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A Guide To Dating With Herpes

Learn more about dating with herpes including how romance can work out safely and ways to share the info with your partner.

Read on

So, you’ve found out you have herpes simplex virus type 1 or type 2(HSV1 and HSV2). It might have been pretty shocking to learn that you have a virus that will be with you for your whole life. Your first thoughts might have been something like “How do I tell someone I have herpes?” or “How can I date with herpes?”

Well, we’re happy to report that having both a healthy sex life and long-term relationships is perfectly attainable for those with HSV1 and HSV2. Dating with herpes is possible. You’ve just got to know the game plan.

Your dating life is not over because of herpes

That should be your new mantra. Say it with me: “My dating life is not over.” “My sex life is not over.” You’re going to be able to figure this out along with the other millions who are navigating the same thing.

It’s important to understand that genital herpes and oral herpes are very common. Genital herpes affects about 20 percent of the adult US population. While oral herpes affects roughly 50 to 80 percent of the adult US population.

Herpes is one of the most common infections in the United States. That means millions of people live with this virus and get on with their bedroom escapades responsibly.

Also read: Is Getting A Herpes Diagnosis Really A Big Deal?

Dating with herpes means telling your partners

We will be honest with you, this is a difficult one but it’ll get easier the more you do it. Disclosing this information is necessary for both you and your partner - and it shouldn’t be avoided until the last minute.

At some point, before clothes hit the floor, all newly dating couples should disclose their sexual history and any past or current sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

You disclosing your history and status, or asking for theirs, is not outside the norm. It’s sexually responsible and necessary.

When it comes to dating with herpes there are two golden rules:

1. Don't wait until after you’ve had sex to disclose your status.

2. Don’t wait until you’re already hot and heavy with your new beau to blurt out that you have herpes. You don’t want to put yourself or your partner in either situation. Trust us.

How to tell someone you have herpes

There are many ways to approach this conversation and it’s best to have a good idea of what you want to say when you do. Every person has their own method of disclosure that works for them. You just have to find yours.

You can do this in person, or you can opt for the text message disclosure. Either way works. Just so long as you are honest and upfront.

Example disclosure:

“Before we go any further in our relationship, I have to tell you I have genital herpes. It’s very rare that it ever effects me, its been around X months since I’ve had a flare-up. I take suppressive therapy to keep it under control and help lower risks of transmission to partners. There are ways we can be intimate while also lowering the risk for you, should you decide to keep seeing me. The stigma is actually more difficult than the virus itself. If you have any questions about it, please ask me. If you don’t feel you want to continue seeing me, it’s okay and I respect your decision. I just need to be upfront with you on this.”

Some people might need time to process this in their own time. In some cases, someone will respond with “ok no worries”. Or they will be more hesitant. Either way, people will appreciate your transparency. If they ghost you, that says more about them then it’ll ever say about you.

Rejection is a part of dating for everyone

No matter if you are just dropping lines on Tinder, or meeting up with a cutie at a bar -- rejection is a universal part of dating. Putting yourself out there inevitably invites possible rejections.

And, we won’t act like rejection is easy. It’s not. It can hurt. If you disclose your herpes to a new person, and they opt to not take on the risk of transmission, know they’re just not the right person. And that’s okay.

  • Talk to your partners about this early. (But maybe not suuuper early. Play your cards thoughtfully.)
  • Know your facts about herpes transmission risks and how to manage your outbreaks. This will reassure your new partner. Don’t tell them to “Google it.”
  • Know that you’re going to find your person. You’ll find someone who wants to work through this with you.
  • Who knows - this virus is so common you might disclose to someone who is preparing to disclose the same thing to you.

Lower partner-to-partner transmission risks

You can have great sex and fall in love, while also lowering the chances of passing herpes to your partner.

Also Read: How Can I Protect My Partner From Herpes?

Dating with herpes: Bottom line

Millions of people are out and about in the world, excelling at the dating game while also managing their herpes condition.

Dating and herpes are not mutually exclusive. Quite the opposite, actually. Your dating life is not over because you have herpes.

Consider all of your treatment options, take all necessary precautions, and communicate upfront. That’s all you can do. Once you do that, you have to get on with your life.

Valacyclovir from Strut Health for herpes

Here at Strut, we provide free online questionnaire-based doctor's visits. We consult with many people with HSV1 and HSV2 to see if the antiviral medication Valacyclovir would be a good option for treatment of your herpes.

This common antiviral prescription may shorten the lifespan of a breakout and even prevent future breakouts. If our team finds that you are a good fit for this treatment, we can ship it directly to your home.

Free shipping
Free follow-up care
Cancel anytime, no fees
Free online MD visit

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