Episode 96: We Just Don't Know

In my experience being transparent about my positive herpes diagnosis, I find that there’s this unspoken familiarity between people newly diagnosed and those who’ve been positive for a while making themselves accessible being vocal about their status. In this space, one can be met with some serious emotional overload from someone frantically expressing that they are now worthless and their life is over because they tested positive for herpes and now they’re contemplating how they’re going to kill themselves, to childhood trauma, to not being able to disclose to their abusive partner in fear of being attacked.


I am not a trauma specialist, psychologist, medical professional, or a therapist. I am someone who facilitates the healing of others through my own healing and being open about the process on a podcast. 


I believe in the power of connection. That has led me to this community of sex positive individuals and provided me with the support system needed not only to take all this emotional chaos in, but to be able to do something about it. This network of sexuality experts volunteer their time and experience to serve our community of people navigating a positive herpes diagnosis. 


As a black man navigating this space, I notice a lack of resources specific to the black community. In many of my exchanges with other black people I find that there is a level of distrust that a person struggles with. I’m sought out for comfort because not many people in this space look like me. Therefore there’s a natural sense of safety there. However, there’s so little representation because of fear and stigma. In fact, it’s so strong in the black community, I can’t tell you how often I’ve been sought out, asked for advice and then blocked. I imagine it’s because of fear of being found out, or thinking if their friends/followers see them connected to my pages, it’s assumed they also have herpes or any STD.


I want to help everyone. I just don’t have the letters behind my name to do so. I understand trust and safety are huge and people feel better about opening up to those who look like them. I’m very fortunate to have found someone with the letters behind her name that I can now point people to for that added comfort navigating this space. This week, I bring on Sexuality expert, Dr. Lexx Brown-James, LMFT, CSE, Founder of The Institute for Sexuality and Intimacy. We discuss the history of STIs, shame, guilt, over-sexualization of black bodies, healing sexual trauma, and just why a positive STI status hits a black people, especially black women so hard.