Sexual Health and Kink

STDs/STIs and What They Don’t Tell You

I have HPV—it’s something I’ve written about before a few times. From the responses I’ve received and the news in general and information that’s just out there about STDs and STIs…people really don’t know much about HPV.

My first writing, had some incorrect information because I was freaked out and it can be difficult to find accurate info about this one. Which is odd, because it’s very, very common.

People like to tell me that it’s fine, they had it and it cleared up and now they’re fine.

If you have a cervix and you contract one of the cancer-causing types of HPV—it doesn’t go away. That’s why, even if abnormal cells no longer appear on your pap smears you still have to go in once a year, rather than every three years like other cervix-havers. Because it can return at any time. You can also pass it on even if you don’t have abnormal cells on your cervix. (This is less likely, but still possible.) Even if you develop cancerous cells and have them removed by the delightful procedures available, it can return. It may not, but it can. And you may still pass it on.

Penis-havers—there’s still no test for you. There’s no test for cervix-owners, either. You can have it for years and not know. I had it nearly twenty years before I found out. There is no ‘positive’ diagnosis. You find out you have the cancer-causing HPV when you develop annoying cells on your cervix. Other, less likely but possible places are the tonsils, throat, penis, vagina or anus. You know, nothing you use or care about.

There are one hundred strains of HPV. Most are harmless and your body will throw them off. Some cause warts—the ones that cause warts are NOT the ones that cause cancer. Warts are just annoying and ugly. Though, apparently, severe cases of warts have to be removed by lasers and can cause scarring. My research sometimes is disturbing.

Let’s talk about Herpes.

Herpes has a bad rep. All it is is an ugly sore. Some pharmaceutical reps weren’t selling their medication like they wanted in the 70s so they made it into a huge deal. Marketing! There’s a great video from Adam Ruins Everything that explains a bit about it.

Loads of people have the herp. Eighty percent of the US population has it. Ninety percent of people worldwide have it. People do need to know if they have it for pregnancy reasons—it does cause issues for pregnant women and foetuses, but in general it’s not going to do all that much to you except not look pretty and be owie.

It certainly doesn’t give you cancer of the squishy bits that’s untestable.

Look. If I met someone who was a great match for me in all the ways and they had HSV I’d be: So what?

I have one other phrase for you, this one comes via Cooper Beckett:

Antibiotic resistant gonorrhoea of the throat.

That’s a phrase that sticks in your mind forever.

It’s also self explanatory, I think.

People like to say, ‘If you’re going to have sex, you’re taking a risk; everything we do is risky—getting in a car is risky.’

You still wear your safety belt. You still don’t drive 110 mph in a 30 mph zone.

They also like to point out how many people have certain infections or diseases, like I did above with 80%. Often, when giving a percentage—particularly a high percentage—it can sound like, ‘Well it’s okay then, let me dive in, too.’

And sometimes, it kind of is—like HSV—basically, don’t worry about it if you do get it. If you get cold sores—congratulations, you have a type of herpes. Cold sores aren’t going to make your mouth fall off.

But with other high percentages, it can feel inevitable. I remember years ago reading an interview with a gay man who was talking about how it almost felt like, eventually, of course you and everyone you knew was going to be diagnosed with HIV—AIDS was such an epidemic.

Recently The Washington Post published an article about a new report from the CDC (the Centres for Disease Control) that found that around twenty percent of the adult population in the United States have the cancer-causing type of HPV. A little more than one in five people. This number had increased dramatically from a few years prior.

Now, you can look at it like, ‘Well, I’m probably going to get it/my body will probably kick it’ or you can just not have to worry about it at all and use protection.

I get that fluids are sexy to some people—I can follow why exchanging fluids would feel more intimate than clinical cling film and latex sex, but chemo and anxiety isn’t fun either. Particularly if you find out years later and you don’t know who’ve you’ve passed it around to.

Also, get your kids vaccinated. It’s a vaccine against cancer.

This is an area straight people can learn a lot from gay men, who’ve made condoms de riguer since the AIDS crisis. Now they have PrEP—which is a daily pill that can be taken to reduce the risk of contracting HIV. It’s controversial within the community for complex reasons. I don’t feel like it’s my place to advise gay men whether or not to take it—it’s understandable why some think it’s not a great idea; it’s understandable why some think it is. But for a very long time, in the gay community, unprotected sex was Russian roulette. It was a possible death sentence. Wrapping that shit up wasn’t a question. You just did it. I wish everyone else could get there.

What does this have to do with kink?

If kinky people talk about one thing—it’s consent. Not telling a potential partner about your sexual health situation removes their ability to give full consent.

