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Atheists, Agnostics, etc. with Herpes


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Even though atheism/agnosticism/non-religiousness isn't a religion, I feel it's still relevant to post this here. :)

If you're non-religious, atheist, agnostic, bright, humanist, etc., what are your thoughts on your infection?

Me? I think that it was just a matter of chance, no spiritual or predetermined stuff going on. Like I said in my intro, shit happens. That's life! I just keep in mind that I'm strong on my own and I can cope without relying on some "higher power" to help me out. :3

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IMO, i think it was karma. I'm a strong believer in karma, and i know i've paid for it before. I think getting herpes was my karmic retribution for always making fun of girls with panty lines, cause now i'm one of them. With any luck, i've stopped paying for most of my mistakes, cause i sure feel like i've paid a lot....

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I love the concept of karma ... what goes around, comes around. Perhaps karma is the reason I got H - but I like to think that I am a reletively good person, therefore stubbing my toe would probably be sufficient. I think the more likely reason is that I slept with a guy who slept with a girl who slept with somebody who had it - and bam! - here I am :rolleyes:. Religion (or spirituality) is a complex and individual experience - I don't believe that people are "punished" or that bad things happen to people for a reason. Everyone has their hardships, H just happens to be one of mine.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hmmm, I understand the Karma reason but I like to think of it in a more practical way. Cause and effect. I made a decision to sleep with someone who didn't know they had the virus, and only found out he did because I had an outbreak. He was the first person I ever slept with, talk about unfortunate. So the cause was my decision and the effect unfortunately was herpes. I don't think I did anything necessarily for the universe to point the judgment finger at me I just think it's apart of our world now and I am one of the statistics. I certainly get wanting to have a reason for it, I've definitely been there, but I don't think there's any reason. It just happened. And yes, it sucks. But, when life gives you lemons you make lemonade right?? Of course I'll have to remind myself that I just said that when I have my next ob!!!!

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motorcyclemaintainance

Karma? Actually, look no further than the statistics.

80%+ of most populations carry herpes simplex. If you manage to avoid it, it's not through divine providence, it's through extraordinary luck.

Otherwise you'd have to believe that 80%+ of people deserve karmic retribution, which seems like a pretty desolate concept!

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chooseyourbattles

My punishment fit my crimes.

See, I'm really fastidious about personal hygiene, first of all, and excessively critical of other people's physical flaws. I had an admittedly fucked up view of sex, my partners being the people I was the least likely to talk to about anything. I hate depending on anyone else for anything, and I despise uncertainty. Most of all, I love control.

Now I have something dirtier than my best friend's foot fungus. I have to talk to my partners about something extremely serious and make myself vulnerable in the process. I am entirely dependent upon their decision, which I am always uncertain about, and which I have absolutely no control over.

Herpes is my storybook retribution.

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elephantsandivory

Honestly?! Karma? Really? That just builds into the stigma. Think about it for a second. If you really think getting herpes was because of bad karma then you are perpetuating the stigma right on to yourself. Sure some lifestyles will make catching herpes more probable, but that is not by any means karma.

I do not believe in any of this mumbo jumbo, and to try to understand and justify having this virus based on the karmatic value of a past action is not logical or really healthy. Lots of us have herpes without committing an act "causing bad karma," and in some cases get it through an act of honest and pure love. Lets keep dogma where it belongs and stop this stigmatism of herpes.

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I'm very much an atheist, and therefore other atheists will think I'm silly when I say what I tought about getting herpes. I thought that hypothetically, IF there was a god, giving me herpes would kind of be his way of telling me I wasn't invincible. Even though I don't believe in god in the first place, this still made the situation make more sense, somehow.

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Elephantsandivory, you're welcome to your opinion, although i think your statement was rather harsh. You certainly can't tell me what to believe about my own virus or my own life. That would be terribly religious of you.

I do think it's karma, although i never said getting herpes was ALL bad. In fact, if you went back through the last 2 years of my posts, you'd see i've said numerous times it's actually been a positive force in my life. Doesn't mean it wasn't karma though. And i don't think herpes is the ONLY karmic (how do you spell that?) thing to happen in my life, just one of them. No, i don't think it's perpetuating the stigma. I think the fact that i choose not to tell other people and present myself as an example is perpetuating the stigma. I certainly don't think my belief that i got this for a reason has anything to do with a stigma.

