Can You Have Unprotected Sex If You Have Herpes?
Yes, of course you can. But before you hit the sheets with your partner let’s talk about some details first.
One of the biggest fears or thoughts are about having sex when you’ve been diagnosed with herpes is that you’ll have to use a condom for the rest of your life.
The other day I was listening to a podcast and the woman called on and said that she was interested in a guy but he has genital herpes. She naturally was concerned and proceeding very cautiously. I mean, I totally get it. One of the things that came up was the lack of spontaneity and the fact that they would always have to use a condom.
I’m here to say that the spontaneousness of sex is still there. With or without herpes. Just so you know.
One of the things that I think we don’t realize is the normal concerns we have about sex are the same with or without herpes. We just place the emphasis on having herpes. All these concerns about condoms, sex, oral sex, spontaneous etc are there without herpes.
The good news about having herpes is now couples are talking about their sexual health and how they are going to proceed. One thing I say all the time is the way bigger deal here is talking about birth control as well as other STIs. I don’t want to get off track but when we get herpes we forget that there are other sexually transmitted disease out there and the much bigger thing is that unprotected sex can create an unwanted pregnancy.
But back to herpes. Here are some of the questions you and your partner will want to talk about when it comes to having unprotected sex. Remember this should be happening regardless of having herpes.
- A conversation about STI testes. Have you both been tested?
- A conversation about monogamous or open relationship.
- Birth control
Eventually in a relationship, the condom comes off. Regardless of herpes or not. Eventually both people feel comfortable with whatever the outcome is.
There are studies that have been done that say a person with genital herpes has a 10% chance of transmitting the virus.(Source). This is not if the person is on the antiviral, this includes when the person does not have an outbreak and if a condom is not being used.
Personally I think the bigger topic is about the relationship and what you both feel comfortable with. Herpes or not there are times in a relationship for whatever reason that you are going to feel more comfortable with that condom on.Then there are times that you will feel comfortable not using the condom.
At the end of the day, its up to you and your partner. But the answers is yes, you can have unprotected sex with your partner even if you have herpes.
We have a Tell your Partner Toolkit that is designed to walk you though your disclosure. If you’re reading this your are probably out there dating and looking for some support with disclosures. The toolkit has 12 or so videos with me discussing how to disclose whether its a one night stand, a past partner, a casual partner and or someone you think is really special and you’re wanting more of a commitment. Anyway, you can check out the toolkit here
Also, we have a group of people from all over the world where we discus these things all the time. Can you have unprotected sex, how do you even get pregnant, if you have to use condoms all the time, and much more. Come check it out here