One in four American women and one in five men have genital herpes, so why is there still so much silence and shame around it? Far too many of us suffer quietly, enduring weeks of torturous burning, itching, and blisters at the most sensitive nerve endings of our bodies! Feeling alone, we quietly search Google for relief at 3 AM as the rest of the world sleeps. It is time to come out of the silence and give ourselves and each other some much needed compassion, love, and support!
I was horrified to learn I had contracted herpes very early in my adult life. I never did confirm the identity of the man who infected me. It is as easy to transmit as one partner performing oral sex with a fever blister or two partners have unprotected sex (while blisters are present or not). Judging by its rampant spread, I am also apparently not the only one who didn’t disclose my herpes to all my partners or use a condom every time I had sex. We are obviously not doing very well at having these difficult conversations, and this painful virus keeps spreading. We must do better at having this difficult conversation before we ever get to foreplay in the bedroom, or let’s be honest, we may not say anything at all. Afterwards is just too embarrassing.
We know that outbreaks are triggered by stress and/or a compromised immune system (like occurs when we are ill or fighting infections). At least the frequency of outbreaks subsides after the first few years with the virus, but I was horrified to discover that it returns with a fury during menopause, a phenomenon science has not researched very much.
Can there be an emotional connection to this virus? The late Louise Hay wrote about how physical pain often correlates with emotional pain and self-defeating beliefs. These can originate through trauma. She wrote that genital herpes is about, “mass belief in guilt and the need for sexual punishment; public shame; belief in a punishing God; rejection of the genitals.”
Christiane Beerlandt writes in The Key to Self-Liberation, “Indoctrination that ‘your body is dirty’ leads to a certain reservation, to self-blockage. This not only hinders you from fully experiencing yourself, but also from entering a close emotional relationship with a partner.” Beerlandt advises us to communicate fully about what we do and do not want or need, and to learn first and foremost how to love ourselves fully.
Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Personally, I was given up for adoption and then experienced incest and other trauma in my childhood. Then I turned to alcohol and drugs to numb out my low self-esteem and shame. I was desperate to feel loved and good enough, and often sought that in relationships with men. As I discovered the writings of Hay and Beerlandt, both resonated strongly. Now in menopause, I have been suffering through some of the worst outbreaks of my life! The only physical relief I have found has been in Epsom salt baths where I have shed a lot of tears and released a lot of shame. I have spent sleepless nights writing in my journal about how I relate to what Hay and Beerlandt wrote. I have discovered that L-Lysine (4 to 6 1,000 mg capsules daily during outbreaks to minimize severity and duration, then 3 capsules daily to suppress) has really helped to suppress the outbreaks, and tea tree oil applications (diluted 5:1 with water and applied with a fresh Q Tip to each blister) have brought me some healing. Each time I have pulled the drain plug on another salt bath, I have intentionally released old guilt, anger and shame down the drain as well. I have begun to recognize that this journey is not about healing the virus or my past; it is about accepting myself and my life, loving myself exactly as I am, and discovering my own beauty and worthiness.
Quantum physics says we create our own reality with our thoughts, beliefs and feelings. Why would I create herpes for myself in the first place? Surely not to punish myself forever with shame and guilt over the past! No, something bigger is happening here. As my body calls my attention back to nurturing myself in the most painful days, I come face-to-face with the stories I have told myself about my life, my past, and how they shape the way I feel about myself today. Releasing old hurts creates space for new feelings of compassion, forgiveness, and unconditional love for myself and, finally, for someone else in a healthy relationship.
Positive Affirmation: I am perfect and whole, discovering and learning to embrace my perfection within this imperfect human life. I am beautiful. I love myself. I am loveable.
In Genital Herpes: Moving Past the Pain, Shame, and Silence, Part II, I go deeper into how this is not about the one who infected you, who you have slept with since then, or your current partner. It feels like it is, but it is really a journey of self-love and forgiveness.
There is nothing to be ashamed of. We have felt alone and silenced for too long. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!! May this inspire you to contact me privately or comment below and let me know how I can support you in this journey. It is not about surviving…it is time to THRIVE!
With love, Light, and much gratitude,
Sheryl Sitts, MPA, BA, Certified Coach & Vibrational Healing Practitioner
Founder, Journey Of Possibilities