SL Letter of the Day: The Birthday Girl

Comments

1
Dan is spot on. An 18-year-old from America is very likely to not have had comprehensive sex ed in high school, and TBG should have been extra careful to make sure they were on the same page, wrt names and risks and routes of transmission.
2
You're both barebacking strangers. You both have bigger things to worry about than HSV1.
3
What a despicable cunt!
4
HAHAHAHAHA

Ain't Life in Gommorah just Grand?
5
I know this is a brand-new letter. But I hope you don't mind if I just re-run my slog comment from last week:

With all the generational change, and new dilemmas created by new media, it's a relief to me that 18-year old guys are still so horny that they stick their dicks places that they regret 5 minutes after shooting.
6
@3. Took the words out of my mouth. I don't like throwing that word around, but what a fucking selfish cunt.
7
Great response. Really top form.
8
The odds of a man getting herpes from unprotected sex with an infected women who isn't having an outbreak and is on suppressive therapy is 2% - if they fuck twice a year for an entire year.

Given that these two fucked just once without a condom, the odds for him are .02%, or 1/5000.

The kid doesn't have herpes.
9
Oops, should be "if they fuck twice a week for an entire year."
10
Love the fact that the way she ends the letter is "I really want to keep screwing this boy when I feel like it, so how can you help me make that happen, but nothing more because clearly he's not relationship material." She's just full of class from start to finish.

11
"That was unsafe of us." Yeah, what a shame only one of you knew it. "Why would you say, "Well I have herpes" if you'd already told him that? Because you hadn't. I think you knew damn well what you were doing. What a manipulative twat. Too bad he wasn't a year younger, he could press charges.
12
@8, or, she's lying about not having an outbreak/using suppressive therapy.
And now he does have herpes.
13
@8: While it's very likely he doesn't have it (and he should go get his idiot ass tested rather than guess if every itch is A Sign), that's the difference between "lowers the chance of transmission" and "makes the chance of transmission literally zero."

The one time could be more like half a dozen if they went with condom-at-the-last-second sex. But even if it was just the one time: it is possible. When people catch any STD, it was not the cumulative exposure that did them in but that one really unlucky time.
14
I'm a bit bothered by the level of rage against the letter-writer in some of these comments.

Any sexually experienced woman who gives hands-on (pussy-on) sexual education to an 18-yr old is doing public service.

So she was not 100% issue free. Neither is any person. If we were to limit the women we allow to service 18-yr-old guys to only those without any issues, there would be one woman for every ten thousand horny teens dudes.

So this guy got his first STD scare, from a person who informed him. He also got the pussy. Give him a few weeks to educated himself, and if he did not get herpes, he will get horny enough to come back for boomerang pussy. Because, franky, 18-yr old guys are so horny, electric barbed wire would not prevent them from trying to stick their dicks in there.

Yeah, the letter-writer fucked up. But measure it on a curve people. She gets a B+. She handled it better than 85% of humanity would have.
15
LW, Dan was very gentle with you. You did a horrible thing. Even if you didn't give him herpes (herpes! not cold sores on your genitals) you still did a horrible thing. You're selfish and shortsighted and apparently unwilling to take responsibility for your actions. Yuck.
16
She tried to be cheeky and indirect about her STI as a means of not desexualizing herself or the situation. She knew what she was doing and it backfired because the kid couldn't read between the lines. Hopefully going forward, she will have the good sense to state outright "I have herpes" prior to any sexual contact whatsoever.

And because of her misdirection, he will hopefully do the same.
17
@14. I'd hate to see what one has to do to earn an F on your scale.

18
Um, I'd like to add that "I'm clean, I get tested regularly" is not the most reliable statement from an 18-yr-old guy who wants to fuck you without a condom. Moreover, LW, ass sex without a condom puts *you* at a high risk for getting anything he might be carrying, since even with lube the skin in the anus tends to tear a little during sex. Receptive anal sex without a condom is the least safe sex ever - the bottom is risking way more than the top.

So you may have mislead him as to your HSV status, LW, but he shouldn't have pressured you to engage in sex that put you at risk to pick up anything he might have had (not to mention the possibility of come dripping from your ass to your vaj and knocking you up. It happens.)

So you're about even, the way I see it.
19
@17, I dunno, maybe give him crystal meth? You know, like half the middle aged circuit-fags in LA try to push on 18-year old twinks?

Maybe call him up a month later announcing she was pregnant and suing him for paternity?

Maybe not bother to tell him about the herpes at all, before or after, like 90% of people with herpes?
20
@14: B+ is way too generous. Being 28 does not make her automatically good at sex, and it clearly made her crap at disclosing. ("I get cold sores, but don't worry I'm on treatment" ≠ "I have herpes" for most listeners. Or she would state she has herpes without the cutesy locomotions.) I would catch it, but I'm simultaneously old and well-read and not on the verge of having sex with her: she phrases it that way in the hopes of actually getting sex.

(There was an earlier linked piece by someone with herpes who liked to disclose just before penetration. Comment discussion generally agreed that this was a terrible time and chosen to make a 'no' very unlikely and terribly awkward if delivered. Successful HSV+ commenters usually cited e-mail as a good way to get the info out without the 'so: sex now right?' pressure, time for the person to read up, etc.)

