Now that you know you have genital herpes, you're out of the dating game, right? Absolutely not. There's no
reason to stop looking for love and fun with HSV dating.
Genital herpes doesn't detract from your many desirable qualities, which have drawn people to you in the past
and will continue to make you a great catch in HSV dating.
And it's important to understand that genital HSV is very common, affecting about 20% of the U.S. adult
population. Positive Singles
Broaching the Topic of Genital Herpes HSV Dating
The first date after a genital herpes diagnosis may seem a little strange, however. If you hope to be sexually
intimate with your HSV dating date at some point, you may feel like you're keeping a secret. If you are one to be
candid with people, you'll want to blurt it out. Don't. There are some things you should reveal about yourself
right away -- for example, that you're married, or that you're just in town for the week -- but some things are
better left for the appropriate HSV dating moment.
It's up to you to decide the right time to tell a HSV dating date that you have genital herpes. Follow two
rules: First, don't wait until after having sex. Second, don't wait until you're just about to have sex -- in which
case the attraction may be too strong for either of you to think rationally and act responsibly.
If in the past you tended to start a new relationship with sex, you now might want to change your approach. It
might be better to break the news about herpes to someone who has already grown attached to you. Kissing, cuddling,
and fondling are safe, so you don't have to tell before you do that. But use your best judgment as to how
physically intimate you want to get before telling. One thing could lead to another, and you might find yourself in
an awkward situation HSV dating.
Dealing With Rejection
Anyone who dates should be prepared for rejection. The person you're seeing may beat a hasty retreat when he or
she finds out you have genital herpes. If you get the "I just want to be friends" talk after telling your
sweetheart you have herpes, consider this: He or she may have already been looking for a way out, and herpes was as
good an excuse as any. What's more, anyone who disdains or humiliates you for having herpes was never worth your
while. Positive Singles
Keep HSV dating, and you will find someone who wants to be with you regardless of your condition. There are
certainly some who wouldn't mind keeping the intimacy level just short of doing things that could transmit the
virus. And of those people, it's likely that at least one will come around, and say, "Hey, I understand there's a
risk, but I'm crazy about you, so I'm willing to take it."
HSV Dating - Anna will gladly explain why having herpes isn’t the end of the world. But
she didn’t always feel that way. It took years for her, founder of The STD Project, which encourages awareness and
acceptance of various sexually transmitted diseases, and spokesperson for Positive Singles, a dating site for
people with STDs, to come to terms with the diagnosis she got at age 16.
“My mom says the entire way home from my appointment, I cried and said no one would ever love me, no one would
ever want me, and I’d never get married,” she explains. Positive Singles
When she was diagnosed with herpes almost three years ago, Wanda, a social media editor in Chicago, had a
similar reaction. “I mostly thought, ‘I’m going to die alone, no one’s going to date me ever again,” she tells
Although herpes is one of the most prevalent sexually transmitted diseases, it’s shrouded in stigma. The
infection, which is caused by the herpes simplex 1 and herpes simplex 2 viruses and passed via skin-to-skin
contact, can show up as a cluster of sores on the mouth area or genitals. It can also be asymptomatic, so most
people with herpes don’t know they have it, which is a large part of the reason why it’s so prevalent. Around
two-thirds of people worldwide under age 50 have herpes simplex 1, according to the World Health Organization, and
around one in every six Americans between ages 14 and 49 has genital herpes, usually caused by herpes simplex 2,
according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Both eventually moved past their initial panic and saw herpes for what it is: an infection many people have that
happens to usually get passed through sexual contact. But all the self-acceptance in the world doesn’t erase the
fact that a herpes diagnosis creates ripple effects of shame and social isolation, and the fallout is especially
pronounced when it comes to your dating life.
Dating with herpes means telling potential partners, which can be scary. But it’s necessary.
“It’s good to have the conversation because there is a potential risk of transmission,” Cherrell Triplett, M.D.,
an ob/gyn who practices at Southside OBGYN and Franciscan Alliance in Indianapolis, Indiana, tells SELF. Although
telling someone you’re interested in can be intimidating, there are different ways to do it, and you might find one
easier than the others.
