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Herpes & a Committed Relationship


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I’ve had herpes pretty much the entire time I’ve been with my husband. He had never experienced symptoms and neither had I before we moved in together and I first started exhibiting symptoms.  I had a swab test on painful vaginal sores and was diagnosed.  13 years ago.  We love and accept and are committed to each other.  But, the risk of a herpes outbreak often makes me afraid to have sex and I know it hurts us both.  My herpes has never really been managed, which I hadn’t even really recognized until recently.  I hate the story that people with herpes rarely have outbreaks and their first one is their worst one.  I have outbreaks all the time and when they’ve gotten past a certain point they’re uncontrollable and terribly painful.  I’m dying for sexual freedom. I also have painful sexual trauma which I’m reminded of during outbreaks and sometimes even sex.  I’ve experienced some serious hurdles and breakthroughs but am eager for success.  I’d love any help!

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Hi @JessJunko and thank you for your vulnerability here. It sounds painful and super fucking frustrating, especially after going on for so long. Curious how often do you have outbreaks and how long do they normally last? You posted on a separate thread that you're on suppressive therapy, which is probably helping to a certain extent but doesn't seem to be cutting it. Zooming out a bit, do you stay healthy in your sleep, diet, exercise and mindfulness? Medication is only one part of the whole puzzle; it's ultimately about supporting your immune system and overall health in general. Eating well, drinking enough water, being well-rested and thinking healthy decreases the stress and increases overall well-being, which helps to keep the virus at bay.

And I'm sorry that your traumas are being brought back up in this. I feel you there. And remember that when these triggers happen (as much as we'd rather not feel them), they are all opportunities to heal, to reorient our minds and hearts, and to relax into the fact that we are okay now. That reorients our nervous system away from fight and flight and toward equilibrium. Breathe deeply. Hold yourself. Whisper to yourself that even though you went through something traumatic, that you are okay now ... and let your words land. Speak with the words and tone of a parent holding and nurturing a child. 

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17 hours ago, mr_hopp said:

Hi @JessJunko and thank you for your vulnerability here. It sounds painful and super fucking frustrating, especially after going on for so long. Curious how often do you have outbreaks and how long do they normally last? You posted on a separate thread that you're on suppressive therapy, which is probably helping to a certain extent but doesn't seem to be cutting it. Zooming out a bit, do you stay healthy in your sleep, diet, exercise and mindfulness? Medication is only one part of the whole puzzle; it's ultimately about supporting your immune system and overall health in general. Eating well, drinking enough water, being well-rested and thinking healthy decreases the stress and increases overall well-being, which helps to keep the virus at bay.

And I'm sorry that your traumas are being brought back up in this. I feel you there. And remember that when these triggers happen (as much as we'd rather not feel them), they are all opportunities to heal, to reorient our minds and hearts, and to relax into the fact that we are okay now. That reorients our nervous system away from fight and flight and toward equilibrium. Breathe deeply. Hold yourself. Whisper to yourself that even though you went through something traumatic, that you are okay now ... and let your words land. Speak with the words and tone of a parent holding and nurturing a child. 

Thank you @mr_hopp for this response and all of your helpful content on this site - I’ve gained a lot already!  About a year ago I was struggling with some health issues that led me to several troubling realizations.  I’ve always been healthy aside from herpes with a moderately healthy diet and activity level (I like to party a bit, was mostly pescatarian, and am active, though not a strict dieter or exerciser.)  Last summer after months of depression and lethargy and some prodding and pleading with my doctor we found a serious B12 deficiency.  Like, so low the first course of action was daily injections.  Throughout that process I tracked everything I ate, drank and felt, and was disturbed to realize that despite thinking I had my herpes under control, it was not at all.  I also began to realize past traumas were also not as well managed as I had thought.  Oddly enough I really think that much of this was related to dental work, which was also a serious trauma and trigger.  It’s taken a year to realize and confront, but I was in serious denial about a lot of things.  I thought my herpes was managed because I could often ward off a full on outbreak by taking lysine and vitamins, being healthy, and not using tampons - but hormonal and stress related prodrome has been leading to outbreaks for some time - and, as I said, I was pretty disturbed to realize that had been close to a monthly occurrence that I just wasn’t acknowledging till I learned about my B12 Deficiency.  I sense prodrome regularly (monthly/hormonal during times of stress) and for the past year have been taking Valacyclovir when I feel it coming on (which isn’t always soon enough to stop it from becoming an outbreak - they typically last a week or ten days)  No doctor has had any suggestions better than what I do to help.  I lost a close friend this summer and BAM got an outbreak.  Before that I had been doing good this Summer despite all the other stress, so I wasn’t taking Valacyclovir daily.  I just always think I’m good, and although my doctor lets me refill when I want, he’s never put me on an everyday dose.  So, I guess it’s only been like semi suppressive therapy.  I take it all the time because I have “as needed” doses and need it all the time!  Today being a holiday I’m sure I won’t hear anything, but will send my doctor a message looking for suppressive support now that after a year of being on Valcyclovir “when needed” I’m still experiencing outbreaks and regular prodrome.  When I was first diagnosed I went on an antiviral - but that was 13 years ago, I think it was a different antiviral, and I remember not feeling like it helped much.  I don’t know how long I stayed on it, but I do remember thinking if this is just as good - if not worse than other more natural remedies I’ll get off the pharmaceutical.  I’ve tried so many things in the past 10+ years!  Thanks for listening and reading.  Adrial, thank you for your kind words regarding trauma, I’m interested in the concept of re-parenting and am searching for that support now as well.  It was incredible (triggery in a reaffirming way!) to read your recommendation.  Stigma around sexual assault and childhood trauma plague me and I’ve been working on not letting them define me.  Another thing that my awareness of changed when I moved in with my husband was who my hero really was.  I had lived across the country from my family before falling in love (I still am very deeply in love with my husband and want nothing more than to be better for me and him and us.)  When my husband swept me off my feet and brought me back home I began to see my parent in reality, not the idea I had worshiped.  That has been a very hard lesson to learn as an adult as well.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi! I’ve had this for about 11-12 years. The past 2 years I have been getting HORRIBLE outbreaks despite being on antivirals. I went 8 years of no symptoms or outbreaks on the meds, met a man fell in love and got married. Then 8 months after our wedding I was hit with the worst outbreak of my life. Even when I first contracted this I didn’t even know I had it because it was so mild I thought I had an ingrown hair. I dont get sores anymore just intense discomfort, swelling, itching etc. It happens once a month the day after my period ends for about 4-5 days. I double up on my Valtrex usually and it goes away but the next month it happens again. I also take multivitamins, zinc, lysine, probiotics, I eat well, exercise and sleep well. It makes no sense. I wonder if I have a vitamin b12 deficiency and thats the trigger. I am also scared to be intimate with my husband. Its taken such a toll on me. He’s never shown any symptoms and I am so scared he’ll get this. Idk why things would get worse with this virus. My doctor’s are no help. Idk how much longer I can deal with this.

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