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Ep. 18: Living, Loving, and Thriving w/ Herpes with Courtney Brame

Courtney Brame is back to talk about herpes, dating, stigma, and communication.

Episode Recap

Ashley welcomes back Courtney Brame to break the myths and stigmas that exist around living with HSV-1 or HSV-2 (herpes). They share navigating shame, disclosing a positive status to a potential partner, and the joys and challenges of dating with herpes.


  • (5:15) “I began to really like the person that I was when people knew about my diagnosis. I think that freed me up from the thoughts of, “Oh my God, when are they going to find out?” -Courtney

  • (13:29) My goal is to create a network of sex-positive therapists and be able to pay for the people who can’t afford therapy or refer people who can afford it to these spaces so we can have universal healing.” -Courtney

  • (16:00) Being around other people with herpes is great, even if we have nothing else in common. There’s just this mutual understanding of like, I know some of the things that you’ve dealt with in your life, because I probably have too.” -Ashley

(16:22) Adrial Dale of The Herpes Opportunity

  • (17:30) “Honestly, for me, herpes has been a really useful litmus test.” -Ashley

  • (17:45) “I give excellent sex and if you are going to cheat yourself out of that experience because you can’t wrap your brain around the fact that sex comes with risk, I’ll be over here having great sex without you.” -Ashley

  • (18:23) “It’s unfortunate that people’s identities can be so interconnected with their sexuality, exclusively to the point where they feel like a rejection of sex is a rejection of who they are.” -Courtney

  • (21:47) “Having a mental health professional to work with and sort out the emotions and thoughts that come with a positive diagnosis, even after this much time, has resurfaced things that I didn’t even know were underneath there.” -Courtney

  • (29:08) “It’s working for me now to introduce the conversation pretty early. Just getting a gage of the kind of person that you’re talking to. Are they sex positive, are they sex negative?” -Courtney

(34:30) Drew Michael: Stand up comedian who did skit on herpes

(35:28) Sexual health status Turn ons Avoids Relationship intention Safety STARS (Episode 99 of Something Positive for Positive People)

About Courtney Brame:

"I received my positive genital HSV-2 (primarily genital herpes) in 2012 but who knows how long I had it before I saw my first symptoms. I don’t know how I got it and my recent sexual partners said they did not have herpes. For almost 5 years, I challenged what I thought about living with herpes to my experiences living with herpes. As I began to disclose to new partners and close friends, I realized what I thought was simply not true. It was through the support of friends and loved ones that I was empowered enough to begin dating. Having put myself out there, I came across many resources I wish I knew were available after my diagnosis. It’s challenging to begin disclosing out the gate when you haven’t made sense of what it now means for you and your body. Through connections I made, I entered a whole new world of support and found others in my area that I wouldn’t have otherwise been connected to. These resources are challenging to find and I just hope to make them a little bit easier come across."

To find and work with Courtney, check out: Something Positive for Positive People: SPFPP Podcast on all players and the site: Follow Courtney on Instagram and Twitter

Learn more about Ashley's work on her website, Instagram, and Twitter, and be sure to follow Elevated Intimacy on Instagram and Twitter!

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