The camp site rule has four parts: one does not apply to her male partner, and she appears to have failed on two of the remaining three with the third unknown. That is not a B+. Part of the appeal of 18 year olds is their willingness to go along with what a more confident and experienced partner suggests they should do, thus the whole existence of a campsite rule. "I like 'em malleable" is not at terribly attractive trait in those angling after the barely legal.
21
omg, she had HERPES. this woman is my worst nightmare.
22
@8: I sincerely doubt you're quoting the odds from unprotected anal sex.
23
This LW is the biggest MORON I have seen in quite some time. Fell in love with an 18 yo boy?? Whatthefuckever.
24
Also too: If his symptoms are not just paranoia they could be something besides herpes. It's not like HSV casts a magical shield over the person and all partners protecting them from everything else. (It could also come from someone not her, depending on his history.) Could be HPV, or even a basic yeast infection. Which yes, men can get, usually if their partner has an asymptomatic one.
25
Make no mistake, the Birthday Girl sucks but anybody having (or, in this case, damn near insisting on) unprotected sex with a stranger has to take some responsibility here. We're all naïve at 18 but 'use a condom or your dick might fall off' was a lesson drilled into me well before I ever got laid. That said, the Birthday Girl SUCKS.
26
We're all just gonna pretend that a man who point blank turns down a pointed reminder to wear a condom so he can fuck a woman in the ass doesn't know what he's doing are we?

Please, an 18 year old (especially one who takes drugs, has already used condoms twice during the session and then goes for anal sex) knows they're supposed to wear a condom, and he chose a bit more sensation and social transgression over safety.

Not that it changes the fact that Dan is spot on about "cold sores" being a deceptive euphemism for herpes, but let's not pretend both parties can't shoulder some of the responsibility here.
27
What? Wait!

Danny told Bristol Palin
that condomless anal sex was 100% FOOLPROOF and SAFE.

so why is he ragging on LW?
28
@27: http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archive…

Lying is very unChristian. Not that you ever were the one you claim to be, of course.
29
Sometimes a herpes outbreak is not as obvious as the horrific, worst-case scenario, STI images you may have been subjected to. I had oral HSV1 for years without knowing it, because I didn't catch it sexually and I never had anything that looked like a cold sore. I got chapped lips that got flaky a little outside my lip area once or twice. It took a doctor seeing me when I was having an outbreak to inform me that a herpes outbreak doesn't always look like cold sores, after I had unknowingly passed it on to a partner. NO idea I even had it, and I'd been asking for the full range of STI tests every year since I'd been sexually active. They don't give you this test unless you ask for it, typically, and even then they may be hesitant. So, I would not be surprised if a lot of people are unaware of their herpes outbreaks, including this woman.

The kid was probably going to get HSV anyway, though. Not that the LW is absolved of any fault. Of all the things he could have caught from a partner at 18 for making a stupid mistake, this isn't that bad. Hopefully, he will learn his lesson, learn a bunch more about STIs, and be safer and more informed in the future. LW was still foolish, but everybody makes stupid, stupid mistakes when they're horny and/or ill-informed. And let's not forget that it was probably all that pre-penetration dick poking that transmitted the virus, not the lack of a condom (though that was a dumb move too).
30
Um, shouldn't she tell him to go get checked as well?
31
The kid didn't just have unprotected anal sex with an older, more sexually experienced partner, he insisted on it. According to her account, he initiated condom-free sex without asking, turned down the offer of a condom, and proceeded without compunction.

Yes, she should have tried harder to dissuade him from unprotected sex. But not only was he old enough to know that sticking one's unprotected penis in somebody's orifices has consequences, he was old enough to be legally responsible for where he puts his dick. If herpes is the worst consequence he experiences from his bad habit of initiating unsafe sex with acquaintances, he'll be getting off easy. So to speak.
32
Yeah, sorry, but I'm with @25, @8, and @13. An 18 year old should know enough to "use a condom or your dick might fall off", he needs to get his paranoid ass tested and acknowledge that he played with fire and he got burned. Yes yes, what Dan said too. But let's not hold the horny 18-year old blameless, especially when she prompted him, and seriously, she's more at risk of getting something than he is.
33
"Any sexually experienced woman who gives hands-on (pussy-on) sexual education to an 18-yr old is doing public service."

ooh! i did this for a couple of lads when i lived in england. followed the campsite rules and left them better than i found them. they were very sweet and good students. can't say the same for the one american boy i 'tutored'. he was a product of christian education and was having second thoughts. a blowjob calmed him down.
34
@27: It's like Fox News gone drunk and dull and sad every time you post.
@26 and @29: That's exactly what I was saying. I was clueless at 18, but not so in the ether that I didn't know were babies and STIs came from. She's an asshole, but he's a moron.
35
Oops, I meant @31, not @29
36
I think Dan is right on with his response, but most of the commenters are being a bit harsh.

Sure, her disclosure sucked, but it was better than no disclosure.

Also, the 18 year old boy deserves some blame for deciding to stop using a condom. Yeah, she should have insisted, and with her knowledge and experience more of the blame falls on her... but not all of it.

No need to carry the guilt of ruining a life or something, but she needs to apologize, move on, and stop fucking 18 year olds.
37
I hope she's getting checked too. Any rando who's fucking you without a condom is also fucking others without a condom. As a person who already has one STI, you're extra susceptible to catching another, bigger, badder virus.
38
I have to join the camp saying some of the comments are too harsh.

