I used to jokingly refer to having “the talk” with my prospective partners, “dropping the H-bomb.” For me, it was easier to get it out of the way up front—on the first date.
Where my vulva goes, so goes my herpes. They're besties now. :-)
I don't meander leisurely through the “what do you do” “what’s your favorite TV series” “how do you feel about cute animals” discussions that most folks have on their first date. Within the first 25-30 minutes, once I determine that there is mutual interest in at least exploring sexual chemistry, I lay out my three pieces of necessary information. First, I have genital herpes. I explain that I’ve had it since 2009, I take daily suppressive medication, and I am happy to answer any questions they may have. The other two are less relevant to this post, so I won't get into them here.
My approach is straightforward and matter of fact. My rationale is that if something I tell a date is going to be a deal breaker, I’d rather know that right away. Better to be rejected up front than to get attached and hurt later. Plus, with a full time job, a podcast, and a burgeoning sex ed career, I just do not have time to dick around with someone who isn't interested in me, for whatever reason. I’ve been rejected plenty of times, but I don't take it personally because I want to respect the other person's preferences.
After all, having been to sex parties where more than half of the people in the room have herpes and are having AMAZING SEX, I'm pretty confident that having herpes isn't going to cramp my sexual style.
How do you handle disclosure?