“I have HSV 1 - I acquired this from my parents, either from sharing drinking glasses, or kissing mouths, much like many of us who get “cold sores”. My first memorable cold sore, aka herpes outbreak was on my mouth when I was in elementary school. I was so embarrassed about the little pink crusty bump on my bottom lower lip, that I tried to cover it with my hand as if I was nibbling my fingernails all day - but the crossing guard noticed my odd hand placement before I even made it in the door; “Whatcha thinkin’ about, little lady?” There’s no way to completely hide the reality that bodies experience the world in many ways, not all of them always feeling attractive and desirable.
I remembering learning that chicken pox and herpes were related - why is it “normal” for kids to go through a chicken pox illness, but we shame the shit out of adults who have their first outbreak of herpes? I take Lysine supplements to avoid oral outbreaks, and I do not kiss, share makeup, drinking glasses, or utensils with folks when I have a cold sore. It’s easy as pie, and I love telling people, “I have oral herpes and get cold sores, are you okay with sharing, or do you get them too?” It was in this way that I met a recent lover; she joked “We both have HSV so we can make out.” My ears perked up, because people ARE learning how to talk about these things and find pleasure with peers. And that makes me feel way better in my body. “