sex & herpes

How to Have a Healthy Sex Life if You Have Herpes
  • Getting diagnosed with the disease doesn’t mean you can’t have a great sex life. Use this guide to get busy without the worry.

    Communicate with Your Partner
    If you have herpes, it’s important to be open and honest about it with a new partner. “This is a conversation that has to come right up front if you feel like you’re going to be sexually active with someone new,” says Dr. Bettin. Both people should get an STD test (even if you know you have herpes, you should also get tested for other diseases). “You want to know what you're each bringing to the relationship. This is a trust builder — and hiding the information can be a trust breaker,” she says.

    Men vs. Women with Herpes
    Because of the nature of male and female genitalia, it is easier for herpes to be transmitted to a woman by a man than vice-versa. This is because female genitals have more exposed soft tissue. This also accounts for the slight gender gap in women vs. men with herpes. Approximately one in four American women in has it, while approximately one in five American men does. (Statistics, depending on populations used, vary slightly.)

    Gay Living with Herpes
    For gay men there are always going to be challenges in life. Unfortunately, there are still many in society that don't except the gay lifestyle. Lesbian women face some of the same challenges, but there are some unique challenges for gay men that nobody else has to face. This may be even more enhanced when a gay man finds out he's living with herpes. Any STD has a sort of notoriety associated with, and herpes is no exception.

    Avoid Sex During Outbreaks
    Using condoms consistently will diminish your risk of transmitting herpes to your partner. Over time, couples in monogamous relationships may decide to forego the condom entirely. “There’s nothing unreasonable about that at all, and it all depends on your comfort level in the relationship,” says Fred Wyand, spokesman for the American Social Health Association. As your relationship progresses, talk to your partner so you can make a choice that works for you both.

    Use Male Condoms
    Although it’s unlikely that you’re going to want to be intimate during an outbreak, it’s important to know that this is the time when the virus is most active and most likely to be transmissible, says Wyand. “Wait until all your symptoms go away, including any sores, itching, and tingling,” he advises.

    Try Medication
    Talk to your doctor about an antiviral medication to suppress the virus. You can take it to speed healing at the onset of an outbreak, or daily if you suffer from frequent outbreaks. “Research has shown that taking Valtrex daily as a suppressive therapy can reduce transmission by about half,” says Wyand.

    H-Eraser and H-Eraser + are both natural treatments to help suppress herpes symptoms.