Monday, December 20, 2004

ignorant sluts

I am super pissed off. This post will be a doozy. You have been warned.

I am so frustrated with ignorant sluts. Ignorant sluts are the folks in the multiple partner sex party scenes who believe the little "d/d free" mention in their ad or post means shit. Ignorant sluts are those who reject partners who voluntarily disclose their sti status, while not inquiring the sti status of any other partners. Ignorant sluts pretend that their "safer sex practices" (putting on the condom eventually, although not necessarily at first penetration; unprotected blowjobs; etc) have kept them risk free and unexposed to any possible infection. Ignorant sluts think that since they "got tested" and nothing came back positive, they're clean.

But the most annoying thing about ignorant sluts is that these are very intelligent people. And they are my friends.

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The scenario

My friend Jefferson has been throwing sex parties for almost a year. I used to go back in the day, but lately life has gotten in the way. Many mutual friends and fucks make their way to his parties. It's one big happy incestuous family.

So, my friend of the blogosphere, Nadia, recently wrangled an invite to an upcoming evening. Nadia is super smart, wonderful, and educated about sexual health. She also has herpes. Her personal value system leads her to disclose her status to all potential sex partners, with positive and negative results. Nadia sends Jefferson an email:

I have a question for you, oh dear sex party host.... what is the protocol when someone attending has a minor std? I have herpes and I've always been good about informed consent of my partners and I'm not sure how to handle this situation. I only get outbreaks about once a year at this point, so most of the time I'm probably not contagious, but of course I can't ever guarantee that at a particular moment I'm not. So far I've never given it to anyone just by using condoms for intercourse.... but of course I'd like to keep that record going! I have no problem with people using barriers for oral sex or whatever, they can do what they need to feel comfortable.

Of course, should I suddenly get an outbreak around the time of the party I won't attend, but if everything's normal - I have no idea what to do.... ack. With herpes being so prevalent (20-25% of the population estimated to have it and 90% estimated to have oral herpes anyway which can be transmitted via oral sex to the genitals) I do hope this isn't a major deal but I want people to make the decision for themselves.... despite my fears of rejection. Some people see it as no big deal, others freak.... oy.

She's one smart cookie. Jefferson forwards to me with a request for advice. I say that since the risk of transmission between outbreaks is minimal (not to mention the same as folks who are asymptomatic carriers or folks between bouts of cold sores), let her come. He responds:

Thank you for lending your mind to this issue!

I will let her come. My feeling is that in the interest of informed consent, she should tell people about her STI before playing with them--which will likely cut out most potential partners.

Given what you say about the very low risk of transmission, is that asking too much?

Now, disclosure and informed consent are two push-button issues for me. I feel (and frequently verbalize) that people need to take responsibility for their own sexual health. Educate yourself to the risks, find a level of risk you're comfortable with, and stick to it. Don't assume anyone's status (unless you're assuming they have every infection under the sun). Don't assume your partner will disclose (or disclose honestly, even when asked). Don't assume your disclosure will prompt reciprocation. Don't assume your partner knows his/her/hir status. Don't assume your own status.

Additionally, you are responsible for your level of risk, including your level of information. If you are not asking questions, you do not have the right to know (although the information may be offered, it is a privilege). Informed consent is not so much about shared information between partners, but rather the knowledge level of each individual partner. I feel the same way about herpes or hpv as I do about hiv.

Someone who wants to bottom bareback (without a condom, that's what the "bb" means on all those acronyms, bbbj, bbfs, etc) knows they are placing themselves at risk for a variety of infections, including hiv (the big daddy of sexually transmitted infections, the one everyone is worried about, and the one that is easiest to prevent transmission of). They are responsible to inquire as to their partner's status, and have the right to request details of most recent test date and risk activities in the window period prior and since. I believe that an hiv positive person can top without a condom without volunteering their status, if their status has not been inquired (I'm not saying they should or shouldn't, but that's their choice; although they are legally obligated in certain states). An individual is only responsible for their own informed consent and sexual health.

Now, this does not mean I believe people should knowingly endanger their partners. Answer honestly to the best of your abilities. But it is impossible to ever really know all the details of your infection status (see testing section below).

