Dating with Herpes | The Ultimate Guide
Being diagnosed with herpes can come as a shock to anyone. It can come with many negative emotions and feelings because of the stigmas associated with it.
Dating with herpes can be a tricky situation, and despite the knowing millions of people have the virus, only a small portion is actually in the know about their status.
Here are the Facts.
Herpes simplex is a virus that affects nearly half of the entire population in the world. Herpes simplex virus (HSV) has two categories, HSV-1 and HSV-2. The first and most common is oral, which affects about 3.7 billion (yes, billion) people under the age of 50.
The second HSV-2, which is genital, is estimated to affect nearly 417 million people ages 15-49. These numbers were accurate as of 2017 (CDC) and had more than likely grown.
These staggering statistics give perspective to how prevalent the viruses are. People need more education on how to deal with what comes with the virus. Education is important when dating with herpes is becoming such a prevalent thing based on the statistics. A lot of people have it, and most do not even know.
Contracting HSV- 1
HSV-1 can be contracted orally through open sores on the skin. It can also be transmitted through kissing or sharing drinking and toothbrushes. Most of the time, the virus spreads during an outbreak, but, at any time, the possibility of transmittance is present.
Here was an experience that I encountered.
When I was in my early 20s, I was getting to know a young lady who I had known for years but never spent time with her. We spoke on the phone often and went on a few dates.
It was evident that we were both very interested in one another, so that was when she invited me over to her house. Mind you; I had some doubts about her because we never were physical at all.
We never kissed or anything like that, so when I went to meet up, I was excited because I figured all of my chivalry had finally paid off! I’m joking, but once I arrived, she seemed to want to talk. I was not prepared for what she would reveal to me shortly after.
She stated that she liked me a lot and was interested in getting to know me on a more personal level. She even insisted that she had wanted to be intimate with me so badly, but was afraid.
I was confused because I may not be the best looking guy (I think I’m good looking 😉), but anyway, she stated that she had the herpes simplex virus and that she did not want to give it to me.
“That is why I haven’t kissed or had sex with you, I want you, but I don’t want you to have it.”
At first, I felt relief. Afterward, thrown-off and confused by what she had just told me, Nonetheless, I remained humble to her opening up with me. She must have already assumed I would leave her because she said it’s okay for me to leave now, and didn’t expect me to stay.
I say I completely understand, and I thank you so much. I was not informed about it and was scared honestly, but I wondered to myself, “Wow, she must have respected me because she did not have to do that.”
Contracting the virus comes with a lot of negative mental and emotional experiences and makes having a “normal” life while dating with herpes, difficult.
Contracting HSV- 2
HSV-2 is known as genital herpes are typically found below the waist regions and can be spread by skin-to-skin contact. Rarely does it happen via oral sex, and symptoms may not show initially but usually within two weeks after contact.
Pregnant mothers should be aware that HSV-2 is possible to pass on to your baby. Consult your doctors to make sure you are not posing a risk to your baby.
The symptoms of both viruses are similar. Before an outbreak, a person may experience a tingling sensation around the genitalia or mouth area. You may notice the presence of sores and blisters that appear pink or reddish.
Dating With Herpes
Dating with herpes can be a challenge. Having the virus comes with so many different stigmas, that it can be overwhelming to deal with alone.
Now, add the fact of wanting to be romantic; this can be a nightmare because of the many negative associations that people make when hearing someone suffers from the herpes simplex virus.
What should you do if you want to date someone, but are unsure what to say to ensure you are sexually moral and not embarrassing yourself? There are two specific times to talk about your condition.
Before intimacy and after. Since this is a judgment-free zone, let’s take a look at both instances, as they both realistically happen.
Disclosure Before Intimacy
This is your opportunity to speak with someone that you are interested in before you are intimate with them. Taking this approach gives a higher probability of keeping all parties safe and in the know.
It is important to someone a heads up about your condition, but you must approach this situation with ease, as it can cause some people to turn away, reject you, or become disgusted.
