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Can I Have a Normal Sex Life with Herpes?

Written by Jordan Liffengren Sep 07, 2023

woman and man hugging closely in movie theater with red seats

A herpes diagnosis can feel scary and overwhelming. Although genital herpes affects 40 to 50 million adults in the US, the stigma surrounding it can still make you feel completely alone. With so many questions looming, you may wonder how your sex life or your partner will be impacted. Questions like, “Can I still have a normal sex life with herpes?” and “Will herpes outbreaks end my sex life?” are completely reasonable and expected.  

We’re here to tell you the great news—you can still have a healthy sex life with genital herpes! Despite the myths surrounding sex and herpes, you do not have to abstain from sex or settle in your relationships. The unfairly taboo nature of herpes makes these topics hard to come by, but we're here to support you every step of the way. Let’s jump into the truth behind the bedroom with plenty of tips and tricks to maintain a fulfilling and adventurous sex life with herpes. 

Understanding Herpes 

There’s plenty of misinformation out there, so let’s clear the air with some facts! Herpes is a common viral infection caused by the herpes simplex viruses HSV-1 and HSV-2. HSV-1 is typically responsible for cold sores around the mouth and lips, and is often contracted through nonsexual contact like kissing. HSV-2 is mostly spread through sexual contact and usually leads to genital herpes. However, HSV-1 can also cause genital herpes when spread to the genitals through oral sex. Both viruses can cause painful sores, but they also lie dormant in nerve cells and can reactivate later in life. Regardless of the type, with the right care and consideration, outbreaks can be managed, and people living with herpes can still live normal, happy lives. 

About two-thirds of people under the age of 50 are infected with HSV-1, while around one in eight people aged 14-49 carry HSV-2. We're here to emphasize that herpes is common, non-life-threatening, and can include a healthy and romantic sex life! With open communication, proper understanding, and effective herpes management tools like FemiClear’s natural and over-the-counter Multi-Symptom Relief and Immunity & Stress Support Drink Mix, a fulfilling sex life with herpes is totally achievable.   

Myth-Busting: Herpes and Sex 

Myth 1: Your sex life is over. 

Not at all! A genital herpes diagnosis doesn't mean you have to give up joy and connection—it just means embracing new awareness and intimacy. Your love life is still full of potential; it's just learning to dance to the beat of a slightly different drum. 

Between outbreaks, sex is still on the table. Just make sure both you and your partner are on the same page about risks. You can still engage in sexual activity with condoms, provided there are no sores in the area. Condoms are not guaranteed to prevent infection, but research has shown that they provide some protection.  

When you feel an outbreak coming, or when you notice sores on your genitals, it's time to put certain activities on pause: 

  • Vaginal sex 
  • Anal sex 
  • Receiving oral sex 

Instead, get creative with your partner in other ways, like: 

  • Mutual masturbation 
  • Sex toys 
  • Anything else you can dream up! 

Myth #2: Herpes is only a sexually transmitted infection  

Fact: Life's more nuanced than that! While HSV-2 is mainly sexually transmitted, HSV-1 often spreads through casual contact like kissing or sharing utensils. Many acquire it in childhood through nonsexual means. So, let's break those stereotypes and look at the facts.  

Genital herpes can spread through sexual contact and/or: 

  • Skin-to-skin contact 
  • Rarely, a mother can pass genital herpes to her baby during childbirth 
  • Touching a herpes sore and then touching your mouth, genitals, or eyes without washing your hands first 
  • Kissing someone with oral herpes 

Genital herpes CANNOT spread through: 

  • Hugging 
  • Holding hands 
  • Coughing 
  • Sneezing 
  • Sitting on toilet seats  

Myth 3: Only certain people can get herpes.  

Fact: Herpes doesn't discriminate. If you're sexually active, you are susceptible to herpes. It has nothing to do with promiscuity or carelessness. You only have to be exposed once to contract herpes. This is a harmful stigma that leads to anxiety, depression, and embarrassment, putting you in a stressful state and causing more outbreaks. It’s a vicious cycle! 

