedies: Fractionated Coconut Oil

Dating Online: My Personal Experience With Being Out and Proud

Just over a year ago, I hit a wall and an epiphany at the same time. Previously, like most people with herpes, I had approached herpes with the alternating depression that I would have to disclose and the fear of being rejected. After 35 years with the virus though, I had finally figured out a few things:

  • That rejection was not about me.
  • That most people are woefully ignorant not only about herpes, but STD facts in general so their reaction told me a lot about who THEY were and whether I really wanted them in my life anyway.
  • That I wasn’t ashamed of having herpes.
  • That I no longer wanted to hide in a closet of shame and fear.
  • That I wanted to just be my fully authentic self.
  • That I was tired of the stigma.

Continue reading Dating Online: My Personal Experience With Being Out and Proud

Triggers As Learning Tools For Life

As part of my work as an advocate for the Herpes community, I spend a lot of time on the Herpes Opportunity Forums. Our work there is to help the “H+” population and their loved ones to get reliable, accurate information about living with the virus, and to feel supported and less isolated in their journey.

Much of the talk is about what are known as “Triggers” … those things in life that cause or contribute to an outbreak. These things vary largely from one person to another, and even in each person some things that trigger an outbreak now will not bother them in the future.  Normal triggers are stress (the biggest trigger of them all), chocolate, nuts, foods that are high in Arginine, sex (especially in those who are going through their first few months post exposure), and sunshine (mostly in those with HSV1 oral). But lately there has been a number of new “triggers” that have become evident on the boards…..and they are Continue reading Triggers As Learning Tools For Life

Herpes Jokes: Getting the Last Laugh

Q: What’s the difference between love and herpes? A: Herpes lasts forever.

I often see people on the Herpes Life Forums who are hurt or frustrated when they hear someone telling a Herpes joke.

NEWS ALERT!

EVERYTHING has been the butt of a joke at some time or other… every conceivable race, emotion, situation, disease, etc known to man is fair game. Blondes. Fat people. Pollacks. The President. Kids. You name it, there’s a joke (or several hundred) for it. So why is it all of a sudden it’s not OK to joke about Herpes once we are diagnosed? I’ll bet you either have told or laughed at a Herpes joke at some point in the past. Yeah – some are uglier than others… but same goes for everything else that’s joked about. IT’S NOT PERSONAL!  You only noticed it because you have Herpes – and there will be jokes out there that you don’t think twice about that bother someone else. So what is the difference between a Herpes joke and the following ?(Graphic alert! I picked these specifically because of the nature of the joke and this blog) Continue reading Herpes Jokes: Getting the Last Laugh

Easy, Simple Self Help Tips For Relief From Herpes OutBreaks

The following are some of the tips I give out every day on the Herpes Life Forums to people who are suffering from the symptoms of Herpes. Everything suggested has been shown to help at least *some* of the readers …. what works for one may not work for another.  I’ll add more as I learn of new things that seem to get good feedback for results, so check back occasionally to see if there’s anything new. Click on the highlighted words to find more info or to buy the product 🙂 Continue reading Easy, Simple Self Help Tips For Relief From Herpes OutBreaks

Finding Your Authentic Self With Herpes

Sometimes the things we cannot change, end up changing us

Awhile back, one of the members of the Herpes Life Forum wrote this beautiful passage:

At one point or another, we are forced to confront our authentic selves. For a while we can try on different masks, goof around, fake it. We dabble in this and that, float here and there, even if it doesn’t agree with what’s in our soul. Eventually, though, something happens that snaps us awake, tells us to stop fucking around, and brings us back down. Makes us honestly question ourselves.

No more do I have the luxury of sleeping with whoever finds me attractive. My sexuality is no longer a curtain that I can hide behind, no longer a “fall back” for feeling insecure (or worse, bored). I have been forced to face myself- the raw, ugly, vulnerable part of myself. I have had to find value in the parts that I kept hidden, to become aware of things I did not want to become aware of.   Continue reading Finding Your Authentic Self With Herpes

Kintsukuroi: Celebrating in Your Brokenness

Brokenness is really an illusion with the purpose of creating great beauty – Dr Habib Sadeghi

I just replied to a post on the Herpes Life forums that sadly is all too common. Usually, I hear this from someone who is relatively recently diagnosed, so they are just reeling from the shock and upset of the diagnosis. However, this member has had Herpes for several years. She has bought into the stigma, hook, line, and sinker, and has yet to find her way out of her her belief that Herpes has irreparably broken her. Essentially, she wrote:

I feel the shame because I am reminded how completely unattractive, how repellent having a virus on your genitals is to other people. It also disgusts me…… I will always be infectious. Its vile.

My response was: Continue reading Kintsukuroi: Celebrating in Your Brokenness