Brenda Breaks It Down – Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Doesn’t Apply To Herpes or HPV

Dear Brenda,

I started dating this guy in August of 2009. He was living with his daughter’s mother at the time but told me that they were not together. He spent his birthday with me in August and my birthday was in September so we spent my birthday together too. He gave me a $1000 and told me to by myself something nice and the week after he gave me $500.

We had sex in October and he didn’t want to use a condom. I asked him to, but he insisted that he didn’t like them. I have herpes and couldn’t tell him and I didn’t have an outbreak. After we had sex I talked to him the next day and the day after but then he stopped answering my calls. I automatically assumed I’d given him herpes and that he didn’t want to see or talk to me anymore because he wouldn’t answer or return my calls.

I got an abnormal pap smear in November that was caused by HPV, but they told me to wait six months to see if it will come back normal. I was so hurt that I was worried about giving him herpes and now I’m thinking he gave me HPV.

At the time we had sex, I noticed a bump on his private part and he said it was nothing and I told him that I think it’s HPV and that’s why my pap smear is abnormal and he argued that it was nothing.

So now he comes over and has sex with me and then he doesn’t call or answer his phone for days. When I ask him why he does this to me he says he is busy working.

And now my friends trying to hook me up with other guys because they think I’m being stupid for him.

I am feeling so depressed. What should I do? Please tell me what you think is going on.

Dear Too Hot for Herpes,

I’m just going to give it to as I see it. This might be hard to hear darlin’ with that bruised heart you’re carrying around, but the truth is, he doesn’t love or care about you. And while your friends mean well by trying to “hook” you up with other guys because they think you’re being “stupid” for him, the real deal is that you don’t need to be with anyone right now. Stevie Wonder and the Five Blind Boys of Alabama can see that, and so can I.

What I also see here is that you can’t handle the truth, and I’m talking about the truth about your health. The truth is that you have herpes and HPV darlin’ and that puts you at a greater risk for more serious infections, such as HIV, which in turn means that you must take better care of yourself and you must insist that whomever you have sex with wears a condom. Because all of that feel good that comes with sex is not worth dying over.

Now I’m not going to pretend that I’ve never had unprotected sex, I have. I’ve sat in clinics waiting for test results with my nerves about to jump out of my skin. I have friends with herpes who don’t tell because they’re embarrassed. The truth is that over 60 million Americans have herpes 1 out of every 6 women and 1 out of every 8 men. There’s still a lot of embarrassment about it, though there needn’t be. It’s not a death sentence; it’s a ‘be more careful’ sentence.

I also know that men will throw money at a woman, or things like purses or jewelry in order to get them in bed. They will tell you they love you, they’ll tell you whatever you want to hear. Don’t fall for the okey doke. You don’t have to accept gifts (Uh oh, I hear a pack of women howling that I’m wrong about this one) especially when the gifts are over the top. A $1000 (if that’s true) after just meeting someone is a bit over the top. Honestly. Men who do that have usually have nothing else to offer and they just want to get in your pants. Don’t fall for the okey doke.

What I think is going on is that you want a relationship with someone. Not just sex. You keep working it backwards by jumping into the most intimate part first without getting to know them or letting them get to know you. Relate to them out of the bedroom. Give them time to show you who they are, and pay attention. Put on the big girl panties and have an honest talk with them about herpes and HPV. Know your worth, you’re worth more $1500, your life is worth more than that.

– Brenda

Brenda Breaks It Down — The Minute Men

Dear Brenda,

I have a problem with my sexuality. I hardly last 5 minutes in bed with my girlfriend. I have tried many tricks but nothing much has changed. What can I do to offer my girl good sex? What can I do to last long in bed?

Thanks a lot for your advice

Dear Help Me-Love-Her-Long-Time-Guy,

Well darlin’ let’s start with defining some terms. Sexuality is how people self-identify as a man or a woman. It may also refer to how people identify in terms of their sexual preferences, meaning if they identify as being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. The experts define premature ejaculation as when a man ejaculates or comes or cums, depending on your preferred lingo, prior to or in less than one minute after his penis enters a woman’s vagina. Now that we’re all on the same page, let’s move along.

