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Living the HIV Life

Through this blog I will be telling stories from my life. These stories will be about everything from my HIV status: what came before I was diagnosed and what came after. My sex life and the freedom and confidence in it that I now feel….and anything else I feel like writing about in-between.

I’m doing this because I’ve been told on more than one occasion that my life is like a soap opera, I thought might as well find some therapy in writing about it.

Along the way I hope to entertain, educate and inform you about what it is like contracting and living with HIV in 2018. From a point of view that you probably won’t have heard before.

I hope you find my stories helpful, educational and entertaining. Please comment if you liked a post or have a similar experience to share.

Follow me @poz_woman87

 

 

 

Crush

Having a crush is hard. Having a crush on someone who is a friend is even harder.

I’ve been very distracted lately because this is what has been going on in my life. These feelings are unrequited. I know this because some time ago I asked the question about us dating and they said they want to be just friends. This was hard at the time, but I got over it. It took quite a long time and hard work but I did. I valued our friendship and wanted to be friends and eventually it happened. Eventually I stopped thinking about them in sexual situations, I stopped comparing every date to them. I also stopped getting jealous everytime they mentioned someone they were seeing or fucking and we were just that, friends.

Then something happened. Then one night just over a year after I was able to be just friends without romantic feelings we got drunk and had sex.

Going out and drinking together is not an uncommon occurrence it’s something we do together on average probably once a month, it seemed to me to be like every other night we go out, but it wasn’t. Because when it came time to sleep we didn’t, we cuddled, talked about how much fun we have together. I told them how much I valued our friendship, we kissed and I’m sure you get the picture over what happened next.

These feelings are unrequited.

I have to keep on repeating it because they fill my head. At the moment they’re on my mind before I go to sleep and when I wake up. Being close friends is so hard now because the sane part of my brain is rightfully telling me to stop hanging out with them. Stop messaging them. Distance yourself, protect yourself. But in doing that I’ll lose my friend. A friend who gets me, with whom I have shared interests, who tells me repeatedly they have more fun hanging out with me than with most people and I do with them.

But these feelings are unrequited.

Say it again and maybe it’ll stick.

I’m not ready to give it up. I don’t want to be holding onto false hope but I continue to do so. They’re the wrong person for me, I’m the wrong person for them. But still after spending all day messaging, then hanging out, I go home alone and ache to be curled up against them, to be in their company again.

I remember when we were having sex, making extra effort to remember the look of them looking down at me because even in that moment I wanted to cherish it because I thought ‘this won’t happen again.’

I don’t want to lose the friend but I don’t want to pine after them when they’ve made it clear a romantic relationship is not on the cards. I don’t know if I’ll be able to do it all over again. Because if sex is on the cards again, I won’t say no. I know I won’t be the one to start the conversation about boundaries or say ‘what does this mean?’ before having sex again because I’ll just be happy they want me. My lust will override my brain and I will stubbornly take the stance of ‘I’ll deal with the consequences of this tomorrow

The thing is I genuinely know that we would not work as a couple. Yet can’t stop daydreaming about us being together. I think I’m really fucked up over this one.

A letter to my HIV on the anniversary of my infection.

To you my dear on this special day. We’ve been together for four years now, though I wouldn’t know about our unique relationship for another 6 weeks yet. The lab technicians about 5 weeks 3 days, the doctor (I know she knew) about 5 weeks. My body knew after only about 2 weeks, when it started to shed, and sweat and grow hot. All symptoms of my ignorance.

We bonded as soon as we met. We had a difficult relationship to begin with, you really did spread yourself about, millions when we found you. I put up a bit of a fight, but you were strong and won me over, now we’ll be together forever.

You made me weak, regretful, bitter and tainted. Used goods, soiled.

You made the hate I had for myself justified.

You’ve made me passionate, strong, smarter, queerer, kinder, angrier.

You’ve made me a better mother, a better friend, a better lover, a better feminist.

To the original host of you, part of me kind of wishes you’d just stuck it with him, left me alone.

But its hard to regret, when I love what I’ve become.

To commemorate our official date of matrimony, in 6 weeks we’ll do something special.