So, Jefferson's reply got me a little razzed. I wrote back:
my feeling on the matter is if a person isn't asking everyone they go up to at the party if they have an sti, then their partners are not responsible for the silent person's sexual health. i believe she is not obligated to tell anyone (even you). this is only emphasized by the low risk of transmission. she thinks differently and will probably disclose (or at least has already begun to disclose by outing herself to you).

the fact that she is aware of her status and gets screened regularly and knows her body, she's probably putting herself at greater risk by fucking all your guests who may only occasionally get tested, if at all, without inquiring their status (assumes anyone else will also disclose).

would you allow a person to attend your party if they were hiv positive? would it matter if it was a woman or a man? how do you know no one with hiv has attended already? have you inquired as to the last time your guests were tested and listed the various stis one can be tested for (cause many you have to ask specifically, especially for boys)?

plus, i know its cliche and simultaneously melodramatic and under-estimating, but everyone has herpes and hpv in one strain or another. i have had cancor sores along my gum lines since i was an itty bitty child. this is a strain of herpes. one that could potentially be passed to a partner even with an unwrapped blowjob if i happened to have one in my cheek that i didn't think about. if you have ever had a cancor sore or a cold sore, you also have herpes. and you are just as likely to pass it on to your guests as nadia.


He ponders and replies (don't you love posts with email chains):
Very good points. I think in this case, Nadia is guided by her own ethics to inform people, which sets my mind at ease somewhat. I just feel a little burdened by my responsibilities as host.

And you are right: while we do tell everyone that is a "d/d free" group, we don't ask for evidence of recent testing. That may be unrealistic, given that we are not closed to new members. I don't lose sleep, though, because I watch closely, and everyone plays safe, if not by the most rigid guidelines (ie unprotected oral sex).

Under no conditions would I knowingly permit an HIV positive person to attend. Just as I wouldn't attend a poz party.

At this point, steam began coming from my ears. So I left my computer for the night, watched the sandlot with Dacia, slept, did work for the office, went to the dyke knitting circle, wrote my take-home Spanish test, and realized I was still pissed off about this. At that point, the blogging etiquette kicked in. I sent little heads-up emails to Jefferson and Nadia, inquired requested pseudonyms, and prepped them. (Jefferson, sweetie. I still love you. I am just very frustrated right now. Nadia, darling. You are a saint and a martyr. Not fun, but very admirable). Then I started writing what has become this eight page essay, until two in the morning last night. I completed and edited it this morning. Now, posted for your viewing pleasure.

So, here comes the meat and potatoes (yes, there's more).

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the facts

Sexually transmitted infections ("stis", formerly known and occasionally referred to as sexually transmitted diseases or stds) are a part of a sexually active lifestyle. If you are having sex (including oral sex) you are potentially exposing yourself to a variety of infections. All of these infections can be treated, and many can be cured. However, most of these infections also carry a social stigma.

the stats

HPV: Studies suggest that three quarters of the adult American population has been infected with HPV. Similar to herpes, HPV can not be tested for without symptoms present (including cervical dysplasia that the individual may not be aware of). Consequently, most people with HPV do not know they have it.

Herpes: Over 45 million Americans have the strain of herpes called HSV-2. Furthermore, up to 80 percent of Americans have the strain of herpes associated with cold sores and cancor sores. Previously HIV-1 was synonymous with "oral herpes". However, HSV-1 can be transmitted to the genitals via oral sex. Consequently, "oral herpes" and "genital herpes" no longer differentiates between HSV-1 and HSV-2 but refers to the area of outbreaks. Finally, it is estimated that four out of five people with herpes do not know that they have it.

Chlamydia: According to plannedparenthood.org, three million American women and men become infected with chlamydia every year. Chlamydia is:
four times as common as gonorrhea
more than 30 times as common as syphilis
most common among women and men under 25
For every person with herpes, there are six with chlamydia.
Also, Chlamydia infections are asymptomatic (don't present any pus or painful urination or other fun side effects of an infection) for 75 percent of women and 50 percent of men with Chlamydia. It can lead to infertility and crippling arthiritis if undiagnosed and untreated.

HIV: More than 40,000 men and women contract HIV each year. It is estimated that one third of people with HIV do not know they have it.

This is a very condensed list of the "top three" infections and everybody's favorite, HIV. The point being: many people have sexually transmitted infections AND many people do not know that they have sexually transmitted infections.