Remember, we are dealing with a situation that has been stigmatized forever, and most people are not adequately informed.
While you cannot predict someone’s reaction, just saying “I have herpes,” may not be the most user-friendly way to describe it. So how can you do to disclose your status and keep it positive?
You can express sensitivity and honesty about what you enjoy with that person. Tell them you enjoy the relationship, and you would like to know where they see it going. The reason you are doing this is to get a person’s defenses down.
You should be very aware of their body language and non-verbal cues, to see how they are receiving the information.
Using either of these phrases, “I carry the herpes simplex virus,” or, “Sexual health and safety are very important to me,” you can potentially ease the response from your partner.
When you make the safety of your sexual health, one of the main priorities in dating, a person has to be at least respectful about it, even if they decide not to move forward with the relationship.
Things may not always work out in your favor, and you have to prepare your self for it. No matter the feelings you have, it’s best to detach yourself from expectations during this time, because the probability of the person staying or leaving, is 50%.
If you are having trouble with how to disclose to your partner, check out this helpful resource. As with anything else, when you tell someone upfront, you have a better chance of having them respond rationally.
Disclosure After Intimacy
Disclosure you status after sex requires more tact and planning. The reason being, you’ve already been sleeping with the person, but they do not know you have the virus.
Once they find out, they may not be happy about it, but you still must take the chance and tell them for everyone’s safety.
You will have to be honest here because this may be taken the wrong way. If you knowingly have sex with someone (happens more often than not) and do not disclose your status, what message are you sending them?
Maybe you were interested in having sex with them? Perhaps you wanted to be in a relationship, and feared to lose them?
If any of these and other questions arise, continue reading, I am going to help you at least be able to make the situation a little less uncomfortable.
The truth will always set you free, and this is how you approach this problem. First, begin with an apology, as you were not trying to endanger the person or expose them to something that could affect them long term.
Explain your intent (your hopes and even fears). You did not tell them you are a herpes virus carrier due to the fact of knowing they may no longer wish to date you.
After this point, a lot of yelling comes in to play, and that is normal and expected. But, the right person will be able to understand and accept you, just as if you told them upfront.
Another pointer could be to use information from statistics. Once a person is educated and realizes the probability is VERY high, they’ve already had contact with it, receiving the information from you should not be as bad. If one out of four people has it, then it is likely you had encountered it before you two had sex.
Giving someone full disclosure after intimacy does happen. People have to be realistic about their sexual encounters.
Not telling someone is always an option, but it tends to result in the offender carrying guilt and regret—both of which can become destructive, long-term.
While dating with herpes can make a situation like this questionable, let the other person know so that your conscience is clear, and they can be tested if needed.
Prevention and Maintenance
Since HSV-1 and HSV-2 tend to only be problematic during outbreaks, we need to eliminate the stigma that it is dangerous. While there is no “cure” for the disease, there are remedies and methods to keep yourself safely dating and enjoying a healthy life.
The virus can remain dormant in a person’s body for years and have little to no outbreaks. During these outbreaks, a lot of unintentional spreading can happen. But, when it comes to having eruptions, very distinct conditions can trigger it. They include:
Limiting or lessening these events can have a tremendous effect on having an outbreak. Condoms are not 100% in protecting you; neither is medication; they just dramatically reduce transmission rates. Avoiding contact while having an outbreak helps manage the virus, so during this time, abstain from any sexual contact.
For other maintenance tips, check here.
Dating and Support
The beauty of technology and the internet has provided so many resources for people dealing with the condition that dating with herpes no longer has to be a painful guessing game. Many websites that are geared toward people with the condition. This can make dating less of a tense situation filled with awkward moments once you can openly discuss the virus. Check out herpesdatingsites.com, they provide herpes dating sites reviews and give other information out on the virus.
It may be hard to exist with the condition that has been labeled the black plague by society, but you are NOT your condition. You are more. There are many forums and resources online that cater to the community to help educate and provide information for people with or without herpes. It is something that needs to be discussed and should be with dignity, patience, and understanding.
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