Learning you have something that’s not eradicable that can be dangerous or annoying to another person sucks—it can be devastating. Educate yourself as much as you can. Don’t try to push down how you feel like I did and tell yourself you’re fine. That doesn’t work. Just feel whatever it is you feel. You’re human—you’re allowed. Be kind to yourself.

Explain to your potential partners calmly what you know and how to keep you both safe.

Get creative. There were certain things I had been curious about that I know I can’t do now and I feel like I’ve been robbed of potential experiences by a horrible human. Dealing with those feelings is it’s own other Gordian Knot of nonsense I don’t have the time or energy to get into at the moment.

My doctor said it’s difficult for women to pass it to one another (but not impossible and I would worry—it’s my hobby) so I’ve had to come up with new ideas. My imagination has risen to the challenge. I’ve worked to eroticise barriers in my own mind so whenever the time arrives it won’t be any more awkward than I am as a human in the world in every other way.

Absolutely explain to your partners. Don’t be the person who doesn’t. It’s hard, I know. Tina Horn has some good suggestions on how to have these conversations in her book Sexting. Write it down if you need to in order to get the words right and allow the other person time to process. People often treat you how you act so if you are relaxed and straightforward and present your facts and ideas they have no reason to be a jerk.

If they are a jerk—that’s all on them. You’re the same person you were before the conversation.

If you’re with a kinky person, hopefully they’ll be used to improvising and being creative and will be cool. If not, oh well. Don’t fuck them. They’re not worth it.

[This writing originally appeared in a slightly altered format as part of episode 49 of The Pageist: The Pageist talks Health and Kink.]

Episode 049: The Pageist Talks Health and Kink

Episode the forty-ninth; Wherein the Pageist talks about health and kink–sexual health, mental health and physical health. Just, all the health.

.53 Intro and Announcements:

9.27 Segment One: Kink and Sexual Health:

23.11 Segment Two: When Your Brain Tries to Ruin Your Kink

35.19 Segment Three: When Your Body is Not a Wonderland

41.04 Closing Remarks:

  • Thank you for tuning in!
  • In the next episode I’ll be reviewing two books by Georges Bataille: Story of the Eye and L’Abbe C
  • Support the show and site on Patreon!
  • Like The Pageist on Facebook, follow on Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads, Quora, Medium, and Instagram and join the Fetlife group.
  • You can also subscribe to the website through the email form in the sidebar.
  • Subscribe to the iTunes feed here. You can also rate the show in iTunes, which would be much appreciated!
  • All episodes can be heard in an embedded player on this page.

Making Myself Believe It: Rage Like a Living Thing

[Trigger Warning: Rape, Molestation]

I’ve written about having HPV before. Twice. Once about being baffled by the diagnosis and another about working out it was from an unconsensual experience twenty years ago.

And then I was done. I’m a Stoic (head nod to my guy Marcus Aurelius, sup, Marco!) and I was just going to deal with it in my silent, proper, non-emotive way.

I haven’t been saying ‘why me’—I haven’t said it once, because people who say that have always struck me as naïve. Or uninformed about statistics and science.

If you say ‘why me’, well, why not you? The belief that you don’t deserve something bad means someone else does. Or that you believe fate exists. Which means children deserve to starve to death or people in India are fated to handle human feces based on their caste.

During the Chechen Wars of the 90s the women living in the areas of contention said they didn’t care who was winning because it only meant the uniforms of the soldiers raping them changed.

People who say ‘if you send out positive vibes you get positivity back’ make me laugh.

That only works if you live in certain places, look a certain way, and have a certain set of circumstances helping you along to begin with. All the positive thinking in the world won’t help the people with no food or those who live in war zones.

Fate and positive vibes are for the already fortunate.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I’ve been thinking about the factors in place that facilitated my winding up with this thing that could give me cancer. Several things worked together starting with my parents and their sincere need for parenting skills and military-grade AA.

Then there’s this rage. Fury, really. It swells in my chest sometimes like a living thing and I don’t know what to do with it. I’ve written before about how emotions weren’t to be expressed in our house. To the point where I don’t know how to express them now.

Of course, like an idiot, I went to the man of the hour’s Facebook page. He died a few years ago, but his friends and family continue to post messages to him about how they know he’s in Heaven with God and how they know he’d be proud of his son today because he did this or that. Or how they sure wish he’d’ve been there for whatever moment.

Because what a Swell Guy he was. And he was Taken Too Soon.

And the rage swells in my chest like a living thing and I don’t know what to do with it. And I flip back through each moment that had to happen for us to end up where we did, and I end up back at my parents.