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elephantsandivory

Hey Catiesmom, Did not intend to attack you personally, I would like to think we are all on the same side here :). Like you said, I am free to my own opinion and thats exactly what I expressed. It certainly wasnt "religious of me," potentially authoritarian and condescending, but definitely not religious.

That said, I strongly feel that viewing herpes as a result of karma is perpetuating the stigma. Maybe there is a disconnect here in our understandings. When you tell someone, or yourself, that you got herpes because of your karma, it implies your past deeds were negative in nature and, in terms of some moral code, you deserved it. No you didnt say that getting herpes was all bad, but lets face it - who would say they got herpes because of good karma? I agree that herpes has had some positive impacts on my life as well, but I, nor most people, would view this as a reward for good deeds.

I did not intend to foster ill-will between us. Just stating my views. Sorry if you feel I am being too harsh, please dont take it personal. all the best, hope you are having a great week

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Well I am agnostic. I grew up in a strict Catholic family who never talked about sex or the true consequences that can come from it. Anyways, I don't think Karma has anything to do with it unless you are a really really evil person. I was raped and almost killed seven years ago while I was in college when I was trying to throw out a loser boyfriend who was using me financially. What's your reason for that one? I fled to Ireland for three months trying to deny that it ever happened to be but I came back a stronger person. I just started dating again recently and believed I had found an amazing man that I could truly love and trust, then he gave me herpes and I saw his true character after he gave it to me. What's your reason for that? I have done nothing wrong in my life other then try to find the right person. I do not like to be judged and there for try not to judge others which gets me into trouble. The only belief I live by is Confucius, do onto others as you want done to yourself, but that is who I am. I am a loving person who just wants to be loved. Is that so wrong? I think not. Now that we are here, whatever the reason maybe, you have to take it with a grain of salt. You can't change the past but how are you going to change the future. I think the reason if you believe in God that I was raped was to become a strong enough person to be able to handle this little bump in the road for those who are not strong enough to handle it for themselves. Call it Karma, call it ignorance, call it Gods chosen path for me if you even want to, but I am here now and this is what I am doing about it. I am starting an Organization to bring light onto the ignorance of this disease and to start collecting sizable donations to help find and fund a cure. If you'd like to help me in this endeavor please either read my posts if you want to know more or contact me personally. It is your choice on how you want to proceed in life and the outlook you take from this experience. I can tell you this you will be happier and healthier if it is a positive one :mrgreen:

-B-

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Elephantsandivory - there's certainly no ill-will. As you stated yours, i stated mine. I have to admit i was a bit upset about your comment, especially the first part which i did in fact find condescending. But i've also learned several things about forums: 1) don't take anything personally, because no one really knows you and 2) don't let people walk all over you because with the anonymity of the internet, they will. I was honestly trying to uphold #2 while remembering #1. We're cool. :)

Blueskies - the funny thing about not being religious is that other people's beliefs are not only ok with me, they're encouraged, and i don't expect anyone to see things my way necessarily, or even to agree with me. I know people who are religious because they need to believe in heaven, and i personally believe in this karmic reasoning because it makes sense in my life. For you, it obviously doesn't. I don't think you've done anything to deserve the treatment you've gotten from life, but you've seen some sort of "reason" for the things you've been through (although yours is more of a future benefit than a karmic payment). In my eyes, i see that as karmic (not what you paid for necessarily, but what you got out of it). In your eyes, it's obviously not. And the good thing is - that's fine! :)

I love that you've turned your adversities into positive actions in your life. I wish you nothing but success in your personal relationships and your newly created organization.

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  • 5 months later...

For me herpes was both a reminder to not delude myself into thinking that I'm invincible and can afford to be careless, reckless or ignorant of dangers I may expose myself to, and an okay price to pay for having been in a relationship that changed me a lot for the better.

Not much of a relationship, just casual sex on fairly regular basis. He didn't know he had it, and it was really stupid of me to sleep with him after he broke up with a girl who was basically prostituting herself behind his back. But he helped me so much that I really don't mind having gotten herpes as a result of sleeping with him..I was in a sexually abusive relationship before I met him and I never thought I'd actually enjoy sex or be able to have penetrative sex without it being horribly painful and giving me a panic attack. I credit him for setting me on the path to having the healthy mindset I now have when it comes to sex.