On our unofficial anniversary, I raise my glass to you, may we have many, many, many happy years together.

HIV and Motherhood

I often get asked what it means to be a mother with HIV and honestly, I never knew how to answer that question. I never felt that my HIV had any relevance when it came to my parenting.

I’ve always told the women I meet and mentor that my daughter knows I have a thing called HIV and that I take a pill everyday for it and she accepts that. Well she did up until the other night that’s when she started to ask lots of questions about why I take a pill and what HIV is.

When she was three she asked me what my pill was and I said to stop me from getting poorly. She’d seen other family members like her grandparents take pills regularly so she accepted that explanation. When I did some interviews for radio and TV last year she asked ‘Mummy, what’s HIV?’. I said ‘You know the pill Mummy takes to stop her getting poorly, that’s why, I have HIV and need a pill for it’, that she accepted also.  Now she’s nearly 6 and telling her what I’ve already told her is not enough anymore, she wants more details.

Firstly she asked why I take a pill, to which I replied I have HIV, she asked when will it be gone and I can stop taking the pills. I explained that it doesn’t really work like that and I’d have to take them forever. This is when she started to cry and that’s when I started to think that it would be easier to have not let her know about my HIV. Easier maybe, but not better.

She’s at an age where she’s thinking about life, death, family and her place in the world. In her world she knows that having a virus means that you’re poorly. She wants to know details about HIV but she’s not quite got the comprehension yet to understand the details. Asking questions about where it came from, how did I get it, can children have it etc etc.  We had a cuddle, I explained all I could, showed her all my boxes of medication so she was reassured that I wouldn’t run out and managed to turn it around and we were giggling before bed, but it wasn’t the end of it.

A day or so later she asks my friend to explain to her how people get HIV, I guess my explanation of ‘you wouldn’t quite understand just yet’ wasn’t good enough but my friend said something that really made her accept she won’t know until she’s older. The conversation went like this;

My friend: You know how you can do maths at school?

Daughter: Yes, I can do sums, we did our two times tables this week.

My friend: You know James, (a 2yr old we’re very close with) does he know his two times tables?

Daughter: No he’s too little.

My friend: He’s too young to understand his 2 times tables, isn’t he?

Daughter: Yes.

My friend: Well it’s a bit like that, we could explain to you all about HIV but you’re too little to understand just yet. Just like you could tell James his times tables but there wouldn’t be much point would there?

Daughter: Ok I get it so you could tell me but I wouldn’t understand like James doesn’t understand maths. Are you going to tell me when I can understand? When will that be? when I’m like 10 or 11?

Me: We’ll have to wait and see but I’m guessing around then.

Since that conversation she’s not brought it up again. I’ve noticed she asks me if I have taken my pill a little more often than she used to but that’s all so far.

I’m extremely grateful for my friend who was able to explain things in a way to her that she understood and accepted. It really helped to have things explained in a different way by a different person, calmly and clearly. I admit I was a little emotional trying to explain to her about it all. I didn’t visibly get upset but I went a bit too far along the route of ‘don’t worry’ and ‘mummy is going to be fine’ than thinking about the best way to explain a complicated matter to her. She still doesn’t know how someone gets HIV because she still doesn’t need to know. I will now plan what to say in the future depending on her age.

I have nothing but respect for the mothers and fathers who tell their children about their HIV when they are already old enough to have formed an opinion about what HIV is, that must be very hard. I feel lucky that HIV happened to me when she was so young that me becoming sick from it will not be a part of her memory. It may be hard to explain to her about these things, but I think in the long run I’ll be glad I did it this way.

Man Hater

I want to make it really clear that this rant I’m about to go on is about the single men I’ve met and not any of the other unavailable men I may engage with such as friends partners or work colleagues. I have no straight male friends.

I’m starting to dislike men, like a lot. I had sex with someone the other day. He was a perfectly nice man but as soon as he tried to engage me in conversation I just wanted to be away from him. I just can’t be bothered with men, and all their fucking entitlements.

