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Living with Herpes & Having the Pleasurable Sex Life You Deserve

Updated: Jun 1, 2022

Over time I learned that having herpes was not a death sentence. There are definitely worst things that can happen. And guess what? Living with herpes doesn't stop you from having

the pleasurable sex life that you deserve!

Tips for Disclosing Your Herpes Status

  • Think of What You're Going to Say Ahead of Time

    • Practice what you plan to say, be direct as possible, and don't apologize about your status

  • Safety First - Meet in a Public Space

    • Meet in a place such as a park or coffee shop where you can have a private conversation, but other people are around just in case things happen to go left.

  • Offer to Provide More Information

    • They might not have questions right away and that’s normal, they might need time to process. Here's some information that you can provide them with in the meantime:

      • Herpes is more common than many people think

      • What type of herpes you have (oral vs genital)

      • If you're on daily medication or take it as needed

      • Things that may trigger your outbreaks

      • Signs/symptoms of herpes if transmitted

        • May vary from person to person

    • They might not understand if/how herpes may impact sexual activity. If you experience outbreaks, share some information about how often they occur.

    • Let them know you’ll be willing to answer questions if they come up later

    • You are not obligated to tell them how you contracted herpes. If it comes up, tell them that it’s information you prefer not to discuss.

  • Understand that Rejection Happens

    • Not everyone will accept your herpes status. Rejection might be hard, but remember that not every potential partner will react this way. There are people who will be ready to move forward after learning about your status.

  • Breathe

    • Disclosing your status can be a very nerve-wrecking task. Take a few moments to breathe...whether it's your first time disclosing or your fourth, you made it!


A Guide To Having Sex With Herpes

  • Disclose your status to your partner(s)

  • Avoid sexual activities during an outbreak, including when you feel an outbreak coming

  • Talk with your provider about antiviral medication to help suppress the virus and heal outbreaks

  • Use condoms and dental dams to lower the chances of transmission to your partner(s)

  • Acknowledge (and accept) the potential risk of transmission even with condoms

  • Explore non-sexual forms of intimacy and pleasure

  • Remember that herpes does not make you less deserving of a pleasurable sex life


Things That Can Trigger a Herpes Outbreak

  • Diet

  • Stress

  • Lack of Sleep

  • Lack of Exercise

  • Hormonal Changes

  • Friction from Sexual Intercourse

Sometimes outbreaks happen just because. These triggers can vary from person to person and even over time. Whenever you're having an outbreak, journal any activities or changes so you can hopefully identify what may be your trigger(s).

For a downloadable version of this guide, visit here.

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