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"d/d free" my ass

I hate the phrase "d/d free" almost as much as I hate the term "abstinence". They are both open to interpretation and no two people define them in the same manner. And they both provide a false sense of security. I know some of you are out their scratching your heads (or your asses), saying "d/d free, huh?" To define, "d/d free" is web/personals slang for "drug and disease free". The fact that some of you don't know what it means illustrates point one: never assume someone knows what the fuck you're talking about, especially when speaking in acronyms.

Now, breaking it down. What exactly is "drug free"? Or even more basic, what qualifies as a "'drug"? Pot, Viagra, ridalyn, adderal, alcohol, tobacco, poppers, meth, ecstasy, coke, uppers, downers, xanax, heroin… At this particular series of parties, there is open alcohol, tobacco, pot, and ecstasy use, not to mention the occasional person who wanders in already having popped a pill or done a line. At other "d/d free" parties, I have seen poppers and Viagra passed between guests like a hor'dors (I have no idea how to spell this word, sorry). Where is the proverbial line drawn that divides the "social drugs" from the "real drugs" implied in "d/d free"?

So, if "drug free" isn't enforced, how can one assume that the "disease free" portion will be adhered to?

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"getting tested"

Can we ever really know our sexually transmitted infection status? Only in two situations. The first involves having a history absent of all sexual behavior, including kissing (even with parents and family members) and assumes the mother was not infected at the time of birth. The second is having every known sexually transmitted infection actively presenting itself and its symptoms. But what about getting tested?

First, you are not automatically tested for anything, even at your yearly physical. If you ask to "be tested" for stis (sexually transmitted infections, in case I haven't defined that earlier), chances are you will be swabbed for gonorrhea and Chlamydia, and have blood taken for syphilis and maybe hepatitis, if you have a good health care provider. You must specifically request to be tested for hiv (this is a legal issue as a positive test is reported to the DOH in most states and all AIDS diagnoses are reported to the CDC). But what about HPV and herpes? Well, chicks can have a pap smear to check for cervical lesions caused by some strains of hpv (see my "hpv and me" post for more info), and if you can find a health care provider with the equipment and the savvy, anyone can have an anal pap. But you can only be tested for the hpv strains that cause genital warts when warts are present. Similarly, you can only be tested for herpes when lesions are present (although there is a blood test now available, it is hard to find access to and is more often used for typing herpes as hsv1 or hsv2 for purposes of treatment than original diagnosis due to cost efficacy issues).

Additionally, several sexually transmitted infections have "window periods". This is the time between initial infection to the point that one tests positive. During this period, one can transmit the infection to partners but would receive negative test results. The most notable window period is the three months for hiv. Moral of the story? You can not assumed that because you have been tested you are free of sexually transmitted infections.

Furthermore, asking, "have you been tested?" is not specific enough to garner any worthwhile information. One must ask, "when were you last tested?" "what were you tested for?" (if they answer "everything" quiz them, "gonorrhea, Chlamydia, hiv, syphilis, herpes [throw that in there to trip them up], hepatitis, etc?") "did you engage in risk activities in the three months prior to testing?" "have you engaged in any risk activities since being tested?" And, ultimately, what do the answers mean? I find it easier to assume that everyone has everything, and protect myself according to my own levels of comfortable risk. Which brings us to our next point.

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"safER sex"

Remember "safe sex"? That phrase that helped America get its groove back post 1980's hiv-induced panic. You know, wear a condom and everything will be fine. Well, as George Bush and his buddies like to remind us, "the only safe sex is no sex". I think this may be the sole point Georgie boy and I agree upon. Sex is not safe. It is a series of risks. Personal, emotional, and physical. The physical risks include the risk of infection. Consequently, the sex savvy cohort may have notices a recent shift in vernacular.

In the past few years, "safe sex" has grown up and become "safer sex". Safer sex is more than using a rubber. The term encompasses a plethora of risk-reduction behaviors. From withdrawal to latex-encased-elbow-rubbing, the spectrum of safer sex is infinite and shifting. For example, condoms coupled with withdrawal are highly effective for reducing the risk of transmission of hiv and preventing pregnancy, however doesn't offer shit for an open herpes sore outside the condom with direct skin-to-skin contact at every ball-to-ass-smack.

For a comprehensive list of which activities put you at risk for what, check out http://www.dph.sf.ca.us/sfcityclinic/stdbasics/stdchart.asp. My only criticism of the chart is the combination of the strains of hpv linked to warts and the other twenty some odd strains, including those that can lead to cervical dysplasia. Lesson, wearing condoms for all penetrative vaginal and anal intercourse does not insulate the group from infection.

