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Mar 03 2016

HPV: The Cockroach of STDs

This was never supposed to happen to me.

No, really. An STD was NEVER supposed to happen to me.

I’m an asexual lesbian. As in, a woman who is romantically attracted to other women but is not interested in sexual contact.

But today I learned that HPV can be passed by skin-to-skin contact.

I learned this when I found out I have cervical dysplasia, which is a precancerous condition caused by HPV.

(There are many, many strains of HPV, most of which are harmless and nearly everyone gets it at some point in their lives, read this awesome comic by Erika Moen for very useful information.)

I’m married to a man, yes. My best friend who is also asexual. We tried sex once nine and a half years ago and got bored maybe thirty seconds into the process and decided to do something else.

He had had one partner before that. But it wasn’t from him anyway—he didn’t ‘cross the finish line’ and that experience was too long ago.

I must have touched someone recently who had it.

Now, I wash my hands all the time and I don’t masturbate a great deal by any means (every other month?) and I usually use latex gloves when I do—I just like the feel.

I mean, damn, I’ve been having safe sex with myself by sheer accident.

Yet here we are.

The HPV plush from Giant Microbes. I'm getting one.

The HPV plush from Giant Microbes. I’m getting one.

My Way: Regrets. I Had Not a One.

Due to things that happened in the first twenty years of my life I decided I was going to live in such a way as to never have regrets. This required doing nothing—taking no real risks.

This was fine by me. Every risk I had taken had failed miserably up to that point. So the plan was to live the rest of my life with no regrets. I had banked more than enough, I felt.

So I lived behind my computer screen and with my books and my own writing and everything was fine.

Then I realized I was kinky and that, maybe it would be worth it to get out there take some risks with my feelings. Maybe I could try some of the things I had thought about. I was on the verge of approaching the lake to dip a toe in…

The whole power exchange thing sounded amazing. I could actually have something I had wanted for years before I even knew what it was called.

Two days ago I set up an OK Cupid account, even, and I’ve been putting together a slave resume.

I haven’t played with anyone yet. The most I’ve done with any of the kinky people I’ve met have been shake some hands in hello and hugged some people after munches or leaving play parties.

I was so careful not to do anything I would regret. Sex didn’t interest me so that wasn’t something I avoided—it just wasn’t a consideration at all.

This is like finding out you have a mortgage when you were never even interested in buying a house.

Winning the Cockroach Lottery

HPV is every-fucking-where like cockroaches. I don’t know why it’s considered a sexually transmitted disease. It should be called an everywhere disease.

Look. If I can get it you can get it, okay? So for those of you cervix-owners who hate going to the doctor—go. Do it. Even asexual lesbians can get it. So can you.

I’m going to name mine Jesus. ‘Going to get Jesus looked at. Make sure he’s not acting up.’ Because now I have to have more regular pap tests. It’s manageable/treatable if you catch it soon enough. I’ll know more about my treatment options at my follow up appointment at the end of the month.

Oh joy, more frequent pap smears.

You can imagine how much fun paps are for basically virgins, I’m sure. I get queasy and light-headed.

Most strains of HPV are dealt with by your immune system. But there are some bitch-ass types that cause warts or cancer. I won the cockroach lottery. Go me.

So Now What-chu-what-chu-what-chu WANT?

Glad you asked. I WANT one of those bubble suits so I don’t have to touch anyone.

I feel contaminated. I’m terrified of giving this to another woman since I have the strain that can cause cancer. I know that most people’s immune systems will deal with it. But some won’t.

I get to tell people I have HPV—this is a conversation I’m really looking forward to. I’ll just point them to this writing, probably.

Being that sex isn’t high on my priority list I’m not super bothered by not being able to have, just, ALL the kinky sex, but what about toys and activities? I want to try certain things and I don’t want to worry about someone coming into contact with my sweat from a leather toy. There’s only so much cleaning a person can do.

Though sex isn’t high on my list, there are certain things I’ve fantasized about within the right context that are now off the table because I would be putting another woman at risk. And since all it takes is skin-to-skin contact… Where’s my bubble suit?

Black Humor to the Rescue

If you think I don’t see the irony here, though, you’re wrong. Oh ho, the irony. It is rich and it is heavy. I’m going to be so jacked from lifting all this irony.

If I believed in fate or the universe sending signs I would think this was one saying, ‘Wait now, don’t go thinking it’s a good idea to actually interact with people!’

I could also look at it like, living life in a way that left me with no regrets still gave me a heavy dose of Jesus STD. So that plan worked.

There are parents who don’t want to vaccinate their 12 year olds because they think HPV is only a sexually transmitted disease. Well, guess what, parents? Me and Jesus over here beg to differ.

TL;DR

If you have a cervix: GET A GODDAMN PAP SMEAR

Oh, and

VACCINATE YOUR KIDS

Because knowledge is power:

HPV and Cancer in the LGBT community: Regarding gay men and lesbians. We are not immune and actually have a higher rate. (Especially the sexually active people.)

Information about HPV Duration and Incubation

Info from the U.S. Center for Disease Control

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