If you or your partner has herpes, the issue of what’s safe and what isn’t in the bedroom can be a confusing one. You will likely read all manner of different ideas and statistics on transmission rates, male versus female infection likelihood, the safety and failure rates of condoms, dental dams, and suppression therapy. The real truth is you can never be 100 percent protected from an infected partner passing herpes on to a non infected partner, but with some common sense and a little forethought before intimacy, you can drastically reduce the risk and a herpes sufferer can still enjoy a fulfilling sex life with a non infected partner.
The first thing to know about having sex during herpes outbreak is, it is not recommended. When you are having an outbreak you are much more likely to shed the virus and pass it on to your partner. Having sex between genital herpes outbreaks is much safer. However if having sex during an outbreak does not pose issues of irritation or soreness to you, or maybe your outbreaks are very frequent, or whatever reason you choose to have relations during an outbreak, here’s how you can reduce the risk.
Firstly, ensure proper protection is used. This means a well fitted condom or a strong dental dam, and be sure to check periodically to make sure it hasn’t slipped or torn during lovemaking. Condoms and dams don’t offer 100 percent protection, but can certainly reduce the risk dramatically.
Secondly, ensure the infected partner is taking a daily antiviral suppressive drug, and has kept up with dosage. These drugs reduce shedding significantly, and combined with the condom or dam, reduce the risk of transmission further.
Thirdly, remember there’s more to sex than penetration. If you are having a flare up, there’s more options for sex during herpes than just vaginal sex. Try mutual masturbation, sex toys, or if the infected partner doesn’t have oral sores, he or she can safely perform oral sex on the other partner.
Overall, remember sex during an outbreak is not recommended, and adds significant risk of transmitting the virus. However, if both partners understand the risk and take the above precautions, the risk can be reduced, and you can enjoy sex during herpes.