In the past, Carlson would put the herpes conversation on the table quickly. “I don’t like wasting my time or
getting my heart broken, so I think it’s a self-defense thing to almost always tell the guy on the first date,” she
explains. “If they want to cut and run, I haven’t invested too much of myself in it.”
But in the future, she thinks she’ll take her time disclosing as long as she gets it done before engaging in
sexual activities that would put the other person at risk. “On a first date with this wonderful guy, I told him,
and he couldn’t handle it,” she says. “I really wonder if it would have changed things to wait until we had
On the flip side, she’s also dated “quite a few guys who didn’t care at all” even though she told them ASAP.
Davis usually holds off on disclosing to potential sexual partners that she has herpes until she’s known them
for a bit. “I’ve always waited a little while before telling people, basically until I thought it was going
somewhere,” Davis says. “This isn’t everyone’s experience, but when I started dating with herpes, I found out none
of my partners cared.”
Although she sees that it’s intriguing to potentially avoid attachment—and thus heartbreak—by telling someone
right out the gate, she makes an excellent point in favor of taking your time: “Nobody tells you all of the things
about themselves that you usually don’t find out for a bit, like they have really bad credit or they’re a horrible
cook, until you get to know each other.” Of course, it’s different with a health condition you can pass to someone
else, but it’s worth noting.
How to tell your partner is up to you, but people with the virus say it helps to be direct, transparent, and
Although they tell potential partners at different points in the relationship, Carlson and Davis’ actual
disclosure process is pretty similar. They both say it can be nerve-racking, but a few things help: sitting the
person down in a place that’s comfortable for them, trying not to be too emotional, starting off with something
like, “Hey, there’s something I need to talk to you about,” and bringing a wealth of knowledge to the
“I always try to be calm and not too clinical but explain that I have done the research,” Carlson says. Davis
agrees, saying she fills people in on key details, like how herpes is transmitted, how transmission can be
prevented, whether she’s taking medication that keeps the virus from multiplying, thus making it less likely to
transmit, and how to find more information about the STD.
To top it all off, she also tells them they don’t have to make a decision about whether to continue seeing
her—or even respond—right away. “If they have any questions, we can chat. But I usually peace out so they have
their space to chew on it,” she says.
STD-centered dating sites give people with herpes and other infections a way to skip awkward disclosures
Davis says the number one question they get on The STD Project is about how to tell a new partner. On sites like
Positive Singles, users are expected to be open about their diagnoses, but because they know everyone else there
has an STD, too, it removes a huge barrier—and the question of whether the information will send a potential
“It’s a great way to see you’re still the same interesting, sexy, desirable person,” Davis says. “It helps
rebuild the confidence that gets hammered down when you get that diagnosis.” (She is a spokesperson for Positive
Singles, but she’s never used any STD-specific dating site.)
Carlson, who got back into dating via this kind of site after her diagnosis, agrees. “After I felt more
comfortable with myself and the situation, I went on and started dating people in the more conventional way,” she
Some people put an incognito message in their profiles on general dating sites, writing out 437737—it spells
“herpes” on a dial pad—in their profiles. Others just write, “I have herpes” in their profiles, and Davis says her
friends in this camp still have plenty of people knocking on their online-dating doors.
So, if you have herpes, don’t worry that your love life is over. It’s not. You can have great sex, find love,
and also cut down on the chance of passing herpes along to your partner, Triplett says. Just keep these few things
It’s possible to transmit herpes even if you don’t currently have cold sores or a genital outbreak. “The virus
exhibits something called asymptomatic shedding,” Triplett says. “Because of that, we strongly recommend you always
use condoms to protect yourself.” You can also use dental dams, little latex sheets you place over the vaginal area
during oral sex. Positive Singles
Suppressive therapy medications, like Valtrex, can lessen your chances of getting an outbreak or transmitting
the virus. They won’t make it impossible, but combined with barrier methods, it’s much less likely, Triplett
The right person won’t view it as a deal-breaker. “Once you do tell them, if they want to be with you and accept
you completely, you can work through it,” Triplett says.
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