So, you’ve tested positive for genital herpes. Firstly, welcome to the club! An estimated 3.7 billion people under the age of 50 carry the HSV-1 strain while an estimated 491 million people aged 15 – 49 carry the HSV-2 virus. And, secondly, testing positive for herpes does not signal the death of your sex life. If anything, herpes is an opportunity to create a higher level of communication and trust within your relationships. Sure, maintaining an active sex life with third-wheeling herpes can involve a little more work than if you were a non-herpes carrier, but every woman deserves sex in their life, so let’s delve into how it’s possible to have sex with herpes, safely.
There are plenty of herpes myths floating around. The thing about herpes myths is that more commonly than not, they’re false claims about a subject the world is super confused about. When confusion is linked to a subject, that’s when stigma arises. Simple rules of the domino effect theory prove that one of the best ways to reduce stigma surrounding herpes is to learn the facts and share them with those closest to you. If you’re looking for a place to start, help yourself to some of our favourite herpes facts:
- There are two strains of herpes; HSV-1 and HSV-2. HSV-1 most commonly affects the mouth in the form of cold sores, and HSV-2 commonly affects the genitals. However, HSV-1 can be transmitted to the genitals, and vice versa for HSV-2.
- Herpes can be asymptomatic, meaning that a large portion of the population could be living with herpes without even knowing. Herpes truly is more common than you think.
- Just because you have herpes, that doesn’t mean you’ll always be amidst an active phase. Herpes isn’t yet curable, but it is treatable. If you’re on top of your treatment plan, you could go years between flare ups (the period when herpes is most transmittable).
When you’re comfortably ready to have sex after finding out your herpes diagnoses, it’s a good move to share your herpes status with your partner in advance. Trust us, the last thing you want is to be breaking the news while getting frisky between the sheets. Unsure how to approach a herpes conversation with your significant other? Here’s a guide we’ve prepared earlier.
We’ll admit a safe sex plan may seem official for an act resulting from natural instinct and attraction. But, hear us out. If we’re correct, when it comes to sex it’s going to happen with someone you care about. And again, if we’re correct, you want to take every possible step to prevent transmitting herpes to that person who you care about. Having a sexual safety plan can help you achieve that.
No two safe sex plans will be the same. The best way to create your individual plan is to become familiar with symptoms of your outbreaks. Do lesions appear when you flare up? Does your skin start to itch or tingle prior to a flare up? Where do you experience an outbreak?
Knowing the symptoms of your flare ups can help you to prepare when intimacy time arrives. Your plan may involve having a supply of barrier methods, like dental dams, condoms and gloves. Or, you may skip sex altogether for alternative, less risky acts of pleasure during those times.
If your situation falls into the latter and you wish to skip sex for alternative forms of pleasure, chat with your partner about other ways to make each other feel good. Masturbating together, sensual massages, sexting, or simply cuddling on the couch; there’s bound to be a form of intimacy that works for you. Plus, the sexual tension build-up will make for one hot session once your flare up subsides (we hear it’s even better than make-up sex, sheesh).
Being dealt the herpes card in life can be an emotional bummer, but it’s important not to punish yourself. Herpes can happen to anyone. You are still, and always will be, deserving of pleasurable sexual experiences and intimacy. Get out there and have some fun!
Remember, if you require Herpes treatment, we're here to help! Get started now.
This blog is designed to be informative and educational. It is not intended to provide specific medical advice or replace advice from your medical practitioner.