How do you feel about people who have herpes? First of all, let's assume honesty in the discussion, meaning that someone would not be ashamed to tell you that they have it. I have to tell you that I think there is still a shame factor associated with herpes and other STDS, even in these progressive times. OK, assuming that you're the kind of person someone would share anything with - what do you really feel? Would you have a sexual relationship with this guy or gal or move on. Is it a deal breaker for you?
Well, it seems to me that (a) people are not sharing for fear of being ostracized and (b) people are not informed enough on the subject to make the best decisions when it comes to communication. As a parent who works in health, I did cover a lot of ground when it came to talking about sex with my kids. I let them know from a young age that they could bring any question to me and I did my darndest to tell the truth and give facts without judging them. That doesn't mean I didn't offer my opinion.....I did....quite often. I think kids are having sex at too young an age...I think kids do not have the correct order to their list of "things I should fear from sex...." I think kids convince themselves that one time can't have serious health consequences....I think kids share a lot of incorrect facts with each other AND think that they are the experts on the subject.
That being said, how much do you know about herpes and STDs? How comfortably can you talk about oral sex and anal sex and other sexual practices that may be foreign to you? Listen, I came from a generation where I made the comfortable decision to wait till I was 20 before having my first sexual encounter - and I was ready and informed and prepared with a condom because it was a moment we both prepared for.
Today's kids are more likely to experience on-the-spot pressure and operate under the misconception that if they don't do it - they will lose the guy or in the girl. So parents do need to figure out the right timing to talk about all the facts, and that may mean getting some overdue education. You do need to know about Herpes type 1 and 2 and HPV and AIDS and chlamydia and you need to feel comfortable enough to start conversations before your kids are likely to have sex. If you can't, then find a worthy adult who will do it for you and who will be there for the tough questions which are sure to come. Nobody ever said being a parent is easy. And no matter how uncomfortable we are with these new realities, we need to protect their future fertility and their future health, right??