Dan is right to call her out for giving a half-assed disclosure that the 18 year old didn't understand. (And in this age of abstinence-only sex-ed, a LOT of 18 year olds are pretty clueless.)

But if the worst thing she did was give him HSV, that does not make her a horrible person. A little negligent, yes. Pol Pot? No.

And he should at least get tested. He may be freaking out over nothing if he doesn't actually have HSV after all.
39
Also, this isn't about HSV, and the bigness/littleness of it as an STI. We don't get to decide for this kid what the impact of it is on him.

Also, it's kind of surprising to hear people victim blaming. He made a dumb mistake, like everyone else who's ever been 18 has.

The fact is that MOST young people don't use condoms consistently, and that doesn't mean they deserve an STI. If you have something, and you knowingly expose someone, without being 100% sure that they know and completely understand the risks, you're an asshole. I wouldn't do so with anyone less than a long term, serious partner, personally.

Let's not equate minimizing the stigma of having an STI with going easy on people who transmit them. Especially older people who transmit them to clueless 18 year olds, when they damn well know better.
40
Also, can you imagine that convo? "I think you gave me an STI, and I feel really misled and I'm freaking out." "Herpes (a word I have carefully avoided until after your exposure) is no big deal, and you should have known better. You probably don't have it anyway."
41
Dan's final advice is the best - "Do better in the future"

As someone who gets to deal with HSV2, most of my grief about it is my _own_ hangups due to how _I_ reacted (badly) to the gold-plated ladies in my life who disclosed it to me.

I don't remember the statistics offhand, but when I was frantically researching it once infected, it was something like 3 out of 5 or 4 out of 5 women (and I think people generally) with herpes don't even know it. It feels like a really annoying yeast infection, and it's not part of "standard" STI screens - you have to ask for it specifically or be presenting symptoms.

I'm pretty sure I caught it from someone who didn't know they had it, and we actually had a perfect condom record any time we had sex for pregnancy reasons.

Although I've been very straightforward about it with potential partners, it hasn't much screwed anything up with anybody I should have been having sex with in the first place. My fiancee knows the risks, takes the risks (with continued disclosure of "hey, not a good weekend"), and has so far remained HSV-free as far as we can tell over 5 years.

But the central fact is, even with condoms, chances are the sore/transmission point _isn't_ covered (think about the mechanics a bit - the sores aren't generally on someone's cervix or deep in someone's ass or they wouldn't notice - same as right on the head of someone's cock - right there, it's got a man's attention). You can rub up against it before you think you should have a condom on, in something you're fooling yourself into thinking is "pre-sex, pre-condom". Or you can put a condom on, fuck away, and still come in great contact.

My "cold sore" is right on the base of my dick by my pelvis. I expect many if not most women with herpes have them on their outer vulva (or for those with other preferences, other sphincters) _if_ they even know for sure it's herpes.

Condoms are great at any number of diseases. Herpes ain't among the better defenses it gives.

Good disclosure before first sex (oral! HSV1 didn't get to genitals by accident - it's mostly prevalent as oral cold sores) should be a gold standard.

But, frankly, anybody having adult sex with other adults ought to put it in the "risks to be avoided when possible/limited as much as possible for partners" category. If you're having sex with several partners, more of them have it but don't know than have it and do know.
42
They are both idiots, and they both dodged a bullet. Take a deep breath, be thankful for your fun, and move on with your lives. Falling hard and intense for horny young 18 year olds is not good for you. Having him be mad at you know will spare you the larger train wreck to come as you two fuck each other stupid while being in very different places in life.
43
*now ... sorry
44
As soon as I saw "I get cold sores" I thought, Coward! She screwed up by pussyfooting around the issue and letting him fuck her bareback. He screwed up by fucking her bareback and not asking "what does cold sores mean?"

They both wanted to get laid and ignored what they should have done. I think they're both dumb as shit.
45
Wait wait wait, since when does "cold sores" =/= "herpes"? I went to high school in the last decade, had abstinence-only sex ed and I was still taught that. Gonna be honest, I think this is mostly the 18-year-old's fault.
46
Sorry @14 and Dan. This women is a sleaze bag. I don't agree that she is "teaching," she is using. An age difference, even a big one, is no big deal as long as both partners have the maturity to deal with it. Neither of these people have that maturity. She definitely didn't leave this "campsite" better off.
47
Dan,

I've listened twice to the very fine doctor from Planned Parenthood on the Lovecast talk about how not a big deal herpes is, and it's really only an issue for women who are pregnant or might become pregnant. That covers a significant percentage of women, so why again is HSV not a big deal?
48
I dunno. That 18 year old guy sounds like a whinny little shit. Got paid a trip to Chicago, drugs, sex. But now he's got herpes because he's an under-educated immature moron. You live; you learn. Read a fucking book.
49
@13: Something like 1 in 9 men have herpes, so they're definitely getting it somehow. I'd speculate a lot of transmission is among younger people who don't know they have it because their outbreaks are so mild.

@22: A very good point, although odds are that at least some of the couples in the studies backing those stats included anal in their sexual repertoire.

And I'd like to change my answer @8 - the kid may have herpes, but if he does, it's highly unlikely he got it from LW.

