New Girlfriend question

I just started seeing this woman recently. We have not had sex as of yet. The other night she said there was somethings she had to tell me. One of them was that she has herpes. This helps explain her not wanting to have sex with just anyone( as in not just having sex with just anyone now.) I know that there is more to a relationship that sex. I too want more that just having sex with her. The question I want to ask is- can you have safe sex with someone with herpes, what protection would be adequate, should we not have intercourse and try something else (ie mutual masturbation…), should we abstain from sex with each other? Opinions, comments and suggestions welcome.

The URL above looks pretty helpful.

A pretty high proportion of U.S. adults has herpes. Most people who have it don’t know it, so it’s quite possible that somebody else you’ve had sex with had herpes–or that you do.

Safer sex is probably a good idea but since there can be viral shedding before any signs of an outbreak, there’s some risk that can’t be managed. What you do sexually may depend on where she has had lesions. And get in the habit of washing your hands after sex, and not rubbing your eyes.

If you like this person, herpes shouldn’t be a deal-breaker.

If you enter a long-term relationship with this woman, eventually, you’re going to catch herpes; it’s pretty much unavoidable. The good news is that, aside from the occasional painful sore every six months or so, it’s not a big deal.

Keep in mind that even if you DO catch the virus (and Rocketeer’s opinion is by no means a rule), you may not ever have any outbreaks.

So, (a) you may never suffer from the sores yourself, and (b) if this relationship doesn’t pan out, you may wish to get a blood test from your doctor, before entering into another relationship.

The effectiveness of condoms is not 100%; a lot depends on where her sore(s) appear. For example, if they are on the outside of her labia, a condom won’t protect you from contact with that area.

One option is the female condom, it protects inside and out.

There are some good websites with information on this virus. It is much more common than many people think, and the stigma that is still attached to it is unfortunate.

Oops - posted too soon.

I also wanted to add that, depending on how long she has had the virus, she is probably really good at predicting by now when she may experience an outbreak.

For many women, an outbreak will most likely occur during their period (the extra moisture, and irritation caused by pantiliners or pads can be a trigger, as can of course, the hormonal changes), or during times of stress. Other triggers are: nylon or any other non-breathable panties, poor sleep habits, and/or poor nutrition.

I personally think it says a lot about this woman that she has taken the difficult step of telling you - and it says a lot about you that you are appreciating that and you are educating yourself about it in an open-minded way.

Meh. If you like her, don’t hold back.

Use precautions, of course, but that’s a given, anyway.

One woman I was with for many years had herpes. After a certain point (when we naively felt that we were in a ‘forever’ relationship,) we sometimes even dispensed with the latex. I figured what’s hers is mine and vice-versa, whatever.

Still, when it was over and done and I figured I’d get tested so I’d know for sure if I had to be similarly cautious with anyone new, my tests came back clean. Apparently it’s harder for herpes to be transmitted f–>m, what with us being comparitively thick-skinned in the relevant areas and all.

Also, in a long-term relationship with discordant couples (one has herpes and the other doesn’t), use of anti-viral drugs can be useful. The partner with herpes can either take the drug during outbreaks or continuously, to prevent outbreaks. I’ve read cites that anti-virals can decrease viral shedding by 80 to 95%.

goes to Google

This site states that:

I’ve had long-term relationships with women with herpes and haven’t gotten it (that is, I still have a negative antibody titer). I give you that female-female transmission may be less frequent, but certainly it happens.