Dating with oral herpes

We always go over our options for how we can be safe: I use a male or female condom every single time for intercourse, dental dams for oral sex, and I make sure the guy washes his hand if he puts his fingers in me or gets vaginal fluid on him.Overall, older guys are way better about this stuff: Some of them have had other STDs in the past and are understanding about the whole thing, and they’re better educated about sex in general.Herpes has nothing to do with promiscuity, though: You can get herpes if you’ve slept with one person or with a hundred.Yet there’s something about herpes that everybody thinks is really funny.READ MORE: Ask a Scientist: I Have Vaginal Discharge Every Day. But to be honest, even with protection, I’m never 100 percent at ease.Every time a guy has sex with me, even if we’re in a relationship and have good communication, I think in the back of my head that he’s not committing 100 percent because he’s too worried about getting herpes from me.

One guy even had herpes himself, which was pretty cool because we could be intimate and not have that ever-present worry about not passing it to our partner.

But I was in so much pain that I knew something else was amiss. An even larger portion of the population — 80% to 90% — have the virus for oral herpes, but some people never have symptoms and never know. When I finally felt ready to get back out into the dating world, I dreaded broaching that conversation with guys.

I even considered getting back together with my ex just because it meant I wouldn’t have to tell other men about herpes or worry about someone else getting it from me.

Some men have reacted by freaking out and leaving; of course I understand why they’re bugging out, but that response also makes me feel like I’m a monster.

Although, to be honest, if my ex had told me he had herpes (he didn’t even know he had it until I called him crying from my doctor’s office), I probably would have run out of the room, too.

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