So when it comes to ejaculation the normal range is 5-10 minutes and from what you wrote, you’re right up there. You didn’t say which tricks you tried so I did my research and here it is:

Mind over penis— when you “master your domain” do you know the point at which you’re about to cum? You need to know that, so when that moment comes, you can…

Change positions—some positions stimulate the penis more than others. When you find yourself getting close to the point of no return, change positions. Speaking of which, have you tried…

Ye olde missionary—yes a body-to-body missionary position is great, however once she lifts her legs, more stimulation occurs. Switch positions, sit cross-legged, put her on top, and let her wrap her legs around you, touch, and play. Lay back, let her stay on top, and move however she wants for as long as she wants, unless you’re getting that “loving feeling” then it’s time to change. While you’re doing all of this…

Don’t be the “Bull in a china shop” –You don’t have to charge through lovemaking by pounding away. We’re not churning milk into butter here. Think about and develop a technique that works for you, like small shallow strokes interspersed with the deeper ones. Please remember, in and out is burger place, not a sexual technique. Circle those hips! It takes the stimulation off of the head of the penis and focuses it more on the shaft giving you the extra time you desire.

Foreplay—you should be familiar with this and you should do it. I never heard one of my female friends say, “Oh that guy just gave me too much foreplay…” Never heard it. Never will. You should also be familiar with the woman parts, particularly the clitoris. I personally the “G” spot is myth and the clitoral orgasm rules.

Condom – try wearing a condom, this will reduce the sensation and perhaps help you last longer. And hey! You should be wrapping it up anyway. Safe sex is the name of the game in case you haven’t heard.

I hope some of these suggestions help. I’ve been on the receiving end of this and to be honest, it can be quite disappointing. We women though, love you men so much we say really nice things like, “It’s okay, we can try again later” or “I understand it happens.” Then we jump out of bed and head for the nearest vibrating shower head and relieve the tension. Hopefully she is willing to be patient while you try some of these things. Good lucky my friend.

– Brenda

Brenda Breaks Down Consequences for Bad Teen Behavior

Hi Brenda!

I’m from India. I’m a single parent (widow) and I have a son who is 12 years old and he is developing a habit of telling lies and stealing money from the home. A couple of times I’ve confronted him but he always blames his younger sister.

Also he doesn’t like to study at all and academically he’s doing extremely poor. He’s becoming very rude and doesn’t care and respect any one; he doesn’t like correction at all. Another thing he keeps his thing untidy and doesn’t like to bathe. He only enjoys playing on the PC or PlayStation. I really don’t understand how I should help him to improve.

I need your help.


Dear Single Parent,

My grandmother would say that your son is acting “mannish.” Meaning that he is testing his boundaries with you, in terms of respect, integrity, academics and hygiene. How far can he go? What are the consequences to his actions? Those are questions that not only you need to answer; they also need to be discussed with him. He can’t continue to steal, bring home poor grades and keep bad hygiene and play on his PC or PlayStation. Here’s the deal:

  • Have a family meeting in which expectations regarding integrity, grades, housework, and respect.
  • There should be an opportunity for the children to self-correct.
  • If they do not self-correct then there should be consequences.
  • If rules are broken, things are taken away. And yes, definitely include the PC and the PlayStation, favorite shoes, posters from the wall, if it means something to him, it can be part of a consequence.

I also wonder if there a man in your life, a brother, an uncle, or cousin that could spend some time with him, one on one. I think he might need that attention right now and that a man that could talk to him about the importance of good hygiene and respect.

That’s all I got for you my love. I hope it helps.

Readers what do you think?

– Brenda

Should You Stay Or Should You Go?

Darling you got to let me know
Should I stay or should I go?
The Clash

One of the questions I get asked the most is whether or not someone should stay in a marriage or a relationship. While listening to The Clash, I came up with this list.

You should stay knowing that:
You can only change you. Challenging as that might be. If you’re trying to change your partner, stop it.

You should go if:
There is any physical, verbal or emotional abuse. (Channeling the scary voice from the Amityville Horror) Get Out!

You should stay if:
You understand that there are trade offs in a relationship. Bottom line, you’re gonna love some things about your sweetie and there will be some things that will drive you crazier than an itchy man up a wool tree. Sometimes frustration and love walk hand in hand.

You should go if:
He or she is overly controlling, checking your email, obtaining your passwords, going through your phone. Checking the odometer and having you report your gas mileage (oh yes! It has happened!) is completely over the top. It’s time to go. Jealously and possessiveness means there’s no trust. It’s not cute. It doesn’t mean they love you. Pack your bags.

