Herpes is common, like, REALLY common. In fact, about one in seven people that live in Canada carry the herpes virus, and the majority of those people aren't even aware that they have it.
While most people with herpes will never experience any symptoms, for those that do, it can be a real pain in the… well, you know. Not to mention, it can be a bit of an embarrassment.
So, if you're someone who is looking to have sex with someone who has herpes, or you're a person who has herpes, and you're looking to have sex with someone, here's what you need to know.
What is Herpes?
Herpes is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). There are two types of HSV: HSV-1, which usually causes oral herpes, and HSV-2, which usually causes genital herpes.
Herpes causes blisters or sores on the skin and can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, oral sex, vaginal sex, or anal sex. It can also be passed from one person to another through kissing or sharing objects such as utensils, razors, or towels that have been in contact with the virus.
The virus creates an infection by entering the body through small breaks in the skin or mucous membranes. Once inside, it remains inactive (latent) until something triggers it to become active again. When the virus is active, it causes sores or blisters (called outbreaks) on the skin.
HSV-1 vs. HSV-2
HSV-1 and HSV-2 are both types of herpes simplex viruses. HSV-1 is typically transmitted orally and causes sores around the mouth, while HSV-2 is typically transmitted sexually and causes sores around the genitals.
While HSV-1 and HSV-2 are similar in many ways, there are some key differences between the two viruses. For example, HSV-1 is more likely to cause cold sores or fever blisters, while HSV-2 is more likely to cause genital herpes. In addition, HSV-1 is frequently transmitted through contact with saliva, while HSV-2 is usually transmitted through sexual contact.
While there is no cure for either HSV-1 or HSV-2, both viruses can be managed with medication. In addition, there are steps that people can take to reduce their risk of transmitting either virus to others.
What Activates Herpes?
There is no definitive answer to this question as the virus can be reactivated by a number of different triggers. These can include stress, fatigue, illness, menstruation, sexual intercourse, and ultraviolet light. Many people with herpes never have any symptoms and the virus lies dormant in their bodies for years.
Avoiding the triggers isn't easy, but many people can feel outbreaks coming, especially oral herpes, and can take steps to prevent them. Avoiding stress, getting enough sleep, and taking antiviral medication can all help to keep the virus dormant.
How You Should Prepare for Sex With Herpes
The best way to prepare for sex with herpes is to talk about it, which may be difficult for some people. You should always tell your partner that you have herpes because it is a sexually transmitted infection, and they need to be aware of the risks. You should also use condoms to reduce the risk of transmission. The following are some other tips to prepare for sex with herpes.
1. Focus on Treating Your Herpes
Before even having the sex talk, it can be extremely comforting to both you and your partner if you manage your outbreaks. Herpes isn't impossible to manage, and it doesn't have to rule your life. The first step is understanding what triggers your outbreaks and finding a way to avoid them. You may have to experiment a little, but eventually, you'll find a routine that works for you.
There are also treatments available to help shorten and prevent outbreaks. These can be in the form of antiviral medications, which are available by prescription, or topical treatments, which can be found over the counter.
If you have frequent or severe outbreaks, you may also want to consider suppressive therapy. This is when you take antiviral medication every day, whether you have an outbreak or not. This can help to drastically reduce the number of outbreaks you experience.
If you have any questions or concerns about your herpes, don't hesitate to talk to your doctor. They can help you figure out the best way to manage your condition and keep you healthy and happy.
2. Talk About It
You must tell your partner that you have herpes. This can be a difficult conversation, but it is important to have. You need to explain to them what herpes is, how you got it, and that it is a sexually transmitted infection. You should also explain that there are risks involved in having sex with someone who has herpes.
Together, you can work out ways to enjoy your sex lives while keeping each other safe. There are lots of ways to have sex if you have herpes, so don't rule it out. In fact, many people with herpes live very normal sexual lives, they just take extra precautionary measures in order to keep themselves and their partners safe.
Although this may be a difficult conversation, the alternative is even more difficult. Not only is it very unethical to not tell your partner, but it could destroy your relationship. Value other people, tell them the truth, and you may be very surprised to find that they are more than willing to work with you to keep things fun and safe.
Before disclosing to your partner that you have herpes, you should know which type of herpes you have. HSV-1 and HSV-2 present differently and are often treated differently, so it is important to know which you have. You can find out by getting a blood test from your doctor.
If you have HSV-2, you should also tell your partner that you have genital herpes. This is because HSV-2 can be passed through sexual contact, and it is possible to have genital herpes without knowing it. If you have HSV-1, you can still pass it to your partner through sexual contact, but it is less likely.
Explaining to your partner how you can have safe sex will comfort them. For many people, the worry of infecting their partner is worse than the symptoms of herpes. There are many ways to reduce the risk of passing on herpes, so tell your partner about them. You can use condoms, abstain from sex during outbreaks, and take antiviral medication. When it comes to oral, you can use dental dams.
