How Will Stella Get Her Glow Back
Thank you for your contribution to HIV disclosure to sex partners.
Earlier this week I was out with some friends having coffee. I casually mentioned to one of them how good she looked. Not that she doesn’t always look good, but she looked different on that particular occasion, she was exceptionally beautiful, radiant and content. I asked if she was on her way out to an event after coffee. She said no and mentioned her rendez-vous earlier in the day with a “friend with benefits”, and commented on how she had not realized how a relationship like this could be so convenient.
I listened, intently, as she explained how the fine glow she had was from sex earlier that day. She described how she looked at herself in the mirror after her love making session and said “I am beautiful. I feel so sensual and soft. I am glowing. What a wonderful,warm feeling.” She said it was also so liberating to be able to talk dirty in her mother tongue – Italian. (I assume her friend with benefits is Italian as well, maybe not). We all know how that after glow makes us feel and I most certainly could relate, as I listened enthusiastically to her story. She then asked us jokingly – “So, are you getting any?” Everyone gave their responses, one said they had to choose between three, mine was a nonsensical short rambling which culminated into – no and the other friend is on a short hiatus from sex. This group of friends are not yet aware that I am living with HIV and I am not sure when I will tell them.
I am not sure if she would have been forthcoming with the story had she known my status, as she may have altruistically remained awkwardly silent, to spare my feelings. I have experienced in the past how my few HIV negative friends who do know my HIV status want to be sensitive to my feelings and at times alter discussions in a protective way to shield me from the realities of living with HIV. In doing so I suspect I miss out on some steamy conversations where they get down and dirty, because poor Stella isn’t getting any. It is all well intended.
On this particular occasion I got a visceral reaction, free of anything relating to HIV, as my friend assumed I would be getting my glow on soon. After listening to her candid depiction I felt free, like a normal woman, as I got lost momentarily and reminisced about when I too had a glow on most of the time. A situation I often took for granted as I assumed no human being could live without it. I forgot that I was Stella with HIV, who isn’t getting any. I forgot I was Stella trying to live in a somewhat compartmentalized fashion that is becoming more simplified with time.
I want my glow back. I know people living with HIV who have it back therefore it is not all doom and gloom.I do listen intently to their narratives when we meet from time to time.I will not give up on challenging the complexities of disclosing HIV status to sex partners until every person living with HIV gets their glow back. The glow which makes us feel alive and connected as human beings.
In the meantime I am going to eat as many desserts as I want, get out Wanda, read the classified section of Le Voir for erotic ads, as I recharge my energy levels for another round of online and real time, casual dating.