You should stay if:
You understand that that there will some issues that the pair of you will totally disagree on. And you won’t even agree on what that issue is. What you can do is identify it and accept it and move on.

You should go when:
You’re afraid to say what you need or your needs don’t get met without herculean effort. It shouldn’t be that hard. Relationships are a mutual thing. Everyone should get their needs met and it shouldn’t take an argument for that to happen.

You should stay if:
You are able to take responsibility for your own happiness (not to be confused with getting your needs met). You should be able to discuss your dreams and goals, while remembering these are YOUR dreams and it is not up to your partner to make it happen. You should be supportive of their dreams and goals as well.

You should also stay if:
The sex is still sexy. Not the sole reason to stay however.

You should stay if:
You can remember the moment you connected. The moment you knew that this person was someone special. When it gets hard or frustrating that’s the moment you come back to.

You should think about it when
Infidelity occurs. (I heard you, you just called me crazy!) Seriously, I’ve seen relationships survive this and come out stronger. I don’t believe it’s always a deal breaker. Need help with this one? I’ll take those questions on a case by case basis. Write me!

Love strong!

– Brenda

Brenda on Grief, Loss and Moving Through

Dear Brenda,

My nephew and his best friend died in a car accident on September 4th of last year. My nephew was 20 years old and was a good man and son. My sister lives in Daly City, CA (bay area or San Francisco area) and she is very devastated over what happened. She cries everyday and calls me. I am here in Los Angeles and I do not know how to console her. At times, she is very angry and I understand her very well. She’s going to a grief therapist but she said it is not enough. She also said that it is very hard especially at night and early in the morning. What should I do? I myself am also grieving and need help. Please advise.

Dear Grieving,

Loss. I put a period at the end of that word because of the finality of it. A life or a relationship is over. A door has closed and there is no going back. And often that’s what we want to do. Instead we’re turned on our heel, faced in another direction and often we feel we’re standing alone.

The wound we carry from the loss can be a deep gaping thing that refuses to close or be filled. At first we fill it with the administrative tasks that come with death or loss, the paperwork and packing away of things, the phone calls. All the while we ache for their footsteps at the front door, the timbre of their voice vibrating in our ear, their scent in the hallway. The wound doesn’t heal, according to Rose Kennedy it scars over, but we still feel the loss. The pain clutches our heart unexpectedly. Often. It sounds as if that’s what happening to your sister.

We’ve heard of the Kubler-Ross model of dealing with death and tragedy, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Some folk get stuck in any of these stages. Some folk never make it to acceptance. Everyone is different and there is no timetable for any of this.

What I’m trying to say here is that it’s been a year. It might take two and that’s okay.

I found the following sites where you can create an online memorial for your nephew. You can also create an iMemory book in his honor. Doing this can help you and your sister process and work through the grief.

Memory of

Virtual Memories

Rest in Peace

– Brenda

Brenda answers: Am I in a healthy relationship?

Dear Brenda,

How do I know if I’m in a healthy relationship?

Dear Relationship Curious,

Do you like you? Because that’s where it all begins, if you don’t love you, no one else can.

A couple of marriages ago (Yes I mean more than two) I married a man I had no business marrying. But I was young and thought I knew everything. I wasn’t ready for a relationship with anyone else, because I hadn’t had a relationship with myself. I thought it was about sex. But soon learned that there were others who gave better “room service” than me. I thought it was all about showing him how much I loved him. Buzz. Wrong answer.

“How do you expect me to love you, when you don’t love yourself?” He said once during one of our chats. The light went on, but I still didn’t get it.

With husband number two I actually took the advice of a radio talk show host Dr.Toni Grant (don’t judge me!), who advised women to “return to their traditional roles” so I cooked, cleaned and had scheduled sex (to make sure HIS needs were met) until I burned out and I was bored out of my skull with the mundane life I’d chosen. And finally, we stood in front of judge and called it quits. I’d stopped being me. And it made me damn unhappy.

So when I say, it starts with you, I mean it. It does.

A healthy relationship means that you don’t mind hanging out with yourself. You think you’re pretty cool. And while it’s great to hear others say that, deep down you already own it.

A healthy relationship means you and your partner listen to each other, are patient with each other. You feel special, appreciated and loved.