50
I think they were a pair of dumbasses, and people are being a little harsh on the LW. Drunk/drugged heat-of-the-moment bareback ass-fucking that two adults discussed beforehand and both obviously wanted. Bad idea? Yes. Evil? No.
51
Great story. My favorite part was when he fucked her in the ass.
52
@49 1/9? Try 1/3. 33% of people are seropositive for HSV2. 66% for HSV1. 50% for EBV (mono, also caused by a herpes virus).

These are diseases that are easily transmitted and highly prevalent. If you don't know about them, you shouldn't be having sex. If you don't know a cold sore is caused by herpes virus, you are not ready to have sex. If you are planning on kissing more than 3 people in your life, you should know that the risk of exposure is high.

The woman disclosed. Yeah, she used "cold sore" instead of "herpes". We're allowed to use euphemisms for touchy subjects on things that are the a responsible sexually active adult should know.

It was a bad idea all around. But both of them share the blame equally for whatever happens so no one is the bad guy, just two people making a mistake. Whatever happens to each is on each of them.

He got lucky he was fucking a woman that obviously gets checked out (so she's unlikely to have other STIs) and that was taken suppressive medication for the one that she did have. If she had herpes, didn't know, wasn't on suppressive therapy, and infected him people would consider her as not bad because she didn't know.
54
@53: He was bound to get herpes or worse

He may already have had it, especially if he's the kind of lover boy that compels a 28-year old woman to fly him up for a weekend of MDMA and fucking.

He should get tested, and if the test comes back HSV2, he knows he didn't get it from her. And wouldn't that be ironic? All this hand wringing from LW and turns out he exposed her to HSV2.

55
They both get the STDs they deserve.
56
@54 so it's like the gift of the Magi, only with horny stupid people.
57
@51 for the win
58
I don't know former tri-state. It was your answer @56 that made me spit tea all over my keyboard. That might have to be the win. Also, that might have ruined The Gift of the Magi for me forever. Worth it.
59
Tough on the kid. He's young, but he's an adult; he's 18 and he's flying across the country to do a mess of drugs and screw a woman he's known just for a little while. He pulls off his condom to bang her in the rear. You think this is his first time? You think he doesn't insist on barebacking with girls younger than him? He's already spread some STDs himself, and anything he got from the LW he was going to get soon enough anyway.
60
@39 "Victim blaming?"

Trolololol 2/10

Kid's not a victim. He's just dumb at best. And he's as culpable as the woman if not moreso. I'm sorry people. I don't buy Dan's assertion that most adults don't know that cold sores = herpes. Herpes is such and ugly sounding word. HSV is even worse. Cold sores actually is the least offensive sounding to me.

However, that's not to completely absolve the Birthday Girl. She should have informed BEFORE, or as, she offered the trip. And when you're high on whatever illicits they were high on, your judgement su-ucks. But, he's as culpable as she was in having unprotected sex, if not more so. As they say in law, ignorance is not a valid defense. Victim blaming indeed.
61
"X was a moron, but that absolves Y for none of their wrongdoing".

Works for domestic violence. Works for sexual assault. And it works for having an STI.
62
39

actually, young folk, or anyone else, who has unprotected promiscuous sex will get STDs, WILL get STDs; because they are engaging in behavior that inevitably leads to STDs.
so, yes, they do "deserve" to get those STDs.
if that seems unfair please take it up with Darwin.
because STDs are nature's way of weeding defective material out of the gene pool.
63
28

Thanks for the link.

There was also the teen girl whose BF didn't like using a condom, Danny suggested anal.

WTF?
64
25, 26 et al: Had the 18 year old written in, we'd be telling him he was a dumbass. That if he wants to be treated like an adult, able to make adult decisions about sex, it's up to him to be on the alert for lines like "cold sore" and know what they mean. That the simple rule is Don't Bareback Randoms, full stop, and he was an idiot. That the transmission risk of a partner who knows she carries HSV and discloses in vague aphorisms or doesn't disclose or doesn't know she carries is exactly the same.

But he didn't write in, so she gets the advice. Especially when she's talking about following the campsite rule (fail!) and how can she get him to not think an incurable STD is any sort of big deal so he'll come have more no strings sex weekends with her, cause it was hot and now he doesn't want to play any more frowny face.

I'm big on 18 and over acting like adults, in terms of responsibility for their actions. But 18, barely adult, is a transitional time, and people a decade older who look to this demographic do throw up a lot of "I just love the way they don't argue and aren't comfortable enough to push back" flags for other adults.
65
@64 re dumbass: I see that you agree with @61

This FTW, thricefold:
I'm big on 18 and over acting like adults, in terms of responsibility for their actions. But 18, barely adult, is a transitional time, and people a decade older who look to this demographic do throw up a lot of "I just love the way they don't argue and aren't comfortable enough to push back" flags for other adults.
A twenty-eight year old man who cruised an 18 year old girl, bought her a flight to a cool city, and the gave her drugs before he agreed to bang her with his diseased dick and without a condom would be instantly called a predator. It's obvious that the LW is trying to tee-hee-I'm-just-a-fun-girl-! her way out of this one. Me, I've always leaned to the notion that wrongdoing doesn't come in pink for girls and blue for boys, so I think she's slime.
66
Yes. LW is a bad person. A selfish, bad person who took advantage of the naivete and lust of a barely adult young man. The campfire rule is good rule and she completely ignored it.

