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Help! Sex after herpes diagnosis?

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Okay everyone! I found out that I have GHSV1 last month, which I am certain that I got from my current boyfriend. He has OHSV, I got this from receiving oral from him. Since my diagnosis in September, I have not been in the mood and really haven’t been intimate with him AT ALL. I haven’t because at times I feel disgusting or I feel like God is punishing me. I just don’t feel sexy anymore. I’m having such a hard time “bringing my sexy back.” As my H family, I am looking for advice on how to get back to intimacy with my BF. He really wants me to be myself again, but I’m struggling with that pretty bad in that area. He has oral which some people seem to accept, but genital seems to be a whole other ball game.

Please help me get back to the intimacy with him. I feel permanently out of the mood.


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Hey @Dreamer07,


  First things first, even though you feel like it at times, you are NOT disgusting and God is certainly not punishing you.  You're not wrong, the stigma does work in weird ways, but the important thing to remember is you are not alone, and again, not disgusting in any way.  We as a community are absolutely here to support you through what we all know can be a very trying time.

  That being said, as to getting your "sexy back".  May I ask how you and your boyfriend are communicating through this time?  Do you feel he is being supportive as you adjust to your new reality, is he being patient,  hearing you out as you express your feelings?  Are you upset or angry or feeling betrayed at all for having been infected by him?  I know these are invasive questions, but I ask because sometimes how we react to the world around us, and how that applies to our own image of ourselves can be directly impacted by those closest to us, intentionally or not.  At the end of the day, it is of course up to you to decide how you want to face the world, and how you choose to react and respond to the trials and tribulations it brings.  Sadly though, a heavy heart makes the long view really, really blurry.  So if you want to talk about it, take it one step at a time.  We are here, patiently listening.

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Thank you for caring and responding. My boyfriend is supportive for the most part. He listens when I talk about it, which every time I do, I cry, so I don’t talk about it as much anymore. I’m not upset with him for giving me H because I truly believe he didn’t know I could get it. I actually believe he has both OHSV and GHSV because every once in a while I notice a bump on his shaft that he says he has been getting for a while, but it comes and goes. I asked about it at least a few times (every time I saw it) and he didn’t think much of it, so I didn’t either. 

After reading others stories I’m beginning to think that it may actually be H. I don’t think he even pays the bump any attention and I didn’t either, but being apart of this forum has really educated me & I now believe he has GHSV and OHSV and has had these since we started dating.

The only thing that bothers me is that, he tells me he is being patient with me to feel in the mood again, but then he tries to feel on me. I get it, my boyfriend is attracted to me. It has been about 2 months now since we’ve had sex and he says he is okay until he gets around me, then he gets in the mood and want to have sex.

My barriers:

1. Need to make sure we both are safe. No further transmission to other areas of the body.

2. Ensure that outside of this our test results are negative for anything else. 

3. Will I have OBs after every sexual encounter (read some stories about that) I’m on suppressive therapy by the way.

4. Confused about using protection or not.

5. There is just a buzzing in my mind curious if he really knew or not and just didn’t take it serious. 

What do I do about that? I turn 31 in 2.5 weeks and I’m hoping I can try and get myself ready by then.

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 I know how that feels.  All the words are right, but when they get to being a little touchy feely, it can add guilt to all the other emotions that we are sorting through.  It's a catch 22 where you want him to be attracted to you, but right now you don't want to act on that attraction.  Which is all absolutely a common response to this diagnosis.  

  I think that him getting tested too will ease everyone's mind a little. He'll obviously be positive for hsv1, but hopefully it could put to rest other worries to make sure you're both clear of hsv2, hpv, etc.  If he could possibly be tested when he's presenting with the bump on his shaft so it can be swabbed and you both can know for sure if he's ghsv1 positive as well as ohsv1 positive.  Knowledge is power here.

  Sometimes, sex can be a trigger for an OB.  When you are ready, my suggestion is to be gentle at first until you know how your body is going to respond to the friction. Suppressive therapy is good, and if you were interested many of us supplement with Lysine as well.  

  As to protection...that's dependent on test results and personal preference.  With him having ohsv1 and you having ghsv1 obviously you receiving oral without barrier is no problem.  Now we have to work with probabilities-  you have the hsv1 antibodies in your system.  You may never know if you carry ohsv1.   Outside of him getting swabbed when the bump appears on his shaft, it's hard to say if he presents ghsv1, as he will also be carrying the antibodies for hsv1 from his oral infection.  So SO many people have ohsv1 and many of those never get a cold sore so they never know they are carrying, and many don't pass on the virus. So, let's make an assumption that though you are ghsv1 pos, you are not ohsv1 pos.  Next assumption is that aside from his ohsv1+, he is also ghsv1+.  You kiss him without pause, does that translate to being able to give oral sex without pause?  If there is a pause, throw a condom on him. Same formula when we are talking about vaginal intercourse.  I think for now, until all test results are in, protection may ease your mind a little more even though a minimal risk still exists.  

   You may never know what he knew/suspected.  As I am sure you've read on this site, there are people who find out 20 years later that they are a carrier and never had a clue.  He very honestly could have had no idea of the risks, could have no idea he may carry genitally.  If you knew from the beginning that he had ohsv1 then to an extent disclosure was made and risks were accepted. You two obviously care for each other, and are working to move forward together, so maybe focusing on that future can help stop the buzzing in your head of the "what ifs"?

  Get the both of you tested, full screen for everything.  Be patient with yourself, and open with him about your wants/needs.  Ask him about his wants/needs(besides sex... men:) ).  Please don't rush yourself in anyway.  Do something that makes you feel good about yourself, whether that's a workout, a hair cut, a pedicure, whatever used to make you feel sexy and good about yourself.  Take your time, there is no pressure here to do or be anything or way until you are ready to be so.

   And for goodness sake's, go out and enjoy your birthday!!  If you are ready and want to have sex, great!  If not, then that's is absolutely just fine too-  it's YOUR birthday, your body, your life.  Take it all in the timeline that works for you.

Phew, that got long, sorry!

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Thank you so much. I almost cried reading your post, but these are tears of laughter and joy. Joy that someone else understands. I have tested negative for everything else, HIV, HSV2, HPV, thankfully. The truth is, I am not ready. I’m learning to laugh again and accept my life just the way it is but sex... I’m not there yet. I will ask for his results for HSV 2 and have a conversation about what needs to be done for me to feel comfortable with sex again. I really appreciate your response. All that for someone you have never met, says a lot about you as a person. You are caring and I just can’t thank you enough. I’m really a down to earth, caring, straight forward person myself.  

Thank you again! You never know how a simple response could be the blessing that someone else needs. 🦋


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@Dreamer07, dang it, now you're making my eyes a little damp too!  I am just so thankful that I helped you some.  Please feel free to reach out to me at any time, privately message if you want.  I'm 38, and have been dealing with this for about 8 years, so I was just about your age when my symptoms presented, and based on a lot of what you've said, I have gone through some of what you are experiencing.  I certainly don't have all the answers, but I've got a good ear, and obviously like to type 🙂


Take care of yourself, and again, I, and this community are here for you.

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