Single straight men only engage with me on one level, and I think we all know what level that is. I have never had a conversation with a man in a dating sense who hasn’t tried or asked to sleep with me immediately (Oh no apart from those who I’ve gotten closer to, told them about my HIV and then never hear from again or they instantly block me). So over the last 2 1/2 years I guess you could say I’ve had many dating fails.

One man I met, who seemed perfectly normal to start off with, suggested a date at his. It was derby night and I didn’t want to go out. We got a takeaway and had wine, seems normal right? He proceed to drink 2 bottles of wine (minus a glass and a half I had) then when we were kissing he whipped out a fuck load of coke and put about £80 up his nose in a really short space of time. Then he quickly got annoyed at his dick and at me because his cock wouldn’t get hard (I suspect from all the coke) and at me because I didn’t want to spend hours trying to coax a hard-on out of a coke dick. I noped the fuck out of there.

I went on a date with one guy who I’d chatted to daily for about two weeks. I was very upfront saying I wanted more than sex and he agreed, he wants to date. We spent a nice evening together, I told him about my HIV and he listened, we looked at stuff on his phone about U=U and we had a normal date which ended up in sex. Immediately after he tells me he’s just left a 4 year relationship and doesn’t want anything serious, and proceeds to block me the next day. I don’t get why you’d put the two weeks of dedicated time in if you just wanted a quick release. Or not just tell someone you weren’t interested.

One guy recently used me as his last fuck before entering a relationship, in total we chatted for about 5 weeks and met a few times, the last being with a night of fun. A few days later he messages me saying him and someone he’s been seeing have decided they’re in love. Oh yeah? You didn’t seem very much in love with someone else when you were waking me up with your cock a few days prior, poz woman and the last fucking hurrah.

Anyways I’ve gotten so used to it all now that now that I don’t want to date men. I only want to engage with them on the same level they engage me on. I have zero interest in doing anything with straight men other than fucking them. The conversations I have with men all I see are the mysoganistic undertones (they always seem to be there). I’m not sure how I manage to find them, they always end up talking about how men and women think differently, women’s roles, or start moaning about the bitch who was their ex. Please take your emotional immaturity elsewhere and deal with your own bullshit before you project onto others.

In general I’m very happy with my life and these emotionally stunted men just do not meet my standards. Men I am not here to fix you.
Unfortunately my mind always slips back into old habits of me feeling like this wouldn’t happen if I was slim and conventionally attractive. You know it’s proby true, slim attractive people probably get less rejection and get more options. But I bet they also have to wade through more bullshit than the rest of us so it’s swings and roundabouts.

Poz Woman and the sex club.

So a while ago I decided I wanted to see what a sex club was like. I had been told stories by D of the saunas that he used to go to if he was bored and horny and I had a friend who told me that she liked to go to sex clubs. From both of their reports it seemed like something I would be into.

How it actually came about was quite spontaneous. I had arranged an evening with someone, who decided to ghost me at the last minute. I was frustrated, I had already done the prep work and I was wearing something new, so I searched for a club. I found one not too far from me, about a 45 min drive which on the pictures looked not totally hideous, and as a bonus single women got in for free.

Pulling up I was nervous, like so many sex clubs this on was on the edge of an industrial estate, very dark and grim looking from the outside. I sat in the car for a few minuets deciding if I wanted to do this.

The cloak room woman was pleasant and noticed that I hadn’t been before she called the owner to show me around. He showed me the bar, the range of public and private play areas, voyeur windows, the dungeon, the showers, the hot tub (closed for maintenance unfortunately) and the changing rooms. As I went around I felt a bit like the new kid at school, everyone sizing me up, noticeably a newcomer. The dress code was underwear, sex wear or a towel. Most of the men adopted a towel and most of the women were in sex wear. Id say men outnumbered the women maybe 4:1 and I was probably the youngest there, the main population was 40-50 yrs old and mostly couples.

I got changed into something dress code appropriate and headed to the bar. I could’ve done with a drink but as I was driving, I ordered a soft drink and chatted to some women. They were exactly they type of women I’d expect to meet in a sex club, loud, crude and over the top. While I was at the bar in quick succession 4 men approached me asking if I wanted to play. I thought it would feel awkward to turn down peoples advances but I actually felt very comfortable and safe to do so. The men were respectful and just wondered off when I said no. I wasn’t enjoying the conversation with the women and I went to check out the sauna area where I got chatting to a man.

