I was 14. I had never been with a guy, never kissed one. My friends thought this was ridiculous, most of them had lost their virginity already. It felt like my innocence was a was a burden to them, it felt like it exhausted them. One evening we were all at one of my friends' houses and they invited 3 or 4 older guys from a different high school round because.. well.. they thought it would be fun I guess. They locked me in a small bedroom with this 16/17 year old guy I'd just met and shouted through the door they weren't going to let me out until I'd snogged him. I just remember staring at this strange man and his facial hair and feeling empty and a little scared. He pulled me onto his knee and whispered things into my ear. He tried about 4 times to kiss me which I dodged and told him no. He asked me why? I didn't have a better answer than 'I don't want to'. I asked my friends to let me out and they wouldn't. I laughed like it was funny but I felt scared, and weak, and childish. I felt that I should just do it and get it over with but I just couldn't talk myself into it. In the end, I pecked him once on the lips. I told him that was all it was going to be. He stood up, walked to the door and asked to be let out. The door opened and it felt wonderful to be free, that it was over. The guys left almost straight away and I felt that I'd let everyone down.
I was outside of a hippie grocery store that I frequented in college when I got a text message: “You gave me an STD”. I literally thought my heart stopped for a second as I pulled away from my group of friends to stare at my cellphone. It was like time froze and then was let go with a million thoughts, fears and questions in my mind. My ex-boyfriend and I hadn’t talked in awhile after a particularly rocky breakup. I didn’t answer him and I didn’t say anything because I started to feel scared in my own body. What does that mean? How did I just give him something? Is it true? Out of anger I shot him a text message being like “What the hell are you talking about and how dare you say that to me”. I needed to go home. As soon as I got back to my apartment that I shared with two close girlfriends I erupted into tears. I told my roommate who assured me it wasn’t true. That he was crazy. I went outside and stood under a tree and called him up.
“Hello?” “What do you mean by-“ “I tested positive” “For what?” “It doesn’t matter” “Of course, it matters. I need to get tested, I need to-“ “It’s not life threatening…but it’s not curable” he said. He still had this sharpness in his voice.
After a long roundabout conversation he told me he has herpes. And he was pretty sure it was from me because the girl he is currently sleeping with doesn’t have it. The next day I went to Planned Parenthood. After anxiety provoking hour of waiting, filling out forms and doing tests, a kind and gentle doctor listened to my story. She told me “this guy sounds like an asshole. Don’t talk to him” She asked me if I had any signs of herpes and I said no. With that she said she couldn’t do any testing on me since there was nothing to test but if I ever saw something I should come back. A year went by and my ex finally mentioned to me that his ex-girlfriend did have herpes. Whatever way it happened didn’t matter, it was more of this idea of being spoken to the way he did…in a careless and accusing tone. It made me feel like something was wrong with me. Thank god for Planned Parenthood.