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Savage Love | Risky Business Page 2

By Dan Savage
Posted // December 26,2007 -
 
I’m a 20-something female and I’ve had a fair number of partners. My boyfriend of two years has only ever slept with me. Recently, we opened up our relationship because I have a much higher sex drive. It was good—I was happy; the boy wasn’t jealous. And then something happened. Well, I caused something to happen.
 
My boyfriend now has herpes. Obviously I’ve got it, too, even if I’m not showing any symptoms. We didn’t prepare emotionally for the potential consequences of my actions. So here we are. He’s angry with me for putting him in danger and I feel like getting hit by a bus. We know herpes is not so bad. We also know that these feelings of guilt, anger, and disgust will fade, but how do we get to that point? —Hating Every Revolting Pestilent Execrable Second
 
You agreed as a couple to open your relationship up, HERPES, which makes him 50 percent responsible for the “danger” he was in. And if you neglected to talk through the potential negative consequences of an open relationship, HERPES, then you failed to do your due diligence—you both failed.
 
So what do you do now? After giving each other a little time and space, HERPES, you ought to invest a little dough in a sex-positive couples’ counselor. Find someone who can skillfully facilitate a couple of conversations about your relationship. One topic you might want to touch on: You could have picked the virus up from one of the partners you had before you met your current boyfriend.
 
As for the disease itself, you’re right: It’s not that bad. There are two herpes viruses: type 1 (HSV-1) and type 2 (HSV-2). They’re both relatively easy to catch and they can both infect the mouth area or the genital area. It’s estimated that 80 percent of adults have HSV-1 and 25 percent of adults have HSV-2. And most infected people don’t know they have herpes because they’ve either never had an outbreak or their one-and-only outbreak was so mild they didn’t notice it.
 
It sucks to have herpes, primarily due to the irrational fears of other people—people who may, for all they know, already have herpes themselves. But it’s not the end of the world, or the end of your sex life, and it doesn’t have to be the end of your relationship.
 
I’m a bisexual girl. My boyfriend feels that I can “be all things” to him and fulfill him completely, but he can’t do the same for me. I truly feel that, over the long term, I would never be with a girl. I would always long for that masculine/feminine balance. I feel that although girls are lovely and sweet, a girl just wouldn’t make me feel the ways a boy does, and that I need what a boy offers more.
 
What can I do to make him see that he fulfills me in every way? We have discussed it endlessly, but his worries and insecurities won’t budge. —Sad Girl
 
Of course he’ll never fulfill you completely, SG, just as you’ll never fulfill him completely. No one person can “be all things” to another person, and pretending otherwise can place a terrible strain on an otherwise serviceable relationship. The most we can hope for is finding someone who comes close enough, SG, someone we can round up to “complete fulfillment” status with a straight face, someone who can do the same for us.
 
So your boyfriend is either being naive with this “you can be all things to me, I can’t be all things to you” crap or—and this seems more likely—he’s being a fuckstick. Ask yourself this, SG: What does your boyfriend get by extending this conversation endlessly? Here’s what: By pretending to feel insecure, your boyfriend gets a girlfriend who actually feels insecure. He gets a girlfriend who feels like she’s always on probation, a girlfriend who is always at an emotional disadvantage. And then he gets to point to your one flaw—your bisexuality—as an excuse to never wholly commit to you.
 
You do realize, SG, that your bisexuality is not a flaw—far from it—and that there are tons of boys out there who would be ecfuckingstatic to trade places with your boyfriend. You might wanna let one.
 
Download Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at TheStranger.com/Savage.Contact: Mail@savagelove.net
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