A herpes diagnosis can be tough. There may be times where it feels dating someone with genital herpes is impossible. However, a positive diagnosis isn’t the end of the world. In fact, millions of Americans deal with genital herpes. So how can you continue successfully dating with herpes? Here are nine tips that you need to know:
1. Communicate With Your Date
It’s up to you to find the right time to tell your date that you have genital herpes. While this may be an uncomfortable conversation, it’s important to establish trust and get the conversation out of the way. There are several ways you can go about telling your partner this.
Some like to tell their partner as quickly as possible so that there are no secrets that can undermine the relationship. Others like to break the news about herpes to someone who has already grown attached to them. The idea behind waiting is that you and your partner may have established a strong connection that a herpes diagnosis can’t break.
2. Don’t Wait Until Sex
The main rule you should follow when deciding the right time to tell a date is that you should never wait until after sex. This is completely irresponsible and could even open you up to legal repercussions. You should also not wait until you’re about to have sex because the attraction may be too strong for either of you to think rationally and act responsibly.
If you’re someone who typically likes to start a new relationship with sex, you may want to change your approach. Keep in mind, kissing, cuddling, and fondling are safe. However, use your judgment as to how physically intimate you want to get before telling. As we all know, one thing could also lead to another.
3. Dealing with Rejection
With or without genital herpes, everyone in the dating scene should be prepared for rejection. You will need to accept the reality that someone may leave the second they learn about a herpes diagnosis. However, don’t let this get your hopes down.
If your special someone leaves after learning about your herpes consider this: They may have already been looking for a way out and a herpes diagnosis is their excuse. Anyone who humiliates you for having herpes was never worth your time anyway.
4. Remember, You’re Not Alone
One of the most important things to remember when dealing with herpes is that you are not alone. In fact, it’s estimated that one out of every eight adults in the United States has genital herpes. With that in mind, you can bet you’re not the only person in the dating scene dealing with herpes.
It’s always helpful and comforting to know that you’re not the only person dealing with a specific situation. There are even herpes support groups that will help you and give you tips on how to best handle your situation. While a herpes diagnosis isn’t ideal, you’re not the only person dealing with it.
5. Take Steps to Reduce Transmission Risk
If you have herpes and your partner doesn’t, you should take every step possible to reduce your level of viral shedding. Your partner has put a significant level of trust in you and you owe it to them to do what you can to lower your transmission risk.
6. Talk With Your Doctor
The first thing you should do after a herpes diagnosis is to talk with your doctor. There are antiviral medications, such as valacyclovir than can help lower your transmission risk. When taken regularly at a suppressive therapy dose, valacyclovir greatly reduces your risk of transmitting genital herpes to other people.
Your doctor may also provide you with other solutions. Keep in mind, no one knows how to handle a herpes diagnosis better than the experts. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor any questions you may have. There are no stupid questions when it comes to a herpes diagnosis.
7. Use Protection
This should go without saying and is a safe practice for anyone regardless of their herpes status. Use condoms, dental dams, and other barrier contraceptives when having sex. Physical barriers reduce the amount of direct skin contact that happens during sex.
Keep in mind, these aren’t 100% effective at preventing a herpes transmission. Before having sex, both you and your partner should be fully aware of the risk. Do not have sex if either of you isn’t willing to accept the risk. Both you and your partner should be comfortable.
8. Avoid Sex During an Outbreak
Regardless of the steps you take to avoid transmission, you should always avoid sex during a herpes outbreak. During outbreaks, the virus its most likely to spread to other people. Recognize the signs of an outbreak so you and your partner are always protected.
Outbreaks typically start with tingling, then blisters on or around your genitals. When the blisters break, they leave sores that can take weeks to heal. Illness, poor diet, emotional or physical stress, or friction in the genital area can lead to a herpes outbreak.
9. Develop a Sexual Plan
You and your partner will need to develop a sexual plan. Once this plan has been developed, it’s important that you both stick to the plan. What happens if things start heating up and there is no protection?
Who is responsible for ensuring that there is always a form of protection on standby? This plan will help ensure that you and your partner are always protected. While this may be a mood killer at times, it is well worth it in the long run.
A herpes diagnosis isn’t the end of the world. In fact, millions of Americans deal with herpes on a daily basis. Proper and upfront communication can help you find the love of your life!