In a healthy relationship you get to be you. There is no pretending, no folding you up to make yourself fit into the other person’s life. You get to be honest about your boundaries, diseases, likes and dislikes, political affiliation, favorite sports team, spiritual practice. You get the picture. You get to be you without judgment. And while you don’t have to do a full accounting of your life, the decisions you’ve made and the consequences you’ve endured, honesty rules.

A healthy relationship is a partnership. Let me say for the record that no one likes housework. Don’t be a slob, pick up after yourself. Share in the drudgery that is housework. When you don’t, resentment builds and that is slippery slope towards nowhere good. Also, financial decisions should be mutual and both partners should benefit in some way.

People laugh together in healthy relationships and have things in common that they enjoy together and some things they do by themselves. For the love of all things good let your partner have some “me” time or it will get boring and someone will become resentful. Have a hobby, friends, and time separate from your partner and with your partner as well.

People fight fairly in healthy relationships. They listen, they set boundaries, they respect boundaries, they communicate their needs, and they feel heard. They are honest, they forgive, they negotiate, they let go of things and move forward.

A healthy relationship is exclusive and inclusive. You both are exclusive to one another. No one else is in the relationship. The flip side of that is that you are both inclusive of family and friends. It’s not about just the two of you all of the time. That’s called an addictive relationship. And you don’t want that. Can someone say potential stalker?

So Curious, I hope that answers your question. Did I leave something out? Or is your view of a healthy relationship different? Alright readers, chime in.



The Wicked Stepmother? Step parenting is the hardest job in the world.

Dear Brenda,

I’ve been separated from my husband for ten months, we were married for five years. Our son is 18 months old and daughter is four years old. I moved out of the house when I was visited by a man who showed me pictures of my husband’s car outside his wife’s new apartment. This man told me that he and his wife were married 17 years. The man told me my husband was his wife’s boss, and that it was my husband who helped her leave him by moving her out of his house. He told me that all the work trips my husband had taken since our son was born were with his wife.

As I replayed the months post partum, I saw how distant my husband had been. My husband has two kids from a prior marriage, a daughter 12, and a son?14. My stepchildren have always been high maintenance emotionally, needy, due to the nasty divorce between their mother and my husband. We saw them every other weekend.

After our son was born, I asked my husband if he could take his weekends with my step-kids outside the house while I was sleep deprived taking care of our two and also heading back to work full time. I had nothing left in me. It turns out that the weekends he did that; my husband took my step-kids along with his co-worker/girlfriend’s kids (girls 22, 9, and son 16) on his weekends to be all together, apparently planning to leave me for their new family together. I will not even address the racial aspects of the co-worker being black and my husband not, but I will say that the husband who visited me told me his wife always hated my husband’s white a** and was documenting some wrongful doings on him to have him fired. ?

Rest of the story short is, given the high profile of my husband’s career, he has now been investigated and the outcome is that he is being removed from federal service. When I moved out of the house, I filed for divorce from my husband based on adultery with his co-worker. I used my husband’s ex-wife’s attorney since I would not have to pay for an attorney to re-build the history on him. We have a temporary arrangement for custody and now child support since my husband had been paying for his kids and hers to do everything together, the judge has ordered him pay me ten months worth of back support. My husband’s claim for counter divorce has been that I emotionally abused him and my stepchildren. My attorney disagrees and believes that my step-kids mother would never let her children claim such nonsense. ?

To date, I suppose my husband has a few weeks left on the job, and is now acting like he wants to all of the sudden spend time once a week with our kids. He is claiming now that I made him choose between our kids and my step-kids. Saying I pushed them away, was cruel to them emotionally… He is also claiming that he is trying to right himself with God. Facing his annual salary drop of $170K to potentially zero, he wants to be a dad to our kids once a week? After our divorce settlement, he will be required to pay child support to both me and his ex to total about $60K a year.

While I hate to admit, I love my husband still with all my heart. I never had a choice in trying to work things out as I could tell he was already gone long before he left. He looked me in the eye and lied about his whereabouts, and I am most upset about how he pretended to want a son together; and then he left our baby anyway.

I admit that I love being the single mother and having my career. I love the drama free weekends without my stepchildren causing nonsense with their mother. I love having my privacy. I did not have that with my step-kids around. They gave their mother a play by play of every word and thing done at our house. I don’t have that anymore! I never want to see them again. They ran around with their father, lying to me, hiding what they were all up to for 7 months after our 18-month-old was born.