That was her question, and that is the answer.

Some of you want to answer a different question (how could he have prevented this/did he act wisely) and some of you seem to think the campfire rule is an unnecessary or wrong. It's not. And this case is why.

And LW: You "tried" to tell him? Even Yoda calls bullshit on that.
67
@61 1/10

Transmission of an STI != domestic violence or sexual assault.

Terrible conflation. Try again.
68
The HSV series is one of the most communicable "STD's" if you ever are to have sex with anyone. Let me put it this way, if you ever have sex without a condom without someone who's given you a recent blood test you put yourself at risk for it. With modern medicine it's one of the least problems if you even have problems with it, doctors don't even test for it anymore unless you ask and/or present symptoms. The only reason I know I "had (exposed is the better word)" HVS2 is that my body produces the anti-bodies of HSV2. I've never had a sore. I've been with a partner of over 2 years who's HSV negative. It's likely to stay that way in my opinion and in the opinion of every doctor I've talked to. In fact my doctor even mentioned that unless something's a sore on or near my penis there's 0 reason to disclose such information as the social stigma far exceeds anything HSV2 can do to my body. There's some ethics here, but you know what, it's not going to kill me, and it's not going to be the end of the world. Plenty of people will still fuck you, and the prudes who won't are ignorant and have made a decision that feels comfortable to them. If they're more than a one night stand you have every obligation to disclose, but if you met someone and you're using a condom, my doctor basically laughs at the idea that you could transmit anything, just stop having sex if you have any cuts around your junk.
69
@65 5/10

Better. But, in your scenario, you have the carrier of the disease being the one who actively took the condom off. In LW's scenario, the receiver of the disease is the one who took the condom off.

Also, I know a few girls who willingly were taken on trips by older men for sex and fun. I didn't think Predator. Neither did they.
70
@67 - Unprotected sex when you know you have an STI is a sexual assault where the other party hasn't consented to it, and I think it's clear here that there really isn't a genuine consent. (Funny, isn't it, how "informed consent, clearly expressed", the centrepoint of so many campus rape awareness programs goes out the fucking window as irrelevant when we're talking about a male victim and a female perpetrator, even where he may have a disease he'll carry for life. Being alive to privileged gender assumptions is supposed to be, ideally, a two-way street and there's a shit-ton of 'em here.) It is in law in many jurisdictions (including Canada, although the SCC recently very badly muddied the waters) and it is certainly morally equivalent to same. And this goes fourfold for where the non-infected partner is on a recreational drug.
71
One of the things that never ceases to amaze me is that conservatives are very often too goddamned eager by half to affix personal responsibility in cases where it doesn't apply, and liberals are very often too goddamned eager by half to absolve from personal responsibility where it does apply. Weird, that.
72
I should be clear. Do I think that THIS LW is guilty of a sexual assault? I'm not sure I'd get past reasonable doubt for the reasons @69 and for the reason that while her disclosure was half-assed and arguably deceitful it was disclosure, and perhaps enough to keep her out of an orange jumpsuit.

Let me put it this way: if I were a judge sitting in criminal court, I'd acquit. If I were a judge in civil court I'd find for the plaintiff 18 year old, but find him contributorily negligent. The proportion would depend on what drugs, how much, and who provided them. If he arrives with his own stash, more responsibility for him. If she gave them to him, more responsibility for her.

That said, acquittal or civil judgment aside I think she's a scumbag for the reason noted by IPJ: she knew that somebody else might not have been so easily softsoaped on the herpes thing and might also have had more capacity to listen to more than his dick.
73
Also, I know a few girls who willingly were taken on trips by older men for sex and fun. I didn't think Predator. Neither did they.
Did they give 'em drugs and a social disease wrapped up in deceit? If so, inapplicable examples.
74
@Seeker you certainly seem to have a fixation for shaming the older person in an adult relationship. 18 is an adult. Woman or man. If I knew an 18 year old gay dude who caught an STI from some random hookup because the 18 year old decided not to use a condom, I'd be telling the 18 year old he was a fucking idiot. Yes, I'm sorry you caught something...next time use a condom.

Were you given an STI once by somebody who insisted on barebacking? Maybe it was an older person? Is that why you seem so intent on shaming the LW?
75
(Sighs) Why does it always go ad hominem? No, I don't/didn't have an STI, nor do I have anything against older/younger romances. (Got a few of 'em in my past where I was the younger man.) And I'm pretty sure I'm on record here as being in favour of people getting what sex they want, from whoever they want, as much as they want, subject to the four Nevers: Never kids, Never Animals, Never without consent and Never do it in the streets and frighten the horses.

I just also think that giving people social diseases when you were in a position to avoid giving one to them is deeply morally wrong. I think that lying or deceiving about it is deeply morally wrong. I think that sometimes, depending on the facts and the context, that moral wrong can also be a criminal wrong. (And it did drive me nuts on the SCC/HIV thread where people just blew off giving people a potentially fatal disease as a-okay, because, hey, um condoms um freedom um getting laid is more important than infecting innocent people.)

I was also 28 once, and 18 once, I know that there was a considerable amount of difference in life experience, judgment and self-awareness. There's a reason why armies do their damnedest to recruit eighteen year olds to go out and get killed, TheMisanthrope, and it's this: it is enormously easy to get eighteen year olds to do stupid things that are against their health or best interest.