It's more than possible to have a healthy and enjoyable sexual relationship even if you have herpes. The most important thing is to be honest with your partner and to work together to keep each other safe.
3. Use Condoms
You should use condoms every time you have sex. This is the best way to reduce the risk of transmission. Condoms are not 100% effective, but they are the best way to reduce the risk. Not only do condoms protect you, but they also protect your partner.
Condoms can help stop other STDs and STIs, plus they can help prevent pregnancy. If you are not using condoms, you are putting yourself and your partner at risk.
4. Use a Dental Dam During Oral Sex
A dental dam is a latex barrier that can be used during cunnilingus or anilingus for extra protection. They are available in most sexual health clinics and some pharmacies.
Dental dams are typically effective at preventing the transmission of STDs. However, they are not 100% effective and should be used in conjunction with other forms of protection, such as condoms to reduce the risk of transmission.
To use a dental dam, simply place it over the vulva or anus before performing oral sex. Make sure that the dam is covering all of the exposed skin to reduce the risk of transmission. Once you are done, dispose of the dam properly.
While it may seem awkward to pull out a dental dam during sex, it is important to remember that STDs are a serious health concern. By using a dental dam, you can help reduce the risk of transmission and keep yourself and your partner healthy.
How Herpes Outbreaks Effect Sex
Herpes outbreaks can have a significant effect on a person's sex life. Outbreaks can be painful and can make sexual intercourse difficult or impossible. They can also lead to feelings of shame and isolation. Herpes can make it difficult to have or maintain an erection. In addition, herpes can be transmitted to sexual partners, which can lead to further complications.
But that's the worst of it, really! And all of it is manageable. Honesty, levelheadedness, and maturity are what will get you through.
What does sex with herpes look like? Well, it looks like abstaining during outbreaks, using barrier protection methods like dental dams and condoms, and being honest with your partner about your status. It also looks like being comfortable with your own body and accepting that you have herpes. With all of that in place, sex with herpes can be enjoyable and fulfilling.
Millions of people have herpes, so you're not alone. Plus, there are treatments that can help reduce the frequency and severity of outbreaks. So don't let herpes stop you from enjoying a healthy and active sex life.
How To Tell Your Partner You Have Herpes
If you have herpes, it is important to tell your sexual partner(s) as soon as possible. This will help them make informed decisions about their sexual health and will hopefully prevent them from contracting the virus.
There is no easy way to tell someone that you have herpes, but it is important to be honest and upfront about your diagnosis. You may feel embarrassed, ashamed, or scared to tell your partner, but it is important to remember that herpes is a common virus and your partner may have already been exposed to it.
If you are not sure how to tell your partner, you can ask your doctor or a counselor for help. It starts with a conversation, but you may be surprised at how understanding and supportive your partner can be.
The best way to tell your partner is, of course, to sit down together and talk about it. Inform them that you have a difficult conversation ahead, but that you'd like for them to hear you out. Tell them which type of herpes you have, how often you have outbreaks, the medications you're taking to keep your outbreaks under control, and how the virus doesn't prevent you from having sex.
Your partner will likely have a lot of questions. Be patient and answer them as best you can. It's important that you provide accurate information so that your partner can make informed decisions about their sexual health.
After you've had a chance to talk, it's time to take action. If you have genital herpes, you should use condoms every time you have sex. You should also avoid sexual contact when you have an active outbreak.
If you have oral herpes, you should avoid kissing and oral sex when you have an active outbreak. You can still have sex, but you should use condoms to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus.
It's also important to tell your partner about all the various barrier methods that you can use to keep them safe.
How To Have Safe Sex With Herpes
A lot of people are worried that they can spread herpes to their sex partners. But it's really hard to give someone herpes through sex when you have herpes. If you have herpes, and you're in a sexual relationship with someone who doesn't have herpes, you should tell them.
You can still have a healthy sex life if you have herpes. You just need to take some extra steps to prevent spreading the virus.
1. Use condoms, which will help reduce the chance of spreading herpes by acting as a barrier. While it's not a foolproof method, using condoms can help reduce the risk of spreading herpes. The condoms need to be well-fitted to avoid slipping off during sex.
2. Don't have sex during an outbreak. This is when the herpes virus is most likely to be present on your skin. Wash your hands every single time you use the restroom, or if you touch your genitals.
3. Avoid sexual contact when you have any cuts, sores, or other open wounds. This is because the herpes virus can enter your body through these openings.
4. Get dental dams for oral sex and use them every time. Dental dams are thin sheets of latex that you can place over the vulva or anus during oral sex. This will help reduce the risk of spreading herpes through contact with saliva.
5. Take medications that will keep your outbreaks at bay. Herpes lesions are small blisters that can pop and spread the virus. If you take antiviral medications, you can help reduce the number of outbreaks you experience.
This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. Your specific circumstances should be discussed with a healthcare provider. All statements of opinion represent the writers' judgement at the time of publication and are subject to change. Phoenix and its affiliates provide no express or implied endorsements of third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products, or services.