In addition to helping us heal our own shame around herpes (which I wrote about previously HERE), telling a sexual partner before we have intercourse creates an even deeper intimacy and a very special heart connection. Still, for those of us who have issues around abandonment, low self-esteem, or past sexual abuse, we have no idea how to have such a conversation! Just the idea of it may bring even more shame and insecurity. It can help to stop and realize we are about to bring someone into our sacred space in the most intimate way…isn’t honesty the only way to have real intimacy? You won’t want to try and come back in a year or two and have the conversation, or spend your life not telling your future spouse, will you? Not telling someone up front makes it even harder to do so later. Besides, so many people have herpes and few discuss it, so don’t be surprised if they have it, too! (Then you can ask yourself…or them…why they didn’t speak up.)
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How on earth do you start this conversation? Well before you find yourselves being sexual but at a point where you know you are interested, and have a good sense that they are, too. Find a quiet time when you are together in private talking or relaxing and open the conversation. Try starting with something like, “It seems things are going really well between us. I feel some chemistry. Do you?”
See where that goes, then try bringing in the subject of sexual health or birth control. Isn’t it ironic how uncomfortable we are discussing these things, yet we are ready to get naked and open our bodies to another? Sit with that for a moment if you become too uncomfortable…you may even say that out loud to honor their discomfort, too, if you feel it. Let them know that you have become aware you carry the virus and want to practice safe sex. See if they have any questions. Separate how you each feel about the virus from how you feel about each other. You are not your virus!! Discuss your feelings as openly as you can.
**A favorite resource of mine for building confidence and skills for uncomfortable conversations is Crucial Conversations by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan and Switzler.***
What if they leave or end the relationship? This is another reason why it is good to discuss this prior to sex. The relationship has gotten this far along and if this conversation scares someone off or disgusts them, what does that tell you about that person? Are they who you thought they were? How would you react if the conversation were reversed? How would it feel to have someone be that open and honest and careful with your body and theirs? Would that deepen your feelings for them or run you off? You don’t have to be in love to have sex, but don’t you expect for someone who has sex with you to respect your body and wishes? This is a good time to reflect on self-love.
***If you tend to put other’s desires and feelings before your own, even stifling your own voice so as not to displease them, please check out Melody Beattie’s Codependent No More!***
Intimacy is not sex. Intimacy is about being vulnerable and authentic with another person, and there are layers of this. True intimacy begins with learning to love and accept ourselves, for we can never love another more than we love ourselves, not truly. I hope this blog helps, and I invite your comments, questions, and feedback below. Also, if you would like some coaching around this, I am here for you!
Sending you much love and Light along your journey,
Sheryl Sitts, Certified Coach, Vibrational Healing Practitioner
Founder, Journey of Possibiltiies