Why didn’t I stop things there? Or there? Or there?

Why didn’t my mother ask why I was spending so much time with someone twice my age?

Why did I trust him when I had just been betrayed by someone else so terribly? I had gone to him for help dealing with a man who’d been putting his hands on me for months.

I know the answers to all of the questions. I can play them forward like a Choose Your Own Adventure story and see why I made the decisions I did, but looking back so much would have been so different if my parents hadn’t been alcoholics.

Maybe I’d be one of those people who thinks putting positivity out there brings it back to you. Maybe I wouldn’t know that if someone sees someone who can’t properly defend themselves, they’ll take advantage no matter how well you think of them.

Because I trusted him. We were friends.

I trusted him so much I didn’t believe anything bad had happened for years. Even after reading articles about how rape survivors often act after rape over the long-term and recognizing myself in all of the points.

Not until I got this diagnosis—twenty years later—did I have to admit that it really did happen and I knew I didn’t want it and, oh yeah, all those articles said you’d been acting like a rape survivor…

I certainly I can’t deny it now.

But I still don’t believe it. Not really. Maybe it’s because I don’t look or feel any differently, as there are no outward symptoms. I had a different name then—I changed it after I moved away. I don’t see or speak to anyone I knew then.

And I feel stunted and angry and baffled and stupid.

My anger is a many-pronged thing. At myself for not being more insular and withdrawn, which I would become later, but if I had been from the start none of this would have happened. For trusting someone so quickly because I didn’t want to be a distrustful person.

At my parents for being more interested in drinking (my father) and staying with someone who drinks rather than moving out, while also drinking herself to sleep every night (my mother) than paying attention to who their daughter was spending time with or for how long or how late.

At the men who were older than I was, who, over months, said things to me that chipped away at what self esteem I had, or did what we’d now call ‘grooming’ or made sure no one would believe me—and who would? I did completely illogical things—that I now know are very common for victims of molestation and rape. I read those articles and said, ‘Huh,’ and kept on moving. I didn’t know what to do so I did nothing. I was a blank slate of a human for a long time. My interior world was the snow of an improperly tuned television.

At the way the world treats perpetrators versus victims and how I still blame myself because the world would blame me if I told them.

Then I remembered something… I had tried to tell someone. A couple of people. One had said I needed to ‘get over it’. And the other had shouted, ‘I’m sorry for what happened to you!’ and that was the end of it. You’re not supposed to talk about it because it makes men feel badly about themselves.

I had forgotten about that until very recently. The years of my life around that time are a blur—I don’t remember when what happened but I must have known something and tried to tell someone something because I recall learning that people didn’t want to know. So I suppose my brain decided that if I couldn’t tell anyone about it I wouldn’t know, either.

But I have to know it now. And I know another thing:

Someone doing something bad to you is all on them.

If an arsonist sets your house on fire—it’s on them. Not you for having a flammable house.

If someone steals your car—it’s on them. Not you for owning a car.

I had a body that someone (two someones) wanted to do things to. I didn’t want them to but they did those things. It’s all on them.

I just can’t seem to make myself believe it.

Abstinence-Only Flogging Education

Recently a friend wrote a post on Fetlife about behavior he found worrying—he’d witnessed (repeatedly) people using the same floggers on multiple people in one evening. Either at dungeons or play parties or whathaveyou.

This is dangerous behavior, as it can theoretically spread certain STDs and STIs, which he went into, and then explained the ways he goes about cleaning his floggers and encouraged other people to do their own research and clean their own floggers for the safety of the people they play with.

I thought the piece was a nice public service announcement full of useful information and asked if I could repost it on my site and he gave permission.

Perhaps a day later—maybe two—he messages me to say he’s taken it down because he was getting such grief from people saying he was advocating unsafe behavior.

Everything about the post was about how to be safe, so I didn’t understand what this meant until he explained:

Apparently, some people thought that the only safe thing to do was to never use the same toy on two different people and advocating stringent cleaning was irresponsible, as people would then, you know, do what they had already been doing, and play with more than one person with the same toy.

So… What you’re saying is the only ‘correct’ way to talk about the issue is to tell people to abstain from behavior you don’t like… even safely?

That sounds like a really familiar strategy.

And dirty floggers do, too, so... don't use them. Or something. (source)

And dirty floggers do, too, so… don’t use them. Or something. (source)

What gets me about it is that in the kink community we’re all about education (usually). We’re all about safety (usually). We’re all about people being able to do what they want because we believe that, being grown ups, other people are smart enough to make decisions for themselves, once they’ve been given information.