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Butterfly of the Moment

Hey, I don't really know why i had to get herpes either (fate/karma/god punishing me). I don't recall ever making fun of someone or saying stuff about people having stds. I'm very educated about stds and have been tested 5 times between partners. Just because I may have had sex with someone who wasn't my boyfriend doesn't mean i got my just rewards. Honestly, it would have been nice to be the type of person who is looking for true love and wont have sex with anyone until i'm married and of course he would be a virgin too...but that is not me i lived in the moment and was made to feel good as i made others feel good as well. I considered myself compassionate and understanding of most people and I would go out of my way not to hurt people's feelings but yeah, i'm pretty sexual and bam i have herpes. I'm a good person, but I enjoy sex and perhaps that is a crime in the universe but not in my eyes. It's the luck of the draw....too many people have this virus and therefore it would have been rare indeed not to come in contact with it.

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See, I'm really fastidious about personal hygiene, first of all, and excessively critical of other people's physical flaws. I had an admittedly fucked up view of sex, my partners being the people I was the least likely to talk to about anything. I hate depending on anyone else for anything, and I despise uncertainty. Most of all, I love control.

I relate to this on many levels, though not the part about having a non-intimate emotional relationship with my partners. I was excessively critical of other people's looks, and my own. I based too much of my self-esteem on how attractive I was and used it as a source of control in my life, and as a source of social comparison in order to feel better about myself. Every time I got rejected, (and my perfectionistic nature considers any guy not thinking I was the most amazing thing since sliced bread a rejection), I blamed my looks. Because my looks are something I felt I had control over. If I was only tanner, got my hair redone, bought more designer makeup, and worked out more then the next guy will never reject me. I used to be bulimic in high school, even though I was on the slimmer side, thinking that if I lost 10 pounds I would have a boyfriend.

I realize that this is an entirely illogical way of thinking and behaving, especially because I'm only interested in sex within relationships, where my personality is a much more important factor in terms of rejection.

I believe that meaning in life is something that I personally derive, and I do not derive it from any specific religion. I look at negative events as unfortunate, but also as challenges to become a stronger person. Herpes is doing this for my perfectionism, as I now I have a imperfection that I cannot get rid of. A lot of the unrealistic pressure I put on myself was not based on what I personality valued, but what society valued. Since herpes is not something that I am ashamed of, but something that society tells me I should be ashamed of, it is helping me become better adapted to not excessively caring what other people think.

My positive diagnosis also gives me more empathy for people afflicted my other social stigmas. Empathy and respect for everyone is something I strive for, but it is hard, as I think it is human nature to want to be better than everyone else.

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I don't really believe in Karma, or in fate.

But when I think about how I got hsv, and the relationship I was in before I got it, I could easily ascribe my infection to Karmic retribution because some part of me feels guilty about all the things I've done. But I think that's too simple.

Because doesn't Karma coming back on you, punishing you, implicitly negate your ugly past? Like yeah, you fucked up, you hurt people, and here is your punishment. But you don't really learn anything from that, do you? Because chance handed you herpes, and now you feel like cosmically your sins (wrong word, but can't find a better one) have been forgiven. But YOU haven't done anything.

Believing in Karma is easy. What's harder, and maybe more ultimately fulfilling, is trying to find your own sense of meaning in an illogical and unpredictable world.

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Karma? Actually, look no further than the statistics.

80%+ of most populations carry herpes simplex. If you manage to avoid it, it's not through divine providence, it's through extraordinary luck.

Otherwise you'd have to believe that 80%+ of people deserve karmic retribution, which seems like a pretty desolate concept!

I'm with you on this one. I do have faith, but I don't believe it was a punishment for past sins.

I was uneducated about herpes that's all. I have told my eldest child about it and I think it's the best sex education lesson I can give him. I have told several people all of who were as "uneducated" as me. I have tried to "stand up" if someone makes fun of it.

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  • 1 month later...

I'm not religious and I don't think any of us have been given this because we "deserve" it. Nobody deserves this. It's just a matter of being irresponsible and/or unlucky IMO. I never put the effort into finding a way I was comfortable with to ask a guy to use a condom. I always felt the whole conversation was uncomfortable and ruined the moment, so I never brought it up. Had I been more responsible I would have found a way to say it, and possibly prevented getting herpes altogether. Now I have a much more difficult conversation to bring up than "Let's use a condom?" No doubt, that will become a regular thing for me to say now though.

I also see this as a wake up call. As many times as I was irresponsible with my sexual activities, I could have gotten something a lot worse than herpes.

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  • 2 weeks later...
JoeTheLionWentToTheBar

I believe faith, religion, spirituality has nothing to do with virus' of any kind, not Herpes, not the bacteria or virus' that cause plagues, not HIV, nothing.

