Sex with herpes can still be a fantastic experience. I mean human sexuality is such an important aspect of any great relationship and it will continue to be as long as you have the right mindset. There is absolutely no reason why sex can't be as much of a significant part of your life as it was before your diagnosis.
First of all and more importantly, having genital herpes does not mean that you are going to have to put away your intimacy and put on a rubber suit every time you feel the urge to have sex. We just have to do things a little different.
There are couples all over the world who are finding their lives are really no different than before their diagnosis. At the worse, you might have to stop having sex for a few days during the year. A small speed bump that causes you to slow down for the moment then get back to normal once the outbreak fades away.
And if you're like me, you've found that having HSV type 2 has actually made sex better because it forces you to be more aware of your body which in turn makes sex much more pleasurable and the intimacy intense!
The most critical thing that you need to remember when having sex with herpes...which just so happens to be the biggest contributing factor in spreading herpes...is that intercourse (this includes oral sex too) should always be avoided for the duration of an active outbreak. This is particularly important when one partner is infected and the other is not. Having sex during an active outbreak is the leading contributor to transmitting the virus so avoid it at all costs.
Some recurring outbreaks have little or no symptoms. You might have only a tiny bump in the genital area, and it may not even hurt. However, regardless of how small the sore, it still is an active outbreak. The herpes virus affects every person in different ways and may vary from outbreak to outbreak, therefore it is essential that you understand precisely what your body is telling you and get to know your own personal symptoms. If you have any doubts about whether or not you are having an outbreak, DO NOT have sex with herpes.
An active outbreak is the complete duration of an outbreak. Beginning at the very first early warning signs of an outbreak (prodromal stage) and lasting all the way to a complete healing of the blisters. This includes scabbing. Any signs of an outbreak should be completely cleared before having sex again with an uninfected partner.
We don't want to take any chances so wait the 7-10 days!
Having herpes does mean that a few changes will have to take place. Never having sexual intercourse during outbreaks is the very best way to avoid spreading the virus to a partner. For a lot of people who have herpes, outbreaks only take place a few times a year.
1. Couples should think about is wearing latex condoms. Condoms provide the most protection from the HSV virus even though they are not 100% effective. A lot of couples that happen to be in long-term relationships desire to never wear condoms since the virus doesn't create any sort of significant health problems.
Condoms should always be worn in new relationships or when participating in casual genital herpes sex.
2. Dental Dams - If you have herpes and oral sex many people believe that wearing a dental dam will provide the best protection. A dental dam is almost like a condom for your mouth that provides a barrier between the affected area and someone's mouth.
Dental dams are typically made of latex, although some are made from silicone and can be bought over-the-counter.
If you don't want to buy one, you can also make your own version from saran wrap that you probably have in your kitchen.
3. Reduce Friction during sexual intercourse. Friction during sex could irritate your skin and induce outbreaks. If that's an issue, use a water-based sexual lubricant.
3a. Don't utilize an oil-based lubricant because the oil can break down a latex condom. Additionally, don't use a lubricant that contains nonoxynol-9 (spermicide). Nonoxynol-9 could cause small rips in mucous membranes on the genitals. These rips enables the virus to enter your body easier.
Between outbreaks, it's OK to have sex, so long as your partner understands and also accepts the risk.
One of the biggest worries for many people with herpes is transmitting the virus to their partner. People having sex with herpes must more aware and in tuned to what their bodies are telling them. You must always be on the look out for any signs of an outbreak to include prodormal signs.
I am simply amazed that some people are so scared of transmitting herpes to a partner that they make a decision to either stop having sex with herpes altogether or to only have sex with other people who have herpes.
I know that this is a personal choice and I get that but limiting yourself like this is purely a result of your own insecurities and we should NEVER make rational decisions based on insecurities.
Speak with your partners and allow them to assume the risk for their own health. Wouldn't you feel worse if you had strong feelings for someone but because of your insecurities, you decided to end the relationship? What if your partner wanted to accept the risk but you pulled away before giving them the chance?
Meeting that special 1 in 100 person is hard enough without herpes, why limit yourself?
The most crucial key to make sure safe sex with herpes is based on talking openly and honestly about it with partners. Honest and open conversation will allow you to both to work with each other to prevent transmission.
Open and honest communication begins with education about what the virus is and what the virus isn't. You should sit down with your partners and talk about the transmission rates so you and them know the risks surrounding having sex with herpes.
Don't be afraid to stop if you have the slightest unease about having sex. Although you and your partner may be sexually frustrated you'll be glad that you did once the feeling wears off.
Look at outbreaks differently. The time during an outbreak can be used to reconnect with your partner. You can also use this time for support and extra closeness in different ways besides sexual intercourse.
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