It's been a few months. Lots going on.
I did stop talking with Beaker for a while which helped. We are now talking once in a while. We are finally starting to have real conversations. She actually asked about SW. Beaker had never asked about my relationship with SW after we broke up and so I never told her we had ended things sexually. She seemed surprised, I'm not sure why.
I was diagnosed with high risk HPV after an abnormal pap smear. High risk HPV is the kind that can cause cervical cancer (but not genital warts). I do not have cancer but I will need a pap smear every six months for a while. So I had to tell my current and past partners. Whip took it the best. He is young enough that he has taken the vaccine. And, of course, he's 25 and feels invincible. Oil Man was pretty freaked out about it and had lots of questions. He's more distant than ever now. Beaker felt sorry for me. SW hasn't said much to me about it.
I'm struggling on how to have safer sex with a virus that is passed via skin to skin contact, with touch. I know how to have 'avoid fluids' safer sex but am stumped on dealing with HPV (or herpes which is the other major STI passed via touch).
It doesn't help that there is a stigma about STIs. No one in my community has talked openly about STIs of any kind at all. Of course, I understand why -I don't want to talk about it openly either. I am conflicted about talking about here, and hesitated for a long time. I feel weirdly ashamed although I know I have no reason. After all, 70% of sexually active people have been exposed to the various HPV strains. I also read that if you have had 5 sexual partners in your life, then statistically, you've been exposed. Most don't develop an infection because most people's autoimmune system fights off the virus with no problem.
How do I have enjoyable sex while minimizing skin contact? Skin to skin touch is one of the main things I love about sex! Condoms help but I've been very strict about using condoms since the incident with SW and using condoms every single time did not prevent me from getting HPV. I do not want to wrap myself in barriers. But I have one of the cancer-causing strains and I do not want to pass it to a male partner who passes it on to another woman. Or if I ever have sex with a woman again.