Is having safe satisfying sex with herpes possible?
One of the most common, if the most common concerns people have after being diagnosed with herpes is:
“Is my sex life over? Will I ever be able to have a normal sex life again?”
Most definitely Yes! By taking a few precautions the risk of infecting a partner can be dramatically reduced. Many couples have reported no transmission of the virus even though they have been in a sexual relationship for years. This is put down to restraint during outbreaks or very particular and cautious avoidance of the blisters during sex.
If you care about your partner and want to have an intimate relationship with them, herpes does not have to stand in the way. Couples deal successfully with herpes all the time. In most cases it is only a minor inconvenience.
Rule #.1 Never let your partner come in contact with any active symptoms.
The herpes virus can be very contagious and is generally spread by direct skin contact with an active lesion. There is a risk of the virus spreading when the first signs of tingling or itching begin (prodomal period), when there is blisters and lesions as well as shortly after there is no visible symptoms.
One of the main ways to have safer sex with herpes is by maintaining a strong and healthy immune system, accompanied with quality supplements and antiviral treatment, if necessary, which will help weaken the viral activity while supporting and strengthening your body’s natural defenses.
Rule #.2 If your partner does accidentally make contact with the area when you are having an outbreak wash the area thoroughly as soon as possible.
Applying running water and a little soap to the area for a generous amount of time immediately after contact may help reduce the chance of infection.
Rule #.3 Play safe and reduce the odds
Between outbreaks, you may wish to use condoms to reduce the risk of infection. Condoms offer the best protection against other STDs and STIs as well, which is important in a new relationship. Since herpes does not pose a serious health risk, some couples choose not to use condoms in a long-term relationship. Condoms should definitely be used if engaging in casual sex but they are not always 100% reliable.
Facts about using condoms to prevent herpes transmission:
- The herpes virus does not pass through latex condoms.
- When properly used, latex condoms are likely to reduce your risk of spreading or getting herpes, however even the best condoms do not guarantee total safety.
- Condoms do not provide 100 percent protection because a lesion may be on an area which the condom does not cover.
- When herpes sores occur in places not covered by a condom the condom is of little help, if any.
- Used consistently, however, condoms are one of the best available forms of prevention.
- Condoms and foams should not be relied upon when herpes sores or symptoms are present.
If an active outbreak is occurring it is ideal to abstain totally from sex until it has run its course and is no longer showing any signs or symptoms.
Herpes and your relationship
You and your partner will need to have an open, honest communication about herpes so you can work together to prevent transmission. Your partner will need to feel comfortable telling you when he or she feels an outbreak coming on. Your relationship will benefit by you both talking and establishing trust.
On the other hand, if you aren’t sure about the relationship, or you are uncomfortable with the risk, consider delaying intimacy for a while. Get to know your partner better, and give yourself time to adjust to the idea of herpes. There is no need to rush into a decision.
It is important for a potential partner to eventually know that you have herpes and this is something that needs to be done at the right time when one is ready. If you are both still not sexually active with each other, revealing your condition can be done slowly when you feel there is a strong connection between the two of you. If there is any obvious sign that sex will be had with each other, then it is of crucial importance and out of respect for your partner that they become aware that you do in fact have the virus and understand what their risks are.
Keep in mind that all relationships face challenges, many of these being far tougher and arduous than herpes. Good relationships stand or fall on far more important qualities; including communication, respect, and trust.
Safer Sex Practices
– Practice more non-coital sex (sexual intimacy without penetration), especially during an active outbreak. Use your imagination, there are all kinds of ways to have fun!
– Use barriers such as male/female condoms and dental dams.
– Chemoprophylaxis – use a lubricant with nonoxynol, which is proven to have some virucidal activity. Be aware that some people may be sensitive to substances like these and it could cause them inflammation, a rash or sores. In such cases it might increase likelihood of transmission – so definitely do not use these products if you have a known sensitivity to them or are prone to skin disorders!
– Use a lubricant. This will decrease friction and make the viral particles less likely to adhere to new locations.
– Wash thoroughly after sex (not the next morning), preferable with antiviral with soap. This can remove the virus at the skin’s surface. Washing with products containing hydrogen peroxide or diluted chlorine bleach can also knock-out the virus.
– Consume antivirals, suppressives and/or supplements and herbs. Effective treatment options can be found in the ” target=”_blank”>Common Questions page.
The availability of antigen specific transfer factor and other immuno-helpers like beta glucan ushers in a new age of prevention. For the most commonly used methods of herpes deterrence visit the herpes prevention page.
– Keep body fluids away from compromised skin; cuts, abrasions and other conditions that would allow the virus to make contact more easily.
– Be aware that some people can have the virus express itself on other regions of the body, rather than just the standard locations. This can include the inner thighs, sacrum on back, around and inside the buttocks, all sections outside and inside the vagina, under the foreskin of penis, etc.
– Be very mindful and serious about herpes prevention. Practice safer sex methods without exceptions; carelessness with maintaining your protocols and surrender to momentary thrill at the wrong time for sexual intercourse, can have life long effects and consequences. It is not worth it to become ignorant or mindless when herpes is concerned. With good attention to your body and its symptoms, as well as conscious sexual practices, there is no reason having herpes will need to be feared or cause a lack in your sex-life.