One of the most painful, and yet overlooked aspects of sex outside marriage is emotional scars. What might start as fun, exciting and romantic can end in a lifetime of painful memories. The silent torment which can last a life time is illustrated in the following true story which was recently submitted to Aim for Success.
I was married at the age of 31. My husband, a physician, was 27. He gave me the gift of his virginity the night we were married. My gift to him was herpes. Soon after our honeymoon he broke out with sores on his penis. He suspected it was herpes and later had it confirmed. Sadly, he broke the news to me. I was devastated. You see, I had no idea I had herpes. Although I am a carrier of the disease I have never had any symptoms. I gave birth to our children with no side effects to them. I consider this a miracle indeed. I don’t know of a greater wedding gift a person can give their spouse than the gift of their virginity. Unfortunately, before I met my husband I lived a very promiscuous lifestyle and was unable to give this great gift to him. I have reaped what I have sown in many ways, not just physically, but spiritually, emotionally and psychologically. We have now been married many years, and when my husband suffers the physical discomfort, he rarely mentions it to me, but I know. Sadly, the love of my life still bears the consequences of my wrong doing.
This is a story of pain. His pain is physical, hers is emotional. Both are incurable. And yet, both were preventable. Had she chosen abstinence until marriage, as he did, they could have enjoyed a lifetime of sexual intimacy without the regrets of premarital sex.
Herpes: The Gift that Keeps on Giving
Jennifer was seventeen when she gave her virginity to Brian, the love of her life. One month later she developed painful blisters around her sexual area. She was devastated when her doctor told her she had herpes. By passing this infection on, Brian has made it possible for Jennifer to join the ranks of twenty million other Americans who have herpes, a sexually transmitted disease.
Although Brian and Jennifer are infected with the same disease, their results have been different. Jennifer is experiencing painful blisters almost every month. The first outbreak, which was the worst, also included flu-like symptoms. Since then, she has found that stress, her menstrual cycle, and tight jeans tend to trigger new outbreaks. Since herpes is a virus, Jennifer cannot be cured of this sexually transmitted disease. With time, the blisters may eventually stop appearing, or Jennifer may deal with these sores off and on the rest of her life. Her doctor can prescribe a medication called Zovirax. This is not a cure for herpes, but up to seventy-five percent of those who use Zovirax have reduced outbreaks of sores. Although this medication may bring temporary relief, it is an expensive drug.
Not everyone who has herpes deals with the painful blisters. In fact, seventy-five percent of those infected with herpes are asymptomatic. They have no signs, no symptoms, but they are contagious. Brian was asymptomatic. He had no idea he had a sexually transmitted disease until he infected Jennifer. He had sex with two other girls before he met Jennifer. Obviously, one of those girls had herpes. Brian may never have an outbreak of the sores, or it might be months or years before they begin to appear.
Brian and Jennifer will not die from herpes. Other than the discomfort of the reoccurring blisters, Jennifer will probably have no other complications. However, Brian and Jennifer will always know they have an incurable sexually transmitted disease. Many people find this embarrassing. When Jennifer has children she will need to be concerned about their health and well being. Sixty-five percent of herpes infected babies die, and only ten percent of those who survive will be normal. Therefore, it may be necessary for Jennifer to deliver her children by cesarean to make sure they do not come into contact with the herpes infection during the birthing process.
Unfortunately, Brian did not end up being the love of Jennifer’s life. Three months after she contracted herpes, they broke up. Now, Brian and Jennifer will need to realize they could continue to spread this incurable disease through future intimate relationships. Sexual intercourse is not the only way to spread a sexually transmitted disease. A person can become infected by touching or kissing the infected areas. Of course, they might reduce the chances of spreading this disease by using a condom. However, a condom does little to protect a person from herpes, since the virus often appears in the pubic and groin areas.
Jennifer is also facing another problem she probably never considered. As she enters new relationships, she is concerned about when she should tell the person she has herpes. Should she tell each new boyfriend within the first few dates that she has an incurable sexually transmitted disease? Should she wait until she knows this is a serious relationship, or should she just never tell anyone?
Questions to Ponder
- When should Jennifer reveal to other men that she has a sexually transmitted disease?
- What emotional impact might this ordeal have on Jennifer’s self-esteem, her respect for men, and her feelings toward sex?
- Would it be helpful if Jennifer now developed the self-control, self-respect, and self-discipline necessary to live a sexually abstinent lifestyle until marriage? Would it be easy?
- If Jennifer were capable of changing her past, do you think she would still choose to give Brian her virginity, or save herself for her husband on their wedding night?
Taken from: “Tips on Encouraging Sexual Purity,” a monthly publication distributed by Aim For Success, Inc.