Is he an adult? Yup. Does he legally and morally own his own actions? Yup. Does that make the LW any less of a scumbag? Nope. Did she clearly tell him she had herpes? No, she dissimulated and other commenters here called her on it. Did she say "no" to barebacking when she knew damned well that the kid was about to stick it into an infected person? Nope. Here's the thing: the fact that somebody else is a fucking idiot does not absolve us of legal or moral responsibility for our own acts. It amazes me that the simple and inarguable reality of "my right to swing my fist ends where your nose begins" tends to escape a lot of supposedly enlightened people.
76
seeker6079, calm down a bit.

What kind of desperate 28 year old needs to import her 18 year fuck buddies?

What kind of desperate 18 year old feels compelled to accept money and travel to fuck a 28 year old?

Well, obviously the same dumb shits that will bare back when one of them is being ambiguous about her cleanliness.

Also the same dumb 28 year that gets all but hurt when the 18 year doesn't want to talk to her anymore over an STD, or so he says ... You know, it might not be the STD that's getting him down. Maybe he just doesn't want to fuck her or associate with her again. He's 18, and he just got off, and the other what do we when we aren't fucking part of his brain lit up. At best he may not want to want to lead a woman ten years his senior on, at worst he's a self centered kid who's onto the next thing, but he didn't write the letter.

I think the forcefully imposing of STD thing is overblown and irrelevant in this case
77
@54: "He may already have had it, especially if he's the kind of lover boy that compels a 28-year old woman to fly him up for a weekend of MDMA and fucking."

Yeah, definitely possible if he does the bareback thing regularly with first-time encounters.
78
@75 I am on the record above saying that I think saying "cold sores" is perfectly acceptable disclosure. It's why we have various other nicknames for other diseases. If you have HIV, its perfectly acceptable to say "I'm poz" without following up with "do you understand what that means?" It's perfectly acceptable to say "I've got the clap" for gonorrhea. Why does one HAVE to say the word herpes? We've got nicks and euphemisms for almost everything else. Clinical disclosure isn't necessary, but actual disclosure is. Saying "I have cold sores" told me, when I was 18 "ooo...herpes."

And, as for being fucked without a condom. It takes two to tango. It's not like he didn't know he was barebacking somebody. It's not like he was all "OMG, she didn't put the condom on me!" Hell, it's not even that she purred "Forget the condom, stud, and stick your bare cock in me." If the latter had happened, yes...she would be completely at fault.

I think you're all too ready to dismiss the responsibility of the 18 year old adult, and way to eager to shame the woman, which is why it seems so personal.
79
@78: "I am on the record above saying that I think saying "cold sores" is perfectly acceptable disclosure. It's why we have various other nicknames for other diseases"

Until everybody understands what a "cold sore" and what a "canker sore" are, and stop conflating the two, it's not good enough. Too many people are dumbshits about confusing them.
80
@78. Fair enough, fair enough. I may be riding too much not on this thread but on the SCC/HIV thread where people were too goddamned blase by half about infecting people. Being sexually free and liberal does not give one an asshole license, which a lot of people seemed to feel it did and didn't like being called out on it. It's also more than a bit weird to me because Savage Love folks are all about the importance of informed consent and clear guidelines and rules ... but many are all to eager to give a pass on exactly that in disease transmission cases. That baffles me, because the moral onus goes up, not down, in such cases.
81
TBG is not blameless. Most people are seriously uneducated about herpes. Especially 18 year old boys and girls. She should have asked a few follow up questions to make sure he understood. Condom use and antivials do not cut transmission to zero, but from a woman to a man it does cut it down to .05% if she is not having an outbreak. It doesn't mean that kid couldn't be the unlucky one, but in perspective, probably not.
HSV1 is the virus that causes cold sores. Period, no matter where it is located. If she had a cold sore on her lip and kissed him and he got HSV1, he would have a cold sore! If she had a cold sore on her lip and went down on him and he got HSV1, he would have a cold sore. The DNA did not change because hsv1 is on her pussy. I agree that most people might not get that because STI shaming and "good" herpes and "bad" herpes drivel tell people that anything on your genitals is automatically WAY WAY worse. But medically, that is not true. Not even a little bit. If we actually educated our children in a way that was not sex shaming then perhaps 30% of newly diagnosed genital herpes wouldn't be from "cold sores".
So while I agree the disclosure was not a good one; medically, it was accurate. I don't think society can have it both ways. If we continue to teach people that an STI on your lip is a cold sore, but when the EXACT SAME STI is on your genitals it's OMG IT'S THE END OF THE FUCKING WORLD; then this is gonna continue to happen.
82
@79: I'd like to see the stats on a good survey where people were asked "are cold sores and genital herpes different things?". I'd wager a fair bit that a majority of people would say "yes", including the LW ... which is, I feel, why she said it.
83
@misanthrope: If you don't recognize a difference in maturity and decision making between an 18 year old and a twenty-eight year old, you are ignoring reality. If you think that she didn't have both the power and the duty in this scenario, you are ignoring reality. Dan believes in the campfire rule. Seeker and I do too. You apparently don't.

