We were naked. He was hard. I’d always considered this moment the best time to disclose, because rejection seemed less likely when the possibility of a good lay was hot-breath close. Though maybe once we’re naked, it’s too late.
I shut my legs and stacked my knees to one side. “I have to tell you something,” I said.
Prefaces, everyone knows, are never good.
“What?” he asked.
I took a breath, let it out. I hate this part, I said to myself, possibly aloud. And then, definitely aloud: “I have herpes.”
Silence. The word had to be chased with something.
“But before you freak out,” I said as casually as I could, “let me tell you about it.”
“The transmission risks are tiny,” I started, and they are: about 2-4 percent from woman to man, depending on condom use. My risks are likely even lower; I got genital herpes from oral sex, and HSV-1 is even harder to transmit to a partner’s genital region. “And one in four or five people have it, even though most people don’t know since a standard STI test doesn’t test for it,” I said.
Silence. Wasn’t this dirty talk?
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