Furthermore, suggesting that closing the party to new members would serve to eliminate the risk of infection is naïve at best. Although limiting the number of immediate partners could somewhat reduce the risk, it is hardly an effective means of prevention. A sex party group is not insular. Most people who attend sex parties, also have multiple partners outside of that particular event. Think of it as the cast for a porn flick. How does hiv occasionally make it's way into one of the most heavily tested populations on the planet? Via risk activities with outside partners. Even by closing the guest list, there will still be risk.

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The frustration

It is so frustrating when people that I know and care about, whom I have spoken with and answered questions and handed brochures and references for years, can still fail to internalize the information. If Jefferson is still thinking like this after three years of me, how can I expect to impact anyone in a single workshop or class. Argh!

23 Comments:

Blogger Jefferson said...

Take heart, dear Jane. The fact that your friends have such an open dialogue on these issues--as concerns of public health and ethics--suggests that they aren't as ignorant as all that. And that's one reason we come to you: to take advantage of your great knowledge and concern for these issues, and for your friends.

But don't overstate your case. I agree that phrases like "d/d free" are of limited use. But the fact that you have seen people smoke cigarettes or drink wine at a party--as opposed to PNP, coke, etc.--suggests that a reasonable standard is being applied. Perhaps tobacco is a "drug," but we make the point in screening attendees that ours is not a drug scene, and it works.

I can't speak for all groups, but ours is very responsible about safer sex. Condoms, gloves etc. won't provide the same level of protection as abstinence, of course, but we follow the rules and play safe. The safer alternative would be to stay home and not attend such parties. But if one is going to play in groups, safety is key.

12/20/2004 2:23 PM  
Blogger Jane Vincent said...

The essence of safer sex is finding a level of risk that you are comfortable with. The thing that troubles me is when people don't adhere to their stated level of comfort.

For example, you feel Nadia should disclose her latent herpes to all potential partners at the party. However, I have seen you with cold sores, my dear. By eating the pussy and sucking the cock of your dear guests you are putting them at the same level of risk, and without "informed consent".

and the point with "d/d free" is that you do not define it. You do not state "alcohol and cigarettes and pot are fine and welcome, just smoke on the balcony. Pop your downers or your e before you enter the door, and everything is hunky doory. Just don't show up with tracks." Plus, in terms of enforcement, you are sloshed to high heavens throughout the party, so hardly one to regulate other's behaviors.

You point about safer sex practices is exactly what I mean. People attending these parties are accepting a level of risk. All I'm asking is that you know what you're getting into. And if you're fine with the levels of safer sex adhered to, it shouldn't make a difference if a person has asymptomatic anything, rather it's chlamydia, herpes, or hiv.

I'm not trying to judge you or tell you how you should or shouldn't act. I'm just voicing my opinion at the hypocrisy of the situation and the whole slut scene (of which i am a proud member) in general.

12/20/2004 3:01 PM  
Blogger Librarian Babe said...

Thank you Jane for your support and never ending efforts to educate people. I'm glad you're on my team.

The more I've realized that I'll be stigmatized while others could be walking in with cold sores in their mouths, latent herpes they know nothing about, chlamydia they don't know they have (I tested negative quite recently - when have any of the other attendes even been tested??), not-visible-to-the-naked-eye genital warts INSIDE they know nothing about, or even HIV picked up from some bareback partner last week that they wouldn't even mention to us.... it makes my blood boil.

I've had many conversations with a good friend about how the group sex community, the very people who should be knowledgeable and always practice safer sex are often the most ignorant.

Personally, I plan to go. May or may not divulge my status. But knowing that so many people there practice unsafe oral sex with each other I'll be demanding barriers for giving oral to anyone. (I'm willing to take the risk that comes from recieving - I'm also willing to use a barrier should anyone want to. The risk of genital to oral type 2 herpes transmission is pretty low.)

And if people are smoking pot and taking ecstacy - drug free my ass!!! What a farce. I've taken ecstacy. While it's lots of fun it more than counts for a "drug." It highly affects your judgement and how you interact with people.

