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Am I angry at the person who gave me genital herpes?
No. Here’s why:
Truthfully, I don’t remember EVER feeling angry about contracting an STD or even believing it was someone else’s fault.
Shocked, scared, appalled, embarrassed? Definitely! Anger? No.
I put myself at risk – I didn’t use barriers consistently or correctly, I didn’t get tested regularly, I didn’t ask about my partner’s safer sex regimen or intentions before engaging in partnered sexual activities, etc. – I gambled, per se, and I lost those bets. There will always be things I think I could have handled differently, but the point is, the culpability is on me. I have genital herpes because I had sex (mostly unprotected – but I could have contracted it had I used barriers as well) and I once had to treat myself for scabies, because I chose to share my body with other people intimately.
In short, I am not angry, nor am I hoping to enact revenge on the people of the world as a result of my STD experiences.
Rather, I prefer to tell ya’ll the details and hope this can be a learning experience for someone else – a lesson one person will not have to learn first-hand!
What’s the age-old adage – two wrongs don’t make a right?!?!
Yes. That one.
If you are one of those angry folks, that’s ok too…. Be angry – any emotion is better than indifference – and then do something about it. After you’ve had your fill of anger, reflect.
What makes you angry? Why did this happen? What can you do to stop this from happening to others? What will you do differently next time? Is there a good outlet for your anger – a place like this – you can use to express how you’re feeling and where you can learn how others have dealt with similar feelings?
While I understand each STD circumstance is entirely unique, whenever possible, it is important we take ownership for our actions (sexual responsibility) and if we don’t like the outcome, we can do something different next time.
Better yet, I say, talk about it.
Tell people the things you’ve learned while tra-la-la-ing along your life’s path. There’s so much we gain by talking about these things; by admitting we aren’t perfect, we open the door for others to do the same and for positive growth and change as a result of our sharing.
(Does this make you want to tell your story? Contact me – I’d be happy to post for you anonymously! Better yet, answer the STD Interview questions – I’ll post your answers anonymously and as you see fit!) < – she’s so cool! 😉
The Flip Side
And if you were one of those diligent ones practicing comprehensive safer sex like it was your job – you’re awesome – and you still contracted an infection… Well, honey (or bro), that stuff happens. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person (in fact, it means you were/are a sexually healthy person), and while I can understand why you’d be frustrated, I think that will dissipate over time, and any anger you’re feeling will resolve.
The point is, there is risk to everything we do. Everything.
No one beats someone up over getting in their car, heading to work, and getting hit by someone who loses control of their car on black ice. You knew there was risk, because there’s always a risk whenever you get behind the wheel of a motorized vehicle (just like there’s always risk in all partnered sexual activities), even if you were wearing your seat-belt (read: using barriers), driving the speed limit (read: getting tested) – the other driver was too, but they hit black ice (read: they contracted an infection anyway).
Sucks, but it happens.
I mean, you can beat yourself up about it (or the other person), if you want to, sure, but what does that accomplish, really? Just a bunch of fruitless frustration.
Life happens while we’re busy making plans, and I’m not angry about it. Hopefully, you aren’t angry about it for too terribly long either.
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Are you still angry about contracting an STD? Are you trying to find an outlet for your frustration? Were you inspired by this post? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
- Herpes Resources & Personal Perspectives
- Would You Like to Share Your Story?
- Genital Herpes (or any other STD) Won’t Stop You
- STDs and Relationships – Part 1, Part 2, & Part 3
- Telling Someone You Have an STD
- Observations from an STD Counselor
- STDs – The New Scarlet Letter
- A Healthy Helping of STD Hate
- Getting Diagnosed with Genital Herpes