But someone saw problematic behavior, said, ‘This is why that is dangerous and here is how you can make it less dangerous, but also go do your own research.’

And other people apparently thought we were at a fundamentalist church somewhere and said, ‘No! People don’t want options! They need black and white! Just say yes or no! Good or bad! Because we all know when you tell grown up humans with agency they can’t do something they will absolutely listen to you!’

OR

You can be realistic and say, ‘Hey, people do this. I’ve seen it with the two eyeballs that are in my face. We know it happens just like we know teenagers have sex.’

Abstinence-only education doesn’t work but safer sex education does. If someone only has two expensive floggers do you really think they’re only going to play with two people ever? Which is more likely?

I didn’t even like the show Seinfeld, but is flogger-worthy going to be the new sponge-worthy? (How many people will get that reference? God, I feel old.)

Eventually my friend did a second post with much of the same info and lots of ‘in my opinions’ inserted to help cover himself from the abstinence-only people. That post is going up on Saturday on my site as a mentor post.

In it he talks about some of the things that can possibly be contracted from using a flogger on two different people, which include HIV and HPV. As well as the ways to minimize the risks, which is what everything we do in BDSM is about–knowing the risks and minimizing damage. The short version is (there will be much more in his post Saturday):

1. Inform your play partner of any risk
2. If your flogger comes into contact with blood, semen, or vaginal secretions, separate that flogger from the rest of your gear, as to not contaminate your whole bag of gear.
3. If you flog into blood, semen, or vaginal secretions, give your flogger some time between play partners.
4. Sanitize your floggers even if it may damage your floggers.

If you read my writings you know I have HPV, which I got from a one-time experience twenty years ago. So education and safety is my thing now. I’ve always been against abstinence-only sex education because all of my brain cells work properly, but now I’m on a mission.

Clean your floggers. And anyone who supports abstinence-only any kind of education isn’t living in realityland where people are going to do whatever they’re going to do and the best policy is teaching people to do it as safely as possible.

Take care of each other and take care of yourself. Before you play with someone ask when they last cleaned their gear. Then make up your mind about if you want to use that gear or play with them in some other way.

I’m going to save up and get my own gear that’s just for me, but I know that’s not practical for everyone.

And since when did more information become a bad thing?

Episode 009 Sunstone

Episode the Ninth; Wherein the Pageist deals with some heavy irony and learns who her friends are, passes on some important information to her listeners and reviews books full of pretty paintings of kinky lesbians.

00.55 Intro & Announcements:

  • I guest hosted an episode of The People of Kink as part of multiple shows on the Erotic Awakening Podcast Network guest hosting one episode of another show on the network. The episode aired after I recorded this episode so here is the link. I had a blast!
  • After gaining a listener in the CAR, the podcast is now in six continents. Also, someone in Mexico listened to all eight episodes in one day. Also, I speak French at you. Sorta.
  • People have been responding to the Listener Survey and I am grateful. I love learning about my listeners.
  • Early Bird Tickets for Power Exchange Summit are on sale until April 2. Tickets are half sold out. If you want to improve your power exchange relationship or are just curious about them, it’s the place to be. The conference is May 27th-29th.
  • Two of the vendors at PXS will be Mr Malaprop who makes some delightfully devious items like butt hammers and wicked sticks and Bastard Ropes. Both of whom I shall be patronizing in Ohio in May.
  • Get 10% off books by Cooper S. Beckett if you use the code pageist at alifelessmonogamous.com or mylifeontheswingset.com

5.30 My Submissive Life

This episode’s topic is the fun of a (very) unexpected HPV diagnosis. I go about it with humor and facts.

Information about HPV:

20.20 Book Review

The book reviewed in this episode is Sunstone by Stjepan Sejic (pronounced Stephen). Which is the first four volumes of a comic about Allison and Lisa, two women exploring kink together. One has a little more experience and a great deal of gear. The comics involves both of the women and the people important to their lives.

The series is still ongoing and is free-to-read on DeviantArt here, though I explain on the podcast why you may prefer the physical copies.

Sunstone: Volume One
Sunstone: Volume Two
Sunstone: Volume Three
Sunstone: Volume Four

31.20 Closing Remarks

  • Thank you for tuning in!
  • In the next episode I’ll review… I’m not sure yet… I’m reading several books.
  • Like on Facebook, follow on Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads
  • You can also subscribe to this website through the email form in the sidebar
  • Subscribe to the iTunes feed here. You can also rate the show in iTunes, which would be great!
  • All episodes are listed and playable from this page.

When the Good News is the Bad News and Vice Versa

Previously on WTF, Are You Kidding Me?!:

Two and a half weeks ago I found out I have HPV.