And if my host has had cold sores and goes down on people bareback - then if he wants me to give informed consent he has to as well. We'll do it together Jefferson. Type 1 herpes transmitted via oral to genital contact is on the rise!!!! You're far more likely to give them that than I am giving them type 2 by letting them go down on me bare.

Down with ignorance! Protect yourself. Ignorance can kill.

12/20/2004 3:56 PM  
Blogger Jefferson said...

I'm not quite sure where this discussion has headed, but I should clarify a few things pertaining to this particular group.

I can't imagine when you have seen me with cold sores, Jane. Chapped lips maybe? I don't get cold sores. So far as my most recent testing, I do not have herpes type 1, as Nadia believes you have suggested.

So far as I know, ecstasy as never been used at my gatherings. It certainly hasn't been used openly; I recognize its effects, and haven't seen them displayed. I've seen pot offered twice in the past year, and declined by everyone. Poppers are banned. It isn't a hard edge party, but it isn't a drug scene at all.

A few of us drink, but I'm haven't seen myself or others "sloshed to high heavens." The use of alcohol and tobacco is consistent with what one might reasonably expect to encounter at any adult party. A guest adamently opposed to the use of alcohol would be forewarned by the invitation's advice to "BYOB." Those who don't smoke (myself included) take heart that smoking is limited to an outdoor space.

I am happy to contribute to a discussion about health issues and sex parties, but not when that discussion includes falsehoods about our specific gatherings or my personal health.

12/20/2004 4:56 PM  
Blogger Jane Vincent said...

fine. your lips were chapped. i don't what this to seem like a personal attack.

you have written in your blog about your darling marla coming to the first party on downers. you do drink quite heavily. there have been open remarks made about ecstasy. and pot has been posted on the balcony. yes, these are parts of an adult gathering. i am not protesting their existence. however, they do not make for a drug free environment. these parties do not have a defined or enforced standard of "drug free".

so if half of the phrase isn't adhered to, how can one expect the other half as well? is there a range of sti's permissible? are those with low risk of transmission via activities and safer sex guidelines admitted? have you asked your female guests about prior abnormal pap smears?

sexually transmitted infections are a part of a sexually active lifestyle. they are normal. they are nothing to be ashamed of or stigmatized. recognizing and treating an infection should not be punished while those who do not get tested or are unaware of the risks or symptoms presented are assumed pristine.

it is the hypocrisy of the situation that aggravates me. the idea that we are practicing safer sex and reducing risks, not eliminating risk, hasn't been emotionally internalized for most of us. so when a situation where our levels of comfortable risk are challenged, ex. a potential sex partner discloses infection status, that forces either acceptance or cognitive dissonance. playing with an asymptomatic partner with herpes is no more or less risky than playing with any other asymptomatic person that has never presented herpes lesions (for example, you, dear jefferson). there is no test for herpers or genital warts, unless you have them. so, how do you know that you or your partner(s) are not asymptomatic? you don't.

12/20/2004 5:26 PM  
Blogger Jefferson said...

We are not disagreeing at all.

12/20/2004 5:37 PM  
Blogger Dacia said...

Ok.

Here's what I would like to point out at this juncture: there is a lot being said about risk reduction, et cetera. I would like to remind everyone that a big part of risk reduction lies in personal risk assessment. This is a challenging thing at a sex party, because unless you require certain precautions across the board, everyone will do what they think is best for them - or they may just do what they see everyone else doing.

And, honestly, that is part of what went into mine and Dirck’s decision to go condomless for oral last time we were at Jefferson’s party. Although we use condoms for blow jobs when we are with other people, often in group situations we do not. The basic rationalization (sic) for this was that neither of us uses dental dams – and if there were going to be covered blow jobs for, but uncovered pussy licking/blowjobs with everyone else, it was a false sense of security.

This is just one of the complexities of safer sex – a person may not follow their own guidelines every single time.

But anyway, where I was trying to get with this is that I think we can all agree that it is good to be as informed as possible. It is good to be tested to the extent possible. However, no safer sex method other than abstinence or thorough monogamy with a likewise clean person will keep you safe. That said, although a lot of the stats and uncertainty are about oral stuff, and on the scale of things oral is one of the less risky activities. People do oral unprotected because 1. the risk is less but also (acceptable level of risk) 2. they are uneducated. Take your pick.

12/20/2004 8:47 PM  
Blogger Garrison Steelle said...

