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Sex with Dr. Jess


March 21, 2012

Getting Excited for a Cold Sore!

I got a cold sore a few weeks back. It was really no surprise since stress is my main trigger and I’d been working on the road for five weeks living out of hotel rooms. When I landed back in Toronto, I felt the tingle on my way to an evening of events. I turned to my partner and exclaimed, “I think I’m getting a cold sore. I’m excited!”

Also a cold sore sufferer (since his toddler years just like me), he was obviously perplexed by my exclamation. “What?”

“I’ll finally get a chance to try that Cold Sore FX,” I explained.

“Awesome!” He responded with more than a hint of sarcasm.

Cold Sore FX caught my attention a few months back, as they’ve been working to de-stigmatize cold sores and correct misinformation about the virus and breakouts. They’ve also done a whole whack of research (the biggest study in Canada) as part of this campaign and as a sexologist, some of the findings were alarming – especially the fact that 30% of men and women are uncomfortable discussing cold sores with their partners. This really highlights the stigma surrounding cold sores — would 30% of people be uncomfortable discussing the fact that they have a cold or flu?

It all comes down to the fact that cold sores are associated with sex (even though they’re not always sexually transmitted) and people are more than willing to have sex, but are scared to talk about it.

And yes. I realize that Cold Sore FX is trying to make money, but I like when I see companies promoting accurate, sex-positive messages in the process. So I was happy to give it a try.

Here’s how my first use of Cold Sore FX panned out:

Cold sore day 1Day 1: Tiny blister – Applied CSFX twice after I gave my speech on Sexual Empowerment to a group of women at The Spoke Club and attended the Eligible Magazine launch at the Vintage Conservatory. The cold sore was definitely visible at this point (and not just to me), but it doesn’t really show up in the photo. I guess this is a reminder that it’s never actually as bad as the “wearer” believes it is.


coldsoreday2Days 2 – 4: Rockin’ the cold sore — Applied CSFX 4 times each day. This photo was taken on day 2, which was the “worst” day.




coldsoreday5Day 5: All gone! I was relieved to get rid of the cold sore in time to take off for my next work contract in sunny Jamaica. I love my job!

I wish I had taken more photos (seriously!), but didn’t plan to share this story until the 5th day when I was inspired by the quick healing time. And I should note that although the pics aren’t photoshopped, I am wearing lip gloss and smiling in each photo which may help to conceal the (temporary) damage.

Cold sores are never fun. And even with the success of this treatment, I could still go without them. But the reality is that the HSV-1 virus has been hanging out in my body since I was two years old and it’s definitely not going anywhere. So for now, I’ll try to avoid my triggers (even if I thrive on stress) and join the campaign to de-stigmatize cold sores as part of my sex-positive education mission.