Hoo boy – this is going to be fun to write. I say that because I’m writing on a rather personal topic, and I know for a fact that close friends and a colleague have this link. So… enjoy this one, friends!
On June 9, 2014, I received my HIV diagnosis. From that day forward, I have been single and I have been abstinent. Both of these things have been choices I’ve made for my own well-being and at first, the abstinence decision was made from a place of fear – fear of infecting someone else, fear of disclosure and stigma, etc. With my health under control, my mental health returning and my ability to be able to focus outward more than inward lately, I’ve thought about dating a little bit; but having thought about it, I’ve also made a decision about it.
At the best of times, dating just fucking sucks. Having to have those awkward “what kind of music do you like?” conversations and then worrying about “when should I text?” after the fact. It’s all just uncomfortable. When I went on dates, I had a code word with a friend. If I ever sent her a text with this word, she was to immediately call me and conveniently, just like that, a “work emergency” would have come up and that would have been my escape from the date.
Outside of dating, there’s always the easy way out – skipping dating and going straight to the one-night stand (which is easier, thanks to the many apps designed for that very purpose!). While I have read the studies – all of which show that sex with positive people who are on treatment and undetectable is low-risk and safe – sex is not where my head is at. I know it’s likely shocking to hear a 27-year old man say his focus isn’t sex, but for me, it’s incredibly accurate. I’m not there because I don’t want it. I don’t need it. I’ve never been a fan of hookups in the first place because for me personally, it makes me feel cheap. I don’t judge others who feel differently, it’s just not something for me.
While I’m moving past my HIV diagnosis, I’ve decided for me that I am happier being single. I’m happier staying away from dating and I’m happier staying away from sex. That’s not to say that anyone else who is positive should follow my path and I’m far from a puritan, but I’m just more comfortable in my own skin and away from the skin of another.
This article previously appeared in Josh’s own blog The Plus Side of Life here.