My husband wants to claim that they were all getting back at me for how I treated them. He says all I ever cared about and became consumed with were my kids! Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t that every mother’s responsibility to love the children she gave birth to? What I am having trouble articulating is my disgust with my stepchildren. I did everything possible to help them get through their parents’ divorce. I bought them books on divorce, took them places, bought them clothes, so they could focus on themselves not on the issues of adults. My point is, they knew how hard it was for them to go through such a trauma as kids, how could they go along with something so wrong at the detriment of putting their own half siblings through that? They don’t realize they got special attention from their father during his affair with his co-worker so long as they kept their mouths shut to their mother and me.

These kids are teenagers now, and know the difference between right and wrong, and they just went with it. It was like they all conspired to hurt me and damage me as much as possible. How do I articulate this to the judge? I don’t want my two children around them. I am raising my children with values and morals. I feel like such a fool having; my husband, my stepchildren, the co-worker girlfriend, and her kids all having such a great wonderful past year together laughing about how angry I would be if I ever found out or laughing at how they were getting revenge on me for being post partum, exhausted, burned out, and just plain lonely without my husband around to help with our 2 small ones. I cannot articulate to others what this is or my anger towards everyone! And then I am guilty of having my hands full with 2 small ones! Can I be honest with you and say that I would live with my husband some day and be willing to raise our children together, but want nothing to do with the step-kids? I dream of moving to another state so I would not have the interference with them monthly or be anywhere near the gold-digging girlfriend and her kids! ?

I think my husband is pretending to come around and make time for our kids now because he had not planned on losing his career over his mess. I told him it is job to tell the judge he thought beyond the childish Disney themes of happily ever after with the girlfriend’s family, and wicked stepmothers. We are two months from our custody hearing and four months from a property hearing.

Please assist me with some words in describing how I cannot ever take back the step-kids he is using against me. Am I crazy to feel bittersweet at this moment? I don’t want to play into his lies about how I feel about my step-kids now, but it’s almost like he has worked to make me hate them! HELP? I can’t say this to a judge!

Dear I-Can’t-Say-This-To-A-Judge,

You can’t say it to a judge because you know it sounds as crazy as a itchy man up a wool tree. You’re saying that you hate what your ex husband did to you, but you love him enough to take him back if he had significantly less time with his children from another marriage. Basically, you would like to have a relationship with him, without them.

Hmmm. Ambitious.

But most of all unrealistic.

So let’s be honest.

To ask your husband to take his children away for the two weekends that they have previously spent at their home with you and their other siblings sent the message that, ‘I don’t want you here and I have the power to make that happen’ and ‘my kids are more important than you’. Perhaps that wasn’t what you meant….

Then you said this:

“Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t that every mother’s responsibility to love the children she gave birth to?”

Yes it is, so let me gently remind you that the man you married feels the same way about his children.

Parenting is hard, step parenting is harder.

While I do feel the pain of betrayal, what I can’t understand is the amount of blame you pile on the stepchildren. You say, “I never want to see them again. They ran around with their father, lying to me, hiding what they were all up to for 7 months after our 18-month-old was born.” Those children did not make vows to you. Your husband did. Those children did not have any obligation to tell you anything. And for the record, I don’t think you any trouble relating your disgust for your stepchildren. Let me say, the disgust you feel belongs squarely with you and your ex-husband.

And before all the stepmoms rev up their computers, let me acknowledge that being a stepmother is the hardest job on the planet. It’s an intricate dance of stepping forward and back and you better be on beat. Just one wrong move and toes are stepped on, you’ve bumped into another couple and sent them tumbling, and the other folks on the floor snap at you. Clumsy! You spend the rest of the evening apologizing. It’s like a high school dance, a lot of dread interspersed with moments of dizzying happiness.

You asked your husband to remove his children from their home. Your husband made the decision to allow this. If anyone lacked morals and values in this situation it was the adults. It was the adults who lost focus on their relationship and putting it first, it was the adults that did not communicate.

I-C-S-T-T-A-J, tell the judge that your husband comes with children and that you have the need for there to be no other children in the home except for yours. The judge will probably tell you to find a partner that has no children and the patience and the desire to parent yours.

Any stepmoms out there? What do you think?

– Brenda