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Sex with Herpes - Some Safe Tips You Need to Know

Some people think that their sex life is over when they find they have herpes, if so, it is truely a bad thing. But in fact, the encouraging things about genital herpes (HSV-2) is that it’s still possible to have a rich and fulfilling sex life. Sex with herpes can be intimate, romantic, loving, and fun. Research has even given us data that shows how likely (or really, “unlikely”) you are to transmit herpes during sex when you take precautions and understand the specific circumstances you might have. So you can educate yourself about sex with herpes, including what precautions you can take, what your chances are of getting herpes, and types of sexual encounters as they relate to herpes.

sex with herpes

Oral Sex and Herpes

HSV-1 is usually associated with oral herpes, but it can also spread to the genitals through oral sex. Most people know not to kiss or share a drink while a cold sore is present. The same goes for not performing oral sex while a cold sore is present. You might also wish to use a condom or dental dam.

A dental dam is a latex barrier that can be placed over the vulva/vagina (and anal area if involved) to prevent skin-to-skin contact during oral sex..

HSV-2, which is usually genital herpes, can also spread to the oral region, but it’s not as likely. It is possible, but rare, since HSV-2 doesn’t like the oral environment. In fact, only 3% of oral herpes outbreaks are from HSV-2.

Herpes Transmission Rates

  • The likelihood of passing genital herpes to a partner is highest during an outbreak (times when a sore is present).
  • When a person is not experiencing an outbreak, there is a 4-10% chance of transmitting it. (Depending on sex of infected person)

According to studies done by Valtrex, these are the rates of transmission per year of regular sex:

  • If partners avoid sex during outbreaks: 4% chance transmission from female to male; 8% male to female
  • If partners also use condoms or antiviral medication: 2% female to male; 4% per year male to female
  • If partners also use condoms and antiviral medications: 1% female to male; 2% male to female

Here's some tips and advice for having safe sex with herpes, especially sex with genital herpes or oral sex with cold sores.

When you first get herpes, especially genital herpes, you might be thinking, "My sex life is over!".

It can be intimidating to dive into the dating world again with this new diagnosis...

Well, take a deep breath - your herpes sex life is not over. It's just beginning.

You will have to do some things differently, but you can definitely have a healthy and full sex life with herpes of any type. Even genital herpes.

Here's some precautions you will have to take in order to have a safer sex life with herpes .

1. Genital Herpes Sex. Basic advice for having safe sex with genital herpes is the following:

  • You must tell your partner. 
  • Be honest and open about your condition.
  • Avoid sex before, during, or after outbreaks.
  • Take suppressive medication such as Valtrex or Acyclovir. 

2. Genital Herpes Oral Sex. Basic advice for oral sex with genital herpes is the following: avoid sex during outbreaks of any sorts. Be careful and observant of what is going on in your and your partner's body. Take suppressive medication.

3. Oral Sex Herpes. From my experience, Yes, you can have oral sex even with herpes. But remember the golden rule... no sex during outbreaks.

4. Cold Sore and Oral Sex. When you get cold sores, you are getting herpes. It is oral herpes. So don't have oral sex. You do not want to expose the blister to your partner. If you are careful, and don't kiss, you could still have genital sex. This way you could still have safe, fun oral sex even with herpes, but just not during outbreaks, or even "suspicious outbreaks".

When Both Partners Have Herpes

Congratulations — you can skip having the talk! If you and your partner have the same type of herpes, you have more freedom than a couple not trying to infect one partner. If you both have HSV-2, for example, you both already have the antibodies built up and cannot be re-infected. Your outbreaks and symptoms will instead be affected by the strength of your immune system, so keep it strong.

You will also not necessarily have the same need to avoid sex during and around times of outbreaks, but you will probably want to, for the sake of avoiding discomfort or prolonging the outbreak by irritating it.

If you have different strains of herpes; i.e. one of you has HSV-1 and one has HSV-2, read on. You are already well-protected by your antibodies. If you have HSV-2, you can still get, but might not be as likely to get, genital HSV-1. If you have HSV-1, however, you are still as susceptible to get HSV-2. Getting tested. ( Difference between Herpes Simplex 1 and 2 )

There are dating sites for people with herpes that can help you to meet potential partners with the same type of HSV as you.

Last Words On Sex With Herpes

The big thing to remember when having sex genital herpes or oral herpes sex is this:

Herpes is highly contagious during outbreaks. And even during shedding. So take suppressive medication and avoid sex during outbreaks. Be honest and open with your partners.

If you do these things, "Yes, you can have fulfilling sex with any type of herpes."

“Sex can still be great, even without an orgasm.” 


More Information

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