Its an organism like any other that does what it does. Its amoral and exists to survive, no more no less, and its life cycle is entirely controlled by bio-chemical processes within it and its environment.

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Hey, I don't really know why i had to get herpes either (fate/karma/god punishing me). I don't recall ever making fun of someone or saying stuff about people having stds. I'm very educated about stds and have been tested 5 times between partners. Just because I may have had sex with someone who wasn't my boyfriend doesn't mean i got my just rewards. Honestly, it would have been nice to be the type of person who is looking for true love and wont have sex with anyone until i'm married and of course he would be a virgin too...but that is not me i lived in the moment and was made to feel good as i made others feel good as well. I considered myself compassionate and understanding of most people and I would go out of my way not to hurt people's feelings but yeah, i'm pretty sexual and bam i have herpes. I'm a good person, but I enjoy sex and perhaps that is a crime in the universe but not in my eyes. It's the luck of the draw....too many people have this virus and therefore it would have been rare indeed not to come in contact with it.

Hey all,

Thanks for all sharing your personal thoughts and beliefs on the matter. However, this is where subjects tend to get sticky: the faith department. I spent many years in college having similar discussions with my peers. Not because religion was one of my majors, but because trying to find answers is just part of being human.

Although I would say I heartily disagree with some statements made on this particular thread, I must say that there are also points I do agree with... such as with Mr. Honest's outlook as herpes being a "wake-up call." No matter what avenue we're coming from in this matter, no matter what our beliefs, herpes can definitely serve as a wake-up call.

I also agree with Butterfly of the Moment's assessment: what about many of us out there that were being kind, responsible, non-judgmental, and essentially living a life of "good karma?" I find it a little unfair, almost cruel, really, to say a particular god or force is "punishing" us with a virus, especially since most, if not all of us, do not deserve this.

What about those of us who have had very few sexual partners, and were in a long-term relationship when we contracted herpes? What if we were donating to charities, helping our elderly neighbor, and volunteering our time? Did we deserve this as well? In my opinion, I believe that no one deserves this, no matter how many sexual partners they've had, no matter what they've said or done in the past, no matter how many charities they didn't donate to. I believe that is an opportunistic virus, plain and simply.

I understand one's faith is very important to helping one get through a tough ordeal such as herpes. It can bridge, for many, gaps when little else gives them hope. So I know it can be a faith that explains to a person "why" they got herpes, and helps them live a more careful lifestyle to avoid getting anything else, and also to avoid passing this to as few as possible. So I would not want to begrudge anyone their own personal way of coming to terms with this.

But do understand, we are all trying to heal and get through this, each of us. So to say that we are being punished might be a way to look at it through the filters of your own personal faith, but please also consider that it also might also hurt many on this site... many who share the same faith and who are good people. This could make people who already feel sensitively about this issue feel worse about themselves; it could lower their self-esteems, and chip away at their hope.

Let's all remember that faith is there to uplift those that are down or in need.

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It bees like that sometimes

I beleive theres no reason why it just happens like that.If you find a quarter on the ground you dont ask why did i find this quarter,because its not that significant,but let a hobo find it and hes thanking god cause he had 75 cents now he has a dollar to get something off the dollar menu from mcdonalds.lol

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I made the decision

I made the decision to have sex with the guy with all the risks. I'm not being punished for my actions this is a consequence of my actions. If you are a Christian one of the biggest things about God is that he is a forgiving God, then why would he punish you in this way?

My prayer has been and will always be "Let your will be done." If you want to allow me to have mild OBs or bad OBs (I hope not.) then it is God's will. I have asked forgiveness for my sin and I am moving on. If I expect punishment for every sin then I should be dead by now.

I have to move on. I sit and talk to my parents and think you don't know that I have herpes. I don't want to think like that. I am working on forgiving myself - scheduling an appointment with a therapist and found a support group. Once I forgive myself everything else will fall into place.

For whatever reason I don't feel disgusting or dirty. I had a high self esteem before this and that has not changed. Do I look forward to ever giving the talk? NO!!! But because I have no one in my life right now anyway why worry about that. I will deal with that when I have to. I think a lot of us are stressing ourselves out over future events. I for once in my life am taking one day at a time trying to put together all of the scenarios for the future will only make me crazy because I will never know how people will react.

Go and love yourself. I cannot control how people will react but I can control how I will. For many of us without really bad OBs this is miniscule on a day-to-day basis. Treat it that way and live.

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