The woman deserves to be shamed, because what she did was reprehensible, not because seeker (or I) carry some grudge. Part of being a responsible sex partner is full dsiclosure of any STD's, in clear and equivocal language. When you are hooking up with someone, you tell them before you fly them to your city and get them high and horny. It goes double when they are young and/or inexperienced. Full mental maturity doesn't come til 23ish. This is basic ethics. She is a rotten person whose main concern now is trying to tap that again til she gets tired of it, and assuaging her undeveloped but nagging sense of guilt.
84
So while I agree the disclosure was not a good one; medically, it was accurate.
And it would thus absolve TBG of moral responsibility if her lover knew that, or was an epidemiologist. But, as you correctly note, most people think they are different things and that aids in disease transmission. Which is exactly why people must conduct themselves in a way which minimizes disease transmission. She didn't.
85
@82: If people were asked "do you get cold sores", "do you get canker sores", and "do you have herpes", do you think you'd have the same accuracy?
86
@79 Actually, for a little while when I was 16, just having gotten out of sex ed, I was pissed at my mother for awhile because she was prone to canker sores, and then I got them recurringly as a crap-eating teenager (it was always after eating a lot of chips). But, she used to call them cold sores, and then when I went through sex ed I thought I had herpes. Because, as a family you do thinks like share sodas or whatever.

But, then I learned, after seeing the doctor, it was actually a canker sore not a cold sore, and I did not get HSV from my mother...and that I needed to not eat so many damn chips in one sitting.

That being said, I learned that cold sore was herpes, and didn't even know the existence of canker sores until after that. And, I was in high school when I learned both.

Of course, there is the whole abstinence education bullshit, which is a valid point. But, if you're going to be a free sexually active adult, you should learn a bit about the responsibilities about being a free sexually active adult. Just like I didn't know what "I'm poz" meant when I first heard it. But, I asked, and learned. Straight people need to educate themselves as much as gay people.
87
@seeker6079: I respectfully disagree with your comments in post 84. This kid was sticking his dick in someone. He is 18 and should know what an STI is if he is going to be having sex with someone other than himself. He has a responsibility to himself. Second, though I do not agree in any way with how the OP handled her conversation, it is not her moral responsibility to correct the whole history of this kids STI education or societies continual shaming. She is only responsible for herself. She let an uneducated 18 years old bare back her ass, she was not being very responsible for herself.
I don't disagree with she should have handled that better. I do disagree with the STI shaming statements and I medically inaccurate information in this thread. I disagree with the comments that allude TBG has any more responsibility than disclosing she has an STI, how she is treating that STI and what safer sex practices her and her partner can follow if he is concerned. Her scope of responsibility, and where she failed miserably, is that she did not make sure this kid had enough information to make an informed decision. I will not justify that behavior in any way! I will also not make this person out as Satan because she didn't have a power point presentation ready and a doctor in the room with them when she told him.
88
Everyone who is blaming the woman here: if you want to keep shaming the woman, you can, but first go out and get an antibody test for HSV1, HSV2, and EBV. That way you guys can disclose too, 'cause I bet plenty of you are infected but since you don't know, you don't tell.
89
@87: While I don't disagree with much of your post (and extend in return your respectfulness) I must be candid: I do find the transmission of a sexual disease to another person when the transmitter was in a position to prevent it, and doesn't, as a shameful act. That's the thing about shaming for progressives. methinks. We forget that sometimes shameful conduct should be shamed; it's just a question of what is shamed. Conservatives and religious types seem to feel, well, pretty much everything, especially sexual, and they're wrong. Liberals often feel "nothing", and that's wrong too. I don't disagree that the 18 year old was nine different morons rolled up in one, and he isn't without agency or responsibility here. (Indeed, even calling him "the kid" is a bit infantalizing.) But I do believe now and will always believe that in a place where physical harm can be done by one person to another the moral responsibility lies on the person who can best prevent that harm and here that's the LW. If you fail to act to prevent harm to another due to selfishness, or negligence, or artful dodgery (as TBG did here) then that is a shameful act. We must be careful not to conflate having a disease, which is not shameful, with handing it over to somebody else when you could have avoided it, which is. Being sexually liberated -- like any other kind of liberty, such as political or religious -- brings with it a higher amount of personal responsibility. The golden rule gets stronger, not weaker.
90
@83 I believe I said, up @60, that the LW was not fully blameless. I completely agreed she needed to disclose before the trip. And, having both had trips that were intended to have sex in them and had people have trips for sex, full disclosure always came before the trip was discussed. You don't bring somebody up for a weekend of sex and drugs, then suddenly say "Oh, BTW, I'm poz." Or, "I have HSV." That's just wrong.

And that is completely a valid point.

However, people are harping on the rest of it. That she didn't disclose ENOUGH (disagree). Or that she should have insisted on a condom (which she should have, but at least she made a passing effort).

But, they're also making the 18-year-old blameless. Which he isn't. It was his decision to bareback, and he had been informed in an, in my mind, appropriate way. By 18, you should be informed enough about what you're doing. And, in this age of CONDOMS, he should be as safe as anybody else.
91
R2RO - Nothing wrong with blaming a woman if the woman's to blame. Nothing wrong with blaming a man if the man's to blame. Both are that thing called "accuracy".

Your comment regarding testing is perfect. Everybody should get a full gamut of STI / HSV etc tests done, especially before engaging in a new relationship, however transient. I can't speak for others but in my town I was amazed to find out just how easy it was to get a full spectrum test done. You should insist on full disclosure.