After doing some research I wrote an essay (HPV: The Cockroach of STDs) to deal with the initial influx of overwhelming emotions.

Being an asexual lesbian I found this very surprising.

People who don’t have sex aren’t supposed to get sexually transmitted diseases.

I knew it could be passed just from skin-to-skin contact and thought I must have contracted it recently, as, well, STDs and STIs all have short shelf-lives, right?

So I must have shaken hands with someone.

This was my logic.

I wash my hands regularly, though, I figured…

But I did more research and learned you can’t get it from holding hands or hugging.

The Good News that Was the Bad News

An idea had been in the back of my mind, but I’d dismissed it because it seemed impossible.

I’d had one experience… Well, one fifth of an experience, really, with my husband, where no bodily fluids were exchanged.

But there had been one other experience when I was seventeen that was unconsensual. Bodily fluids had been exchanged. That guy was older than I was, not in great health, and had had many sexual partners, all things that make a person more likely to carry the virus.

When the thought had first occurred to me I thought, ‘That was twenty years ago and it was one time. If I was going to develop something it would have happened by now.’

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ‘cancer often takes years, even decades to form after a person contracts HPV.’

Decades. Plural.

If you’re looking for the good news in there, it’s that at least I worked out where I got it from. The bad news is it was that guy.

[And before you want to murder him—he died a few years ago of natural causes unrelated to HPV.]

The Vice Versa (When the Bad News is the Good News)

So this has kinda sucked.

Every time I have to go for my super duper regular pap smears now I get to think about a person and time of my life I thought I had put behind me.

And if I ever have to have cancerous cells removed through one of the various delightful procedures—he’ll be with me then, too.

But!

I have learned how supportive my friends are. One friend in particular I’d been flirting with–after I told her I said I was scared she wouldn’t like me anymore.

She verbally kicked my butt about it, starting with ‘Are you fucking kidding me?!’ Then she laid several paragraphs of truth on me. She said exactly what I needed to hear.

Shitty situations will show you who the cool people are.

So that’s something good that’s come of this.

And I’m glad I know before I go out there and do get into anything physical with anyone for reasons that will become apparent in the next section.

Other Important Information

Because I’ve been learning all the things, I thought I’d share.

This information comes from the American Cancer Society and the CDC.

  • There are 100+ strains of HPV—most are harmless and will be cleared by the body without the person knowing they have it.
  • The strains that cause cancer are not the strains that cause warts.
  • HPV can be spread through vaginal, anal or oral sex.
  • There are no tests to determine if a person is a carrier. The only way to find out if you have it is for cervix-owners to have pap smears. That will detect if you have abnormal cells on your cervix that could possibly cause cancer. There is no test for men.
  • If you’re diagnosed with one of the strains that can cause cancer, you will go in for more frequent pap smears. If cells become cancerous, those cells will be removed but you will still have HPV and it could become cancerous again years later. (Or it may not ever develop into cancer.)
  • Though there are no tests for men, they can still carry it and pass it along and it can cause cancer of the throat, tongue and tonsils, as well as penis and anus. Women have anuses, too, obviously, and it can also cause cancer of the vagina and vulva. Those are less common, but it’s not just the cervix.
  • Safety: It is passed through skin-to-skin contact so even using condoms, gloves and dental dams won’t completely protect you but are still really good ideas since you don’t know if you’re a carrier, or if the other person is and they don’t even know it. Since it may not develop for years after the fact it’s not exactly a person’s fault if they accidentally give you something there’s no test for.
  • Get your kids vaccinated if they are 11-12.
  • Get the vaccine yourself if you’re under 26. It won’t work if you’ve already caught the virus, but if you haven’t, you will be vaccinated against it and won’t be thinking, ‘What kind of bullshit is it that I have to worry about cancerous cells on a part of my body I don’t use for anything? I don’t want kids and I don’t have sex.’

I mean, damn. My mother had stomach cancer when I was a toddler. With my sense of humor I’d be like, ‘Hey, me and my stomach had have some good times. At least I’ve got some use out of it.’

But my cervix? Talk about utter nonsense.

Reference links:
CDC page on HPV
American Cancer Society page on HPV
The Perverted Podcast talked about HPV in episode 41
Multiamory talked about HPV in episode 51

As mentioned in my previous writing about HPV, I did get an HPV plush from Giant Microbes:

His name is Jesus. I pronounce it hay-ZEUS. Because Zeus fucked up things all the time.

His name is Jesus. I pronounce it hay-ZEUS. Because Zeus fucked up things all the time.

You can also get your own plush here and support the site.

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