Dating with Herpes
Living with herpes can be difficult, especially when it comes to dating and relationships. If you have herpes, you should know that it’s completely normal to have a romantic and/or sexual partner. If you are dating someone who has herpes, know that talking about a sexually transmitted infection (STI) is difficult, but it’s important to have a conversation so both you and your partner(s) can help prevent herpes from spreading. Here are some things to keep in mind if you have herpes, or if you are dating someone with herpes:
Know the facts
It’s easy to rush and draw your own conclusions from medically inaccurate posts. Herpes is a very common STI, and here is a resources where you can read up on the facts. If you have herpes, you can let your partner know that there are treatments that suppress the virus activity, control the frequency of outbreaks, and make it less likely to pass the disease on.
Be mindful of emotions
Herpes does not define a person. If all health issues defined people, we’d have a lot of negative judgment! Regardless of if you are dating someone who has herpes or if you have herpes, both you and your partner(s) should be mindful of how you are communicating with each other. Try to have conversations that are calm and positive versus negative and judgmental.
Practice safe sex
This goes without being said, regardless of your condition - you should always practice safe sex. You and your partner should get tested (read here to learn when you should get tested), and should always use condoms or dental dams during intercourse or oral sex. Do note that condoms are not guaranteed to prevent spreading. If you have herpes, you should avoid having oral, vaginal, or anal sex during the initial outbreak since this is when the virus is most contagious.
Try mutual masturbation
You or your partner(s) may not be ready to have intercourse or oral sex, and that’s completely okay. You can still have a fulfilling sexual experience by trying mutual masturbation, which does not have any risks. You and your partner(s) can masturbate each other or masturbate individually. Make sure your hands are clean, and never touch a herpes sore, then touch your partner.
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