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Unprotected Sex

Discussion in 'Partners, Family & Friends' started by BakedLays, Jan 7, 2008.

  1. BakedLays

    BakedLays Newbie


    My girlfriend has genital herpes. I am hoping to find information on this subject: If we have unprotected sex, is there any way to go about this in a way that is as low-risk as possible? Also, what are my chances of contracting herpes in between outbreaks in this way?

    I am hoping to find a good answer to these questions through this forum. I have done a fair amount of research, but am worried that the information I have found is either too conservative in its advice (The CDC website, etc.), or not conservative enough (various other resources).

    To give you some background information, my girlfriend and I have been dating for about a year, while the herpes is obviously a large concern, it's not the biggest concern for me in our relationship and I've gotten past it much better than I thought I would when she first told me. That having been said, it seems prudent to have as much information as possible, which is why I'm here.

    I do understand that herpes is forever should I contract it, and that will be weighed heavily in whatever decisions are made regarding our sex life. Thanks for your advice.
  2. GeeGee

    GeeGee Newbie

    I don't have the answers you seek because I'm new- just diagnosed a week and a day ago. But I wanted to say kudos to you for sticking with your girlfriend and trying to educate yourself about this. I'm glad there are men like you and my bf around to show people who've been treated badly about this virus that there really are good people out there who will be respectful and kind and not treat them like a leper. THERE IS HOPE!

    From what I've learned so far, if you're having unprotected sex with someone who has herpes, it's pretty likely you'll get it. My doctor said it's lower risk in between outbreaks, but because there's also viral shedding and being asymptomatic or not even knowing you have an outbreak, you may not know when it's a "low risk" time to be intimate. My thinking is that this kinda means there really is NO definite low-risk time, you know?

    If you haven't been tested already, go get tested. If you already have herpes, your decision-making about these issues might be a little different.

  3. estoy_perdida

    estoy_perdida Active Member

    Unfortunately, there is no clear cut answer for your question. It's hard to say what risk is involved by you having unprotected sex with her. But, there is a risk! While there is not outbreak present, there is about a 4% chance of getting herpes. It's a good idea to stay abstinent from sexual activities while your gf is having an outbreak. However, even before and after an outbreak, she can still be contagious. She has to make sure that she communicates well with you and lets you know if she feels like she is coming on with an ob. Prodromal symptoms like itching can happen weeks before and after an actual outbreak. The risk of you getting it is higher at these times than at others. Everyone's case is different though. That's why it's tough to say how much of a risk you have. I, for example, got herpes from my boyfriend who never and still doesn't get an outbreak or have symptoms! There's also people on this forum that have been with their partners for years and still not contracted it. I think it may also have something to do with your immune system. If your immune system is kick ass then maybe there's less of a chance that you'll get it. For people with herpes, it's advised that we take multivitamins, vitamin C, and lysine. Even if you don't have herpes, maybe taking vitamins can also lower your risk of getting it?
    You mentioned unprotected sex. The decision to have sex without a condom is up to you. But,if you decide against it, are you aware that a condom does not protect you fully? I'm not trying to scare you- I just want you well informed. Since herpes is contracted via skin to skin contact and there's a lot of skin "down there," there is still a chance to get herpes even with protection. Sucks, i know. :( Have you gotten tested before? You say you have been with her for a year, does this mean that you two haven't had any kind of sexual interaction? It's a good idea to get yourself tested if you have.
  4. BakedLays

    BakedLays Newbie

    Yeah I've been tested twice since we've been dating, both negative. I do understand that it's skin to skin contact that spreads the virus, which actually led me to ask this question.

    I was thinking one day, and if it's not transmitted through the vaginal fluid, is there actually any heightened risk by not wearing a condom? I suppose more of the penis might be exposed, but most of the contact is the lower abdomens rubbing together right? So then this led me to ask how much protection a condom actually provides.

    We do have intercourse, always with a condom to this point. And yes, I understand that there is still a risk involved when wearing a condom but thank you for the advice.
  5. estoy_perdida

    estoy_perdida Active Member

    Wearing a condom can help protect against a number of things, but the decision is up to you and how you feel with the relationship. Contact with a condom is limited, so without one on, it would depend where she gets the outbreaks so that you know which areas on her body are more contagious than others. If she gets the obs strictly just on her vaginal area, then her lower abdomen if safe to rub with yours. :)
    Feel free to check out the links on the right of the page. There's a lot of useful info on there, too. Or, you could ask on the forum, too. Good Luck!
  6. catiesmom

    catiesmom Well-Known Member

    I just wanted to add something small. I wouldn't say that her lower abdomen is "safe" to rub with yours, because her site of OBs is not necessarily where she sheds. It should be assumed her entire "boxer shorts" area is possibly contagious.

    Baked, you're right. Condoms don't offer that much protection from HSV because it's mainly on the skin area. However, HSV can enter a mucous membrane, and for a guy the only membrane like that is the tip of the penis (which is why it's so much harder for guys to get most stds -- women have HUGE membranes in comparison), so not using a condom will leave that area unprotected, but the rest of you is unprotected anyway.

    Not using a condom is a decision only you two can make, and it sounds like you're well informed of your risk. I say, whatever blows your skirt up!
  7. BakedLays

    BakedLays Newbie

  8. catiesmom

    catiesmom Well-Known Member

    Yup. And she doesn't necessarily have to KNOW they're there.
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