While the circumstances invoking your frustration are regretable, I GREATLY appreciate the tenor of your post! Sex and risk are inseperable. Always have been. Unprotected sex was just as foolish in the 50's as it is now.

That being said, I would sooner fuck Nadia, with full knowledge of her infection and its potentials, than the casual person I might happen to meet at a club or party. Nadia has a conscience. I know she takes HER health seriously and that inherently reduces the risk, despite the misinformed stigma, over someone who flits from fuck to fuck without giving the matter a second thought.

Besides, Nadia has great boobs. ;)

I'm linking back to you on this one.

-G

12/21/2004 12:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there. I was sent over from Garrison's site but want to remain anonymous, thanks.

I have herpes and would like to add that I have done many many researches on the subject and keep coming up with the same information. The few things I have read either say, you're only contagious right before or during an outbreak and when shedding. Now, I've also read some places you only shed a few times a year. I read somewhere else that you shed all the time.

I think it's safe to say, don't take any risks unless you're in a committed long term relationship and the partner is willing to risk transmission.

I just wanted to state that because it sounded like it we mentioned a few times (once in Nadia email to Jeffereson "I'm probably not contagious, but of course I can't ever guarantee".......... she probably is always contagious or should at least assume she is and therefore ALWAYS where a condom.) and again when you were writing back to Jefferson when you said "this is only emphasized by the low risk of transmission". Did you mean herpes has a low risk? If so, I don't believe that to be true.

I've given it to a partner and I did not have an outbreak, it was an unfortunate situation that I insisted on wearing the condom and he didn't.

Anyway, that's my view.

12/22/2004 2:09 AM  
Blogger Jane Vincent said...

Thank you so much for your reply.

You bring up good points. "low risk" does not mean "no risk". Studies show that sero-discordant couples (one has herpes and one doesn't) who engage in unprotected (no condoms or barriers of any kind) sex (most likely vaginal intercourse in these studies, but they didn't define "sex" in the journal articles) for a full calendar year have a four to ten percent rate of transmission (not a one time risk, but over the entire year).

Condoms and other latex and polyurethane (as well as plastic, for example plastic wrap when used as a dental dam for eating pussy or rimming) barriers can reduce to the skin-to-skin exposure and reduce the likelihood of coming in contact with shedding cells. "FC - Female condoms" (formerly known as "reality" which led to a really great brochure: "what should i do if reality slips out of place?" "will reality have a negative impact on my sex life?") cover more skin with the rim (covering the labia or surrounding perinium) and further reduce the skin to skin contact.

Yes, a person can contract herpes from an asymptomatic partner. But that is exactly the point. Any partner could be asymptomatic. So universal precautions can be taken across the board of sex partners (not isolating or stigmatizing those that know their status and disclose over those that are unsure at best).

*side note* my rant pertains to asymptomatic partners. if a potential partner has a sore or lesion or wart (which they might not even know about), please let them know in a *sensitive* manner that they should have that checked out by a health care provider. presentation of symptoms greatly increases the risk of transmission of herpes, hpv of the genital wart variety, syphilis, and mulluscum contagiosum. do not feel obligated to have sex with a partner presenting symptoms in the name of universal precaution. but do not stigmatize that partner or degrade them.

thank you.

12/22/2004 12:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I probably should find the sites I found this info on, but I wrote to Nadia, telling her that I have read somewhere that even though you might not get out breaks, I've read some web sites that say you're ALWAYS shedding... and some sites say you only shed a few days a year.

Even if you call the 800-227-8922 STD hotline, they'll probably say they "don't really know" because there is so little information on it.

Now those partners you say who did not get infected over months or years with no protection... was the infected person taking something like Valtrex? Does it state that in the studies?

Dating a guy for two years, and only knowingly had one outbreak, we didn't use a condom three times out of the two years, and he got it. Sucks. I checked myself and didn't see anything or have any typical symptoms... so either I was shedding or had a very mild outbreak that I didn't know about. (which is the biggest problem)

I really try not to listen to what doctors say either, I don't trust them all that much, they don't seem to really see H as a big problem... but people who have it, do!

12/23/2004 3:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, but do you trust random websites that contradict eachother, or do you trust our highly educated sex educator and slut? If your that interested, why don't you ask Jane for some references to scientific journal articles?

So, Jane, how did it go with Jefferson and Nadia? Enquiring minds wanna know!

