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  • Writer's pictureEmily Royce

Stepping The Goddess Game Up (or that time I got an STI...)

I am in Guinea repeating the same pattern. Slept with a man who I really just like as a friend. Cared more about him wanting me, not leaving me, than if he was really someone I wanted. Spent my sexual energy on enticing him, dressing for him, posturing for him. When I already had him won over, just for being me. And nearly everyone is in love with me here, including me.

So the Universe was quick with her lesson. Him in my mouth and I knew the moment I was getting an STI. This Trichomoniasis parasitic infection set off my MS and I was dragging around and missing dance for days. Two days passed with others telling me everything from it being the dance and the solution was to dance more to it being that I eat too much and that is what was irritating my throat.Having tried to explain MS to every person important in my life on this journey, and having not a one of them comprehend what I am talking about, I decided it was time to listen to myself and take my butt to the Red Cross. I asked my partner to come. Because he could help with both languages, is a natural comfort to me, and I desired some kind of accountability for his part in this. Despite him being the one to attribute my symptoms to my food consumption.

At the clinic, I received startled responses when I declared what I was there for, mustering all my courage to be brave and nonchalant about STIs for women everywhere.I was ushered around from room to room, no one seemingly knowing where someone with my “condition” belonged. I landed in the doctor’s office with a mixture of random folks with unknown credentials coming in and out of the room, giving their two cents (when they missed the preceding conversation) combined with a hush hush secrecy around anything that had a whiff of sex talk.

When my throat was finally looked at, it was declared I had an infection. Blood work, urine sample, given a script for amoxicillin without knowing what it was I was treating or the cause, and told to come back the next day for results. At the follow-up visit, a lot of focus was given to my “low” sugar levels and it was mentioned as a side note at the end that there were traces of Trich in my urine. I asked if this was an STI, vaguely remembering it on a list somewhere, and I was told no. The doctor asked my partner to leave then asked in whispered tones about my symptoms, presented it as a female hygiene issue and prescribed a douche. I asked what about my throat. And suddenly this was just an irritation, could have been caused by anything. Rough food. COLD WATER. The man actually said cold water, which I don’t drink by the way.

I was not able to do my research at the clinic but did when I got home. And I found, right away, that Trich is the most common STI in the U.S. I am taking the amoxicillin but see now that this is not one of the two antibiotics recommended for treating Trich. And I didn’t fill that script for the douche, letting the pharmacists know my disbelief that something with a script contained parfum for the vagina. Got Trich? Just put a little perfume on it and that will clear up those nasty odor and discharge symptoms so that you and your partner can get back to sexing, and reinfecting (with the good bacteria all flushed out from the douche, making females even more susceptible to infection, not to mention that untreated Trich makes females more susceptible to serious infection like HIV.)

But who am I mad at? Yes the medical establishment both here and at home is infuriating. All of it is male dominated and male focused while being male negligent (my partner was not asked if he wanted to get tested, just given lengthy instructions on how I should properly douche.) But I put myself at the mercy of it. I am the one who knocked my body out for a week. The one who derailed my passion of dance here. Don’t confuse this for self sex-shaming. I ask to see the new results of partners at home and thought I would sleep with no one here as testing is more of an anomaly. But I want to get my groove on too. And sometimes it’s the friend that is available and trustworthy-ish. But my mama always said don’t sleep with someone you wouldn’t want to have a baby with. And I’d say the same applies for someone you don’t want to navigate an STI with.

Basically I am a high priestess, goddess, and my body is my first temple I preside over. And I desire that every woman owns her sexuality in this way. I want to be ALL yes for the sex I choose. If I just want to be touched, I own that. There are no rules around reciprocation or “going all the way” or being indebted to a man being excited. Men get excited when I brush against them at the market. To be conscious in my choice does not mean being puritanical or withholding. It means that I can sleep with who I desire, when I desire. And when I say sleep with, that can mean anything I want it to mean. I am Queer after all and penetration has never been my go-to jam. And these gray Tantric waters may be more rare here but I am selling myself and men short when I decide that men do not exist who can flow with this. Who will be excited to be with me in any way that I desire and who will respect that where my desire ends, so does their desire for me to continue.

A friend of mine had to remind me of who I am, the work I have done, and how I aim to see the becoming of women everywhere. And that this must begin with me holding myself and others accountable to treating myself like the goddess I am. And not allowing complacency or old wounds trick me into thinking that settling is okay this time around. I must continue to claim my space in the Universe. Every damn day. With every soul that I have a unique relationship with. And a huge part of this is lovingly holding men accountable. Asking them to be better. Demanding it with compassion. Extending an invitation to the work. Expecting that they are capable of rising with me. They cannot be looked upon for excellence when all I have treated them with in the past is disdain or disbelief. It is time for me to step my game up and I am asking you all to come with me.

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