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Safe sex practices during a herpes outbreak?

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I know abstaining is the safest method and is usually how I operate and was never a problem when I was single. Now I have a partner and we both have a huge sexual appetite and touch is our love language. My outbreak cleared up just the other day and usually wait about a month before having sex after it clears up. This is my 2nd outbreak with my partner since we started hanging out almost a year ago. The first time I had a hydrocele surgery and I believe that was what caused the outbreak as it came around only a few days later. It was also my longest outbreak about 21 days when normally they are gone within a week, so we went 2 months abstaining which wasn’t difficult until the last 2 weeks when I was feeling 100%. This one lasted 6 days, I am on daily valtrex and double during outbreaks. 
This time around I’m healthy and happy and we have both been extremely horny, I am wondering if anyone has any suggestions for practicing safe sex in this window of being cleared but still likely to shed. I have read it’s 14-21 days but I go a month to be safe. We already practice safe sex most of the time. I recently heard about the scroguard cuz of the show Dave and I thought it was genius but they don’t exist anymore 😢 and I haven’t found anything like it. The only method I’ve used to relieve myself is in the past is masturbation with latex gloves and a lot of lube, which was fine when single but now that I have a partner who I’m very much attracted to and we have great chemistry I’d like to know if anyone has tried anything and has had success, although I understand there is always the risk. Also my partner does not have it and I’d like to keep it that way. I have some ideas I’d like to throw out but I’ll see if anyone has any suggestions. Thanks 😊

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Hey there @BallroomD,

Totally get where you're coming from – having a strong connection with your partner and a vibrant love life is fantastic. And balancing that with managing herpes can be a challenge. It's great that you're practicing safe sex and being mindful about outbreaks and shedding. Your relationship sounds awesome, bravo for that! 

You're right about the shedding period after an outbreak – it's typically around 14-21 days for the first outbreak, but it tapers off after that as your body builds up more and more of a natural defense (aka antibodies). The general consensus is to wait until any outbreak completely clears (scabs fall off naturally) and then wait a few days after that. Others say up to 2 weeks. But it's going to depend on how long you've had herpes and how strong your immune system is. Personally, I've always waited a week after new skin shows, but there's no hard-and-fast answer for you that will guarantee anything 100%. As you say, there's always a risk, we're just trying to minimize that risk to our partner while balancing having a healthy sex life with them. Since this is only your 2nd outbreak, I think waiting a few weeks is great. After you've had herpes for about a year, your body should have it enough under control that you can safely wait a week after scabs fall off to engage in sexual activity again to minimize the risk of transmission. 

The big kicker here is this: Even though you have an outbreak (or are healing from a recent one), intimacy doesn't have to be off the table! Maybe penetrative sex in the ways you're used to together isn't available, but you just need to be creative. And that can be a huge opportunity to expand your sexual horizons together. For me personally, playing these kinds of games has actually deepened our connection. Any couple can get into sexual ruts; and even herpes outbreaks can be a gift to throw a curve ball into your established patterns and force you to expand the idea of what's possible. Sexuality is only a small part that resides within a much bigger bubble called Intimacy. (In fact, one of the most profound sexual experiences I've had was during one of these "creative times" that had both my partner and I stepping outside of our comfort zones to do something we wouldn't have tried otherwise. Go figure! So much of this is in our head, based on the perspective we choose to take.)

With that said, here are some fun things that I've done that has been really awesome for our sex life:

  • Mutual masturbation. Watching each other as we masturbate is super hot, and you get to see how each other likes to be touched. It's simultaneously hot and a learning experience for the next time you touch each other.
  • The "boxers-off-limits" game. Tell your partner in a playful and sexy way that we're going to play a game where you get to touch me and try to turn me on anywhere on my body but my boxer shorts. 
  • Focus on her pleasure. She gets to be the Queen. She tells you what she wants, how she wants it, and for how long. You do as you're told. Focus on her pleasure and go deep into what turns her on and makes her feel great. 
  • Sensual massages: Taking turns giving each other massages can be incredibly intimate and pleasurable. Use scented oils, dim the lights, and let your hands do the talking.
  • Sexy storytelling: Share fantasies, tell each other steamy stories, or even write erotic letters to each other. This can set the mood without direct physical contact.
  • Sensual baths or showers: Getting clean together can be an intimate experience. Use the opportunity to pamper each other and enjoy the closeness.
  • Tantric practices: Explore tantric techniques that focus on building and channeling sexual energy without necessarily engaging in penetrative sex. (This also "charges you up" even more so when you can engage in penetrative sex again, it's ... explosive.)
  • Sensory play: Blindfolds, feather ticklers, ice cubes – engaging different senses can create a unique and exciting experience.
  • Role-playing: Pick out roles or scenarios that intrigue both of you. It's a fun way to step into different characters and enjoy a fresh dynamic.

Remember, the most important thing is open communication and mutual consent. Your willingness to explore and adapt together can bring you even closer. So, have fun, stay safe, and keep nurturing that strong connection. Sounds amazing! 

Note: This is for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute medical advice or diagnosis.
I'm not a medical professional, so please take this as friendly peer support. 

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  • mr_hopp changed the title to Safe sex practices during a herpes outbreak?

I appreciate the swift response! I didn’t go into full detail of my past with herpes in this thread but I’ve had it for 5 years. This is just my 2nd outbreak since meeting my partner. We make time to do most of your suggestions as we are both in a similar boat as far as sexual energy and creativeness with our lifestyles outside of work. Our biggest issue is time seeing as we both work 60+ hours a week and sometimes only have 30 mins together in a day and we just want something simple and sweet but want to be safe most importantly. 

One of the ideas we have come up with is we have seen underwear with a small hole for the penis. Wear that and put a silicone penis sheath over it opposed to a condom, so you don’t need to worry about it ripping, followed by a 2nd pair of that underwear so there is 2 layers of protection for my entire pubic area and the sheath is more rugged and is a thicker layer of protection than a condom. It’s the best thing we have come up with since learning about the scroguard. What are your thoughts as far as that? Just looking for more perspective since this is all new for us.

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