Many people that have herpes are asymptomatic, meaning they don’t show any signs or symptoms. In fact, as many as 90% of people living with herpes don’t realize they have it. They can unknowingly spread herpes to their partners, which is why it’s so important to get tested and disclose your herpes status before sexual activity! 

Can I Have a Normal Sex Life with Herpes? 

Yes! You can still enjoy a fulfilling and happy sex life with herpes. It may seem scary and overwhelming at first, but a herpes diagnosis does not mean that you need to settle for a less-than-satisfying sex life. With open communication, better outbreak management, and intimacy in creative ways, you can still experience a sex life full of adventure! 

Dr. Jessica Shepherd, MD, says, “One of the reasons women feel so defeated when they’re diagnosed is they think it’s going to severely impact their sexual life and their relationships. That’s actually far from true.”  

Although there is no cure, there are products that can make outbreaks more manageable. “FemiClear provides a really great option for women looking to manage their outbreak symptoms using all natural and organic ingredients,” says Dr. Shepherd, who encourages women to have honest conversations with their healthcare provider to figure out the best course of treatment. In vitro laboratory testing (non-human/non-animal subjects) shows FemiClear kills 99.9% of the herpes simplex I and II viruses*. It’s also been shown in clinical studies to reduce the itching, pain, and burning symptoms associated with genital herpes outbreaks in over 90% of women who tried it**.  

Healthy Sex Life with Herpes: Safe Sex Practices 

It’s important to understand that condoms can’t completely protect you or your partner from HSV-1 or HSV-2 simply because condoms don’t cover everywhere the virus is present. 

“Understanding how each of you define what safe sex is and how to have it will allow you to move forward into having a healthy, normal, beautiful sex life,” Dr. Shepherd says. “So yes, you can get to a point in your relationship when you’re not going to use a condom anymore—you just need to be on the same page with your partner.” 

Dr. Shepherd sees a number of patients who are in discordant relationships, meaning one person is a carrier of the virus, and the other isn’t. For them, “communication and transparency is very important. And the person who is a carrier needs to know their body really well to know when they’re about to have an outbreak so they can tell their partner.” 

FemiClear's Role in Your Herpes Management Plan 

Effective herpes outbreak management plays a huge role in a healthy sex life. That’s where FemiClear comes in! FemiClear uses natural ingredients to relieve painful and uncomfortable herpes outbreak symptoms, while also helping to reduce outbreak duration and severity.  

Multi Symptom Relief for Genital Herpes Symptoms 

This topical ointment kills 99.9% of the herpes simplex I & II viruses†1(HSV1 & HSV2) and works fast to relieve itching, tingling, pain, and burning symptoms caused by a herpes outbreak.  

Immunity & Stress Support Drink Mix with L-Lysine 

This daily drink mix helps manage your stress response and boosts your immune system with a clinically validated amount of Lysine (3000mg of L-Lysine per stick pack) ◊◊1, an ingredient shown to interfere with replication of the herpes virus*. Building a healthy immune system and minimizing stress can help empower your body to reduce outbreak frequency, duration, and severity.  

Ultra-Gentle Feminine Wash with Lysine & Lemon Balm 

FemiClear's Ultra-Gentle Feminine Wash is here to help you feel confident, clean, and fresh. Using only ultra-gentle, natural ingredients, we've formulated this feminine soap with colloidal oatmeal, witch hazel, aloe, and calendula flower oil to help calm irritated skin and soothe itching.  

HClear for Him for Genital Herpes Symptoms - Multi Symptom 

Genital herpes in men can cause a wide range of symptoms. HClear is a product designed specifically for the relief of male genital herpes symptoms. This topical ointment kills 99.9% of the herpes simplex I & II viruses* (HSV1 & HSV2) and works fast to relieve itching, tingling, and burning symptoms caused by a herpes outbreak. 

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