Ember

12/23/2004 4:13 PM  
Blogger Jane Vincent said...

anonymous number one, plannedparenthood.org just updated their herpes brochure (in late november, i have a friend on staff) so check it out http://www.plannedparenthood.org/sti/herpes.htm. if you want specific references, please email me directly at the_educated_slut@yahoo.com. i'd be happy to hook you up and i promise the utmost discretion. in brief, an individual with herpes is not continuously shedding; however, since asymptomatic shedding is possible, there is no way to be sure whether or not someone is shedding. of the sero-discordant couples studies i mentioned, one did include a group on viral-supressant therapy (like valtrex) which was found to further decrease the risk of transmission. however, the four to 10 percent transmission figure is for nonmedicated individuals for one year (think of it in terms of pregnancy stats: the chance of pregnancy resulting from a single act of vaginal intercourse in the second or third week of the menstrual cycle is about eight in one hundred; however, the rate of pregnancy for a year of unprotected intercourse is in the upper seventies-lower eighties. that four to twn figure is the yearly rate of transmission, so single occurance is much less. however, i continue to emphasize that low risk is not no risk. you and your partners must ultimately make the decision of safer sex practices for yourself.
tidbit: never have sex on an outbreak even with a condom or barrier as it can irritate the sores and they can shed outside the covered area. also, the suggested period of sexual refrain during an outbreak has been extended from the point the sores completely heal and the scabs fall off, to seven days after the sores completely heal and the scabs fall off.

in terms of nadia and jefferson, they were able to reconcile and nadia will be attending a future party. unfortunatly, she missed this week's due to an accident during pubic grooming (ouch!)

i'm with the fam for the holidays and have limited access. i have also had my computer returned, but it is still broken (pout). so expect the stacato entry pattern to continue for a little while longer.

12/27/2004 1:17 PM  
Blogger Noémi said...

I am impressed by both what you have to say and the way you say it. Initially I bookmarked your page for future references and to check for updates. I recognize a lot of you in myself, except for I used to be what you call an ignorant slut. I always thought I was as safe as I could be untill you opened my eyes a little further. I have been thoroughly tested not too long ago, all returned negative. But I never realized how lucky I have been untill "the ignorant sluts".

Having said that, I was talking to a friend last night who is considering swinging and/or group sex. His perception of safe sex was so very wrong that I made him read this post, hoping he would realize what "acceptable risks" really are. In addition I put a link on my blog to yours, so more people can read about what risks they are taking regardless of what their sex lives look like.

Should you for any reason want me to remove that link, please let me know and I will do so.

With that, all I have left to say is that I think you are doing a great job, and I love the way you write.

12/29/2004 12:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure anyone needs the 2 cents from an outsider here, but I found the above post so contradictory, I had to weigh in with a response. While I can appreciate the need to fight off the stigma placed on those responsible enough to even bother getting tested (let alone admit to it when questioned) I can't see much rational logic in expecting a partner to ask the magical questions that would entitle them to know what risk they're exposing themselves to. There's a lot of ignorant and irresponsible behavior going around, so why play to that lowest common denominator by furthering the problem? If they're being careless, why can't you be careless too? I mean, knowing you have the STI doesn't give you a higher moral ground to continue such risky behavior just because it's commonplace. How can we prevent HIV if we're encouraging it's victims to assert their right towards privacy in such a dangerous instance? Prevention through education must come first, and in the instance of herpes, sure everyone has some form of it, but when few even understand that oral sex has any risk at all, teaching acceptance needs to be secondary to prevention. We know there's a statistic for every argument, but the bottom line is, oral sex isn't safe. There are health risks. The lesser or two evils approach to safe sex isn't so smart when we don't really know what we're dealing with to begin with(theories on HIV alone are inconclusive.) Here you have someone willing to use barriers, that's brave enough to admit the possible health risks, and you're saying there's no reason she should be required to. The hyprocrisy in your community sounds like an important issue that would be best dealt with in better ways then theoretically defending the right of a HIV+ person to endanger his partners by keeping his health status a secret. Worse, you're saying that as long as everyone else acts carelessly, with an improper education about what being safe means, there is some justification to encourage MORE possible viral transmission? Say what? Isn't this really about your own boldness to come out and admit to a diagnosis of HPV, while unwilling to restrain yourself to a doomed life of chastity? Outside of the sex party, and sex trade world, people do not take kindly towards being asked the specifics of their sex lives, and testing history. Even if they claim to be clean, they could lie, or just be misinformed about their status. Playing dumb only adds to the cycle that breeds such societal stigmas! It's your responsibility to act... well... responsible. Even if it cramps your sex life, god forbid. That's a little more sensible then focusing on the empowerment of those victimized by the state of health care misinformation floating around.