He was only a little older than me, with a young face, average body and a nice looking dick. The first man to start a conversation and not ask in the first few sentences if I wanted to play (always a good start!). We chatted and joked, we got some water and decided to play a game of pool with two other guys, one of which he told me was his cousin ( I found this a little odd, but they said they’re used to it) after a game he asked if I wanted to go to one of the play areas to which I agreed. His cousin asked if he could join us. I pondered this for a moment and thought, why the fuck not? so said yes. Apparently the cousin enjoyed watching. We did this in one of the private rooms as I wasn’t quite ready for the flock of men watching that comes with playing in the open spaces ( I’d seen earlier when a couple started having sex). The room was dark with a laundry basket, it had anitbacterial wipes, paper towels and sheets to put down on the “bed”. There  is a certain noise the pleather wipe down “beds” make which is not attractive at all. Some annoying, over produced, straight porn was blaring loudly off a screen in the room which I turned off. The sex was enjoyable enough but distinctly average, as we were getting into it he told me he didn’t eat pussy, something I would’ve liked to have been told before we started anything!

We left the room and I felt a little more relaxed (I’m not sure why as he made no effort to make me cum). I wanted to try an open play area, it was kinky being watched by the cousin and it felt like this would be my only opportunity to do something that people could observe. I sort of already knew I wasn’t going to go back to a sex club any time soon, this one was definitely not my scene. It was getting later and the place was getting busier, more single men had arrived.

I played a little with some men in an open play area. It was fun to begin with, the men watching were keeping a respectful distance. They asked to join and didn’t complain when I said no. This was all cut short by an uninvited woman deciding she could eat my pussy without permission, who when I asked her to get off me accidentally scratched my bits with her fucking horrible, talon like fake nails.

This angered me because if a man had done what she had done 1) He would’ve been stopped by the other men because I’d not given consent and 2) He would’ve been thrown out. Because it was a women they didn’t stop her joining like other men before and nothing happened to her after I told her to get off me. They all seemed a bit shocked I was pissed off. I’m not sure why the club owners and the other patrons thought that consent didn’t apply to women wanting to join in fun?

Its a shame really that the people were so off putting. I would’ve liked to have tried the dungeon.  Another reason I didn’t like the place was because I was told by the owner that they don’t allow MM fun in the public areas…..what?!?! I cried. Here’s a little transcript of how the conversation went.

Me: Why not?

Owner: It makes some people uncomfortable, they’re allowed to do whatever they want in the private play areas.

Me: Oh, so same sex fun is only allowed behind closed doors, for women as well?

Owner: Well girl on girl is allowed anywhere.

Me: Right….. why?

Owner: Because people are comfortable with that.

Me: Can you see how that’s hypocritical?

Owner: *looks confused*

Me: Ok then….

It was immediately after this conversation I left. I did not enjoy their archaic views of sex and sexuality, I certainly did not want to be a part of it. Can you imagine if I’d said I was HIV+?!  I reckon I would’ve been chased out of there with torches and pitchforks! I won’t be returning to that sex club or any until I have proof that it is a truly inclusive space for all to enjoy their sexual preferences and kinks without having to hide anything. The whole experience put me off a little.

Finding my Motivation

7ish weeks ago I wrote a post about hunger. This was an emotional response to some bad news about my weight. This prompted a change in me, and I’m not really sure why. Being told I should lose weight is nothing new to me, I’ve had lots of people tell me that over the years. I don’t quite understand why this time, over all the other hundreds (or probably closer to thousands) of times I’d vowed to myself that I’d start a diet and lose my excess weight I have managed to stick to it.

So far I’ve lost 1stone 6lbs, or 20lbs, or 9kgs….whichever you understand the most.

I am extremely proud of this. I have never in all my life been able to stick to any sort of weight loss routine be it healthy or extreme crash diet. Almost all routines were broken within a few days.