Bit of a buzz kill, I know, but that comes with personal responsibility.
92
I had the igG test. It's how I found out I had hsv2. Never had a symptom. Still don't. I am representative of 90% of the people that have herpes (HSV1 or HSV2). So before you go making personal attacks on TBG, go get the test. If you're positive for either HSV1 or HSV2 and you have no symptoms, you'll feel okay about it. Then go tell someone and let the stigma rain down. Deal with that for about a year, and then come back and make judgements on others. I don't agree with how the TBG handled her shit. It was bad. But I understand why she did it the way she did. I also understand that the 18 year old in question never had an IgG test, so he could already have HSV. We don't know who he stuck his dick into before flying to see TBG. Odds are whoever it was doesn't know their herpes status either. So, his risk of getting this from someone else? Pretty high. His risk of blaming her if he does have it because she is likely the only one that knows her status and disclosed, 100%. Her risk of completely being vilified in this thread by ignorant asshats that don't know their status either, 100%.
93
@90. It seems that we aren't as far apart as one might think. I agree that The18 (I am so tired of typing the full designation) should have [done all of those things that you listed] and was [the pejoratives that you listed]. I believe, however, that we differ on a key point, and that turns on the ability to prevent harm and in which direction the harm passes. She could have reduced The18's chances of catching the disease to almost zero if she said, "no condom no sex, period". Does that put a greater onus on her than on The18? Yup. And there it quite properly lies because she was the one with the STD. If he was the one with the STD and she was the one begging for barebacking (and all other things, age, etc., remain the same) then that greater onus would be on his shoulders. We tend to forget that the first line of the Hippocratic Oath morally does bind us all: first, do no harm.
94
@92 - I love how you make an assumption in order to blast folks for making an assumption.
95
@90: "But, they're also making the 18-year-old blameless."

Oh come on, the LW asked if she was culpable for what happened, we're telling her she could've been more responsible if she wanted to keep this from happening. The letters wouldn't sound pretty if the LW was the boy, asking if she was at fault after he pulled the condom off. Are our responses skewed because of the asker? Of course! He's not here to lecture, so people aren't bothering.
96
@2 My thoughts exactly. For all she knows this kid has HIV or something.
97
On sex education: We're unsurprised if people can't remember how to calculate a cosine or how the subjunctive works. Someone upthread is implying that to kiss someone who carries latent cold sore virus is *to catch it* rather than to have a very tiny risk of exposure. (Just like sex with someone on suppressants not having an obvious genital herpes outbreak carries a small but nonzero risk.) And I regularly see people who are allegedly up on sex ed but can't figure out how "90% effective" translates to whether accidental pregnancy is proof no birth control was used.

He might have had perfectly decent sex ed and still mixed up cold and canker sore, or not realized that cold sore was being used as a euphemism for genital herpes. There is an obligation to disclose clearly, in ways people understand, and not pout that they didn't understand your preferred euphemisms for "I have herpes" or "I have a jealous boyfriend who beats up guys I flirt with" or whatever other important information you find makes it harder to get laid if clearly disclosed.
98
@95 Actually, you're making the same correlative error that seeker did @65. In reversing the sex of the letter, you forgot to make the error of reversing who insisted upon removing the condom.

How about this? A guy told a girl (or at least thought that he did) that he had a disease, and they mainly had vaginal sex with a condom. But, when he went to do anal, he went for the condoms, but she stopped him. He asked if she was sure. She said yes. They went at it, then she freaked out after the fact. Is the girl is completely blameless for that?
99
@89: " While I don't disagree with much of your post (and extend in return your respectfulness) I must be candid: I do find the transmission of a sexual disease to another person when the transmitter was in a position to prevent it, and doesn't, as a shameful act."

Are you arguing that a person that has an incurable STI should abstain from sex? Even if they got that STI on their lip because Grandma kissed them? Or got Herpes gladitorum from the wrestling team in Junior high? Or got Herpes Whitlow as a medical professional. Or is it just STI's that live in the boxer short area? Not being facetious, I genuinely want to know how you decide what is and isn't a sexually transmitted disease. The examples I give are all HSV1, which you are arguing is a sexually transmitted disease.

" If you fail to act to prevent harm to another due to selfishness, or negligence, or artful dodgery (as TBG did here) then that is a shameful act. We must be careful not to conflate having a disease, which is not shameful, with handing it over to somebody else when you could have avoided it, which is."

We don't know the STI status of the male partner. Wouldn't this then, apply to his treatment of her? If we are arguing what is a shameful act, We cannot do that in this situation, without examining the males shameful acts as defined by you.
100
@95: I also don't see how language like "his idiot ass", "has to take some responsibility here", "foolish", stupid, stupid mistakes", "ill-informed", "bad habit of initiating unsafe sex with acquaintances", "an 18 year old should know enough to "use a condom or your dick might fall off",", "moron", "deserves some blame", "clueless", "both idiots" and "both dumb as shit" .... [and that only takes me up to, what, comment 44?] constitute making him "blameless".
101
"In reversing the sex of the letter, you forgot to make the error of reversing who insisted upon removing the condom. "

That's not a logical error. We're addressing two sides of the same story, not "reversing" the story, which would be useless because then we'd be talking about something that didn't happen.