1/01/2005 5:29 AM  
Blogger Jane Vincent said...

actually, what i'm saying is that:
first, people need to educate themselves to their risks.
then, they need to behave in a manner concordant to their level of acceptable risk.

agreed, people don't like to be asked questions about their sex lives. but if the questions are not being asked, then the answers must be assumed positive. consequently, when a partner volunteers information, that should be appreciated, not punished.

the burden of sexual health lies upon the individual, not their partners. you are responsible for your own sexual health status.

i am not advocated those of us infected with various sti's go on a rampage to vindictively infect the rest of the world. but one of the interesting and neat things about safer sex is that it usually offers a degree of protection to both partners. so, if i'm concerned about gonorrhea and decide to use condoms for sucking cock and gettting fucked, i'm also reducing the risk of gonorrhea for the partner whose cock i'm scking and whose doing the fucking. call it a bonus. but it is not an obligation or a responsibility.

1/03/2005 6:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reading your blog has educated me alot.
While I'm not as liberal in my sex life, Im not a prude. My wife had an affair and did not disclose her having herpes to her partner.
I went to the doctor and was tested, and made her go as well. We have a family after all!
No sex is the safest, unfortunately.
Keep up the good work, I'm going to be a frequent visitor.

1/03/2005 6:50 PM  
Blogger .... said...

Do you ever wonder how many people in our industry have std's that they are cognizant of, but purposely do not disclose said information because "well, it's just a prostitute" or "who cares..I wont get any business if I tell people and it is not like they didn't know the risks"..

It sends a chill up my spine to think of just HOW MANY people there may be out there who know they have diseases and frequent prostitutes....It is amazing to me how if you sell your services that suddenly you no longer have an IDENTITY, just a pussy...

1/10/2005 1:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great discussion. The english teacher in me has but one thing to add:

It's "canker," not "cancor."

1/20/2005 2:41 PM  
Blogger Lil said...

I'm surprised you didn't mention the HPV-DNA Pap test. It can tell you if you're positive or negative for many specific strains of HPV. I insisted on getting that done when I had my last screening, along with gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, hepatitis B, and HIV. My insurance wouldn't cover the herpes blood test unless my doctor specifically requested it, and since I've never had a cold sore, canker sore, or any skin outbreaks that weren't obviously zits or ingrown hairs, she didn't think it was warranted. I can't say that I'm definitely one of the few who's never caught a herpes or HPV virus, but considering I'm 35 and hyper-vigilant about safer sex, STI screening, and vetting the responsibility of prospective partners, I don't tend to worry as much as I did when I was 18 (back in the Stone Age, 1987) and the news media had everyone convinced that most people who weren't monogamous for life with one person would die of AIDS.

1/20/2005 10:03 PM  
Blogger Beverly said...

I absolutely love your blog. I just stumbled across it thanks to the Kinky Librarian. I have been a lifelong "sex therapist" for my friends as I have made it a point to keep myself as educated as possible... it is a passion for me. I have also considered it as a career but decided on something less personal, while still being available to friends and family.

Anyway - my point is that this is a wonderful blog and resource for others, and I plan to become a regular reader. THANK YOU!

2/13/2005 8:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you arnt just a fucking fool,
your a fucking peice of shit to boot.
if you have any problem with that truth.
im avalibile at my wayneea90@yahoo.com
you mother fucking peice of shit.

4/06/2005 9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hello everyone,
i too have recently joined the many of us infected with hpv, and i've also had the colposcopy and biopsy done. i've read so much about the disease but there's still so much that i don't know for sure. some say that the disease is there forever(my GYN and her NP), but then i read that your immune system gets it under control and it clears up on it's own.???? i'm so confused, she's my doc and i'm sure she knows her stuff, but my hopes are that she's wrong and what i've read holds all the truth i need. this is such a scary time for me and i'm falling apart...HELP!
sorry for running on:-)
michelle p

9/19/2005 2:59 AM  

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