I read a lot if body positivity stuff and I almost feel a bit ashamed of how proud I am. They tell me to love myself at any weight, and I do, to an extent. But part of me knows I’d been happier with myself at a lower weight.

And I am proud. I feel like my best self, more than ever before. And it’s been easier than I expected.

I can share no wisdom on why I have managed to stick to a routine this time. All I’m doing is eating less and moving more. Exactly what people have been telling me to do since I was 15 years old, but this time I can. I can do it. I have gone “off track” I have eaten too much or the wrong thing on several occasions. What’s different is that I have moved on, if I’ve eaten badly I haven’t shamed myself, I haven’t told myself I’m a failure and packed in the whole thing. I’ve just drawn a line under it and carried on.

I think it’s something to do with my positive self talk. I no longer have that horrible voice in my head telling me I’m not good enough. I have a voice telling me I’m doing a great job. Every time I step on the scales and I’m another lb down, I smile and high five myself in the mirror.

But I’ve hit a bit of a rut. This week is the first week in 7 that I’ve not lost. I don’t know how long this will last. I hope tomorrow I’ll regain the strength to limit and monitor my food intake. I was very scared at first. I didn’t tell anyone, I was too frightened to set myself targets. Now I have all my weight ins from the clinic since 2016 to see what weight I was at different times. I’ve set some targets to aspire to. I’m excited and hopeful about becoming fitter and loosing weight for the first time ever, by my own efforts and not by HIV ravaging my gut.

Contracting HIV and loosing around 6 stone in a few months was certainly easier, it required no effort from me and I was happy with the results. I’m hoping this time I will lose at least a good portion of that slowly and healthily.

I’m getting very excited to fit into the clothes I bought a couple of years ago but grew out of very quickly. I can’t wait for my next mirror self five.

Fem Men

I went to see ‘Everyone’s talking about Jamie’ recently. When my friend and I booked it she said “that’s right up your street” and she was right, it was! I love the musical for all it’s parts, it was fun and moving.

But towards the end (spoiler alert) when Jamie wears the prom dress as himself and when the cast sing together for the final time and Jamie is himself in typically “fem” clothes I was attracted to him. It made me think about things. What’s the difference? The entire time in the show he’s been wearing heels/dresses etc and I’d not been attracted to him. There were other men in fem clothes and I’m not attracted to them, so what made it different? Its  him in the clothes but not drag, I’m not attracted to men in drag (so far anyway).

It’s pretty niche I’m attracted to men who wear clothes that are typically more feminine, maybe with some minimal makeup but that are still presenting themselves as male.

Im not attracted to men wearing a lot of make-up, that’s quite easy to explain because I’m not a fan of a lot of make-up on anyone, including myself. I had my make-up done once for a photoshoot by a professional and she did a great job but I simply didn’t like the way I looked in heavy make-up. But I love it when men wear some make-up. A little to cover up, enhance or to add some fun colour or shine to their look.

The first man I remember looking like that is Julian Clary, on his late night show in the early 90’s. I used to go downstairs when my parents were watching TV and sit on my mum’s lap for bit and watch with them. That and Mark Owen in the Relight My Fire video and that crop top!

Frankenfurter from Rocky Horror is another one, I used to have a crush on Eddie Izzard, really could go on, honestly it’s a shame I was only a baby during the whole new romantic era.

I think that a big part of it is an attraction to confidence and humour. Most men in the public eye who dress and present like that are usually sharp, funny and clever.

My celebrity crush at the moment is Esra Miller because of the playboy shoot and him in that baby doll, bunny ears and lipgloss (omg!) And his passion to non conform when it comes to gender and sexuality.

Unfortunately for me, whenever I’ve met any men like this irl they’ve been gay. Which I think may have lead to me being attracted to gay men by association. The last person I dated did not dress in feminine clothing but was a fan of the tighter, deep v, shorter shorts type of clothes which I enjoyed.

I know there is much more to a man than the way he dresses. I’ve been attracted ot lots of different men who are not feminine in anyway really, non of my long term ex’s were. But it totally sparks my interest, gets my attention and makes me want to approach and talk to them. I wish more men would embrace this type of look.