What Should I Tell My Boyfriend about My Herpes before We Have Sex?

What Should I Tell My Boyfriend about My Herpes before We Have Sex_ - Alexandra Harbushka

How to Talk to your Boyfriend About Having Herpes 

Talking about sex is something that in general we don’t feel comfortable about. As adults we get all uncomfortable when a sex topic comes up and it’s like we turn into little kids. It’s so funny. But at the same time it’s a real problem. We need to learn how to talk to our partners about sex and that includes safe sex, birth control, desires and so on. 

Today we’re talking about how to talk to your boyfriend or girlfriend about having herpes before you have sex with them. This entire idea sounds absolutely terrifying and scary. I’ve said it many times that when we’re diagnosed with herpes one of the biggest fears is to tell our partner that we have herpes. But it’s the inevitable and it’s totally worth it when you have the right person in your life. 

Here’s 2 reasons why it’s very important to tell your boyfriend or girlfriend you have herpes: 

  1. It Creates Trust 

    Having trust with your partner is key in so many ways. When you can trust your partner sexually it opens up so many doors to honesty in other parts of your relationship not to mention better sex. I mean think about it, do you really want to have sex with someone you don’t trust? I know I sure don’t. 
  2. Herpes is Contagious 

    We used to think that herpes was only contagious when there was an outbreak but that’s just not true. Herpes is contagious when there’s an outbreak and when viral shedding is occurring. I talk more about viral shedding here. So the idea of thinking you don’t need to tell them because you’re not having an outbreak at the moment or it’s been years since your last outbreak you’ll need to think again because you could unknowingly be putting your partner at risk.  


Now let’s move on and talk about some key things you and your girlfriend or boyfriend should be talking about before you jump between the sheets: 

  1. How to Prevent Transmission 

    Obviously preventing transmission is key here. We don’t want to give it to our partners or anyone else for that matter. We want to do whatever we can to prevent this. So with that being said talking about herpes transmission is kinda like talking about birth control. It’s a conversation that needs to happen so that everyone is on the same page. I go into detail here about 3 ways to prevent transmission if you have questions. 
  2. Talking About What Type of Herpes You Have 

    Just because you have oral herpes it doesn’t mean you have HSV 1 and just because you have genital herpes it doesn’t mean you have HSV 2. And with herpes being so common it’s a great idea to talk to your partner about what type you have. Most likely if you have HSV 1 genitally your partner will have HSV 1 orally and that’s great news because you both have the same virus. Even if you both don’t have herpes it’s still a good idea to talk about it so that your girlfriend or boyfriend can have full transparency. 
  3. Talk to Them About When You Have an Outbreak or When Your Last One Was 

    Just because you’ve had the “herpes talk” doesn’t mean that you’re never going to talk about having herpes ever again. Feeling comfortable about sharing when your last outbreak was or when you feel like one is coming on is important. By having this conversation you can help reduce transmission (yay) as well as keep that open dialog about sex. Remember talking about sex is something that creats trust in your  relationship. It might feel weird at first but it’s great to let your partner know what’s up in your world of herpes. 

As you can see communication is key here. Yes, the conversations might be a little uncomfortable at first. However the more you can talk about sex, herpes and your sexual health you’re going to create a stronger foundation for the two of you. And that’s what a relationship is all about. 

If this is something that is interesting to you, you might want to check out a podcast I did with my husband, Bill. He talks about what it’s like to be married to someone with herpes and Bill shares what his first thoughts were when we first started dating and how important communicating about herpes is. You can find his podcast episode here.  And… I’m super excited that Bill will be talking at our upcoming retreat!!! Yay so you can go here to learn more about our retreat and book your seat

Last but not least the fear of disclosing to your partner is seriously one of the scariest things we deal with when it comes to our diagnosis. So I’ve put together a toolkit to walk you through telling your partner. Go here to get yours. 

Watch Life With Herpes:





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