New in Women’s Health: How to Tell Someone You Have an STD

disclosure-tipsIf I had a dollar for every time someone asked me in the past two months how to disclose being herpes+ to their partner, I would have enough money to cover my cell phone bill this month (and I use a LOT of data). I hate to break it to you but there is no magic script, no sheer fire way to dodge rejection while still being an honest boss ass bitch. That being said, I wrote my first ever ~listicle~ for Women’s Health: 10 Tips to Drop The Herpes Bomb, or, to be all heteronormative about it, How to Tell a Guy You Have an STD—from Someone Who’s Done It.

That headline makes me sound super brave. Like I rescued a baby from a burning building or something instead of being like hey do you wanna fuck despite me having this pretty chill virus. Anyway. Being a freelance writer is weird.

On the other hand, this is probably the best pull quote graphic of all time.


Here’s one of my favorites:

6. Don’t Apologize
At no point should you say, “I’m so sorry, but I have something to tell you.” If you frame your STD as something you are ashamed of, it makes it a bigger deal to your partner than it necessarily has to be. Your partner will mirror however you feel about your STD. If you’re a confident, smiling charmer who graciously shares information, they’ll be more at ease and in a better frame of mind to process what you’ve said. If you’re visibly stressing out, they will be on-edge, too. I like to deliver my herpes announcement with a smirk and a joke about what a boost it’s been to my career.

Besides, as long as you do not wait until after you have had sex with someone to tell them that you have an STD, there is literally no reason for you to apologize. Having an STD is a part of your life, but it does not define you. You have not misled your partner by not sharing your status along with your name and phone number. It is also not an unfair burden to ask someone to date you despite your having an STD. Everyone brings challenges to a relationship, whether it’s difficult parents or a fear of commitment. You happen to have a virus living in your body. Chances are it’ll impact the relationship less than someone’s inability to text you back within a reasonable window of time.

Read the rest of the article on Women’s Health! 

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Ella Dawson is a sex and culture critic and a digital strategist. She drinks too much Diet Coke.

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