Tell Them Before You Bed Them

Dear Dategirl,I spent most of my life being a total slut—anywhere from five to 10 girls a week, sometimes more. I was blessed with good looks and a muscular body. Being the picture of emotional and mental health, I married four times, with four divorces. My longest relationship was 14 years, unless you count the one I have with my bird, which is ongoing.In 1995, I learned I had Hepatitis C. The side effects of the various treatments were devastating—depression, anxiety, fatigue, chronic pain, bleeding, and weight gain. Sometimes I feel as if I've crawled into a very dark cave and my personality has never been the same.I lost interest in sex, partly, I believe, from the disease and meds, but also from my then-wife going from a size 9 to a size 16+. We divorced in 2004, and I actually enjoyed not having sex ruling my every movement. I hate my changed body, the pain and the weight gain (50 lbs.), and figured if I wouldn't want to go to bed with me, why subject an innocent woman to the equation?I'm now facing a liver transplant, and at the same time my sex drive is revving up again. I'm working on losing weight and trying to take better care of myself. I recently tried some harmless flirting, and it was fun.If I go out with someone, do I mention I'm on a liver-transplant list? I think I have to say something about the side effects (they're noticeable), and I also have an extraordinary number of doctor appointments and procedures. The bottom line is I'm lonely and would like to share my life. I don't want someone to lean on emotionally or financially, nor am I looking for pity. Death doesn't scare me in the least. What do I do?—The Rambler

That's a tough one, Rambler, but congrats on getting your libido back. I think you should look at the liver-transplant issue as you would any other medical condition; if you had herpes, you wouldn't announce it to every hottie who crossed your path, just the ones with keeper (or sleeper) potential.I have a non-contagious, non-life-threatening, but still-horrifying medical issue, and I've discovered it's better that most people don't know about it. I figured this out because I have a giant chattering yap and can't keep anything to myself, so now I have "advisors" telling me what to do and sharing any weird Internet story they stumble across that has anything to do with my predicament. I know they mean well, but: a) it's unpleasant enough to live it, and therefore not something I feel like talking about all the time, and b) I'm under a professional's care. I've had second, third, and fourth opinions, and I trust those dudes more than some article someone's aunt dug up on About.com.So yeah, announcing your impending liver transplant isn't something you want to do on a first date. It certainly shouldn't be part of any sort of flirty banter—any more than an open sore on your sac or a plantar wart would be. It's definitely information to be disclosed on a need-to-know basis. Though it's rarely passed through hetero intercourse, it is a blood-borne virus and should be disclosed to anyone you're considering making the sex with, and precautions should be taken.You sound like you have a pretty chipper outlook on life, but even if you're not scared of death (that makes one of us), maybe you should talk to a therapist. You know, someone who's licensed to give advice, not just some know-it-all who spends far too much time in her pajamas. A liver transplant and a chronic illness are both pretty heavy burdens to handle, and having someone paid to sit there and listen to you talk about it might make it easier to handle in social situations.dategirl@seattleweekly.com

 
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