For safer oral sex, using a condom (for oral sex on a penis) or a dam (for oral sex on a vulva or anus) is still safer than nothing at all. A dam is a thin, square piece of latex that is placed over the clitoris, vulva, or anus. You can also use a non-lubed condom by pulling off the ring and cutting along one side to make a rectangle; or, use a small piece of plastic wrap (preferably non-microwaveable wrap because it is less porous). And just to be clear, herpes can be transmitted by either the giver or receiver of oral sex. It is possible for the person giving oral sex to get herpes if their partner has genital herpes and a sore is active or there is viral shedding. It is also possible for the person giving oral sex to give herpes to their parther, if they have an active herpes sore or viral shedding on their mouth.

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Herpes is a virus of the skin. Herpes is spread by coming in direct vaginal, genital, anal or oral contact with the virus. Herpes could surface the skin even if outbreaks aren't visible. A condom might not completely cover the genitals. If herpes surfaced the skin and if a partner's genitals comes in direct contact skin to skin with herpes (the area that isn't covered by the condom) the virus could spread. If a condom is used and if herpes outbreaks aren't active the chance of passing herpes to a partner is low.

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Q:

If you have only type 2 genital herpes, and a partner has both type one oral and 2 genital. How can you catch type one? Can it be caught by kissing? Oral sex?

A:

A person with only genital HSV-2 can’t catch genital HSV-2 from a partner. It is not possible to pass genital HSV-2 to a partner genitally who already has genital HSV-2.

HSV-1 is usually spread by kissing. There is no protective barrier from kissing. Most people who carry the HSV-1 antibodies don't have a visual herpes outbreak. The human body helps fight herpes off. Herpes outbreaks happen by chance and could happen to anyone.

If a partner with oral HSV-1 performs oral sex on a partner with gential HSV-2 both strains of herpes could spread. The partner with oral HSV-1 could catch oral HSV-2 in that situation. The partner with only genital HSV-2 could catch genital HSV-1 if a partner with oral HSV-1 performs oral sex. Both partners have a chance of coming in contact with a strain of herpes he/she doesn't have genitally or orally.

The chance of HSV-1 spreading genitally isn't higher than 5-10% in most cases. HSV-2 is oral herpes about 5-10% of the time. Those numbers could vary depending on the situation. Having safe oral, anal and vaginal sex greatly reduces the chance of passing or catching herpes.

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Q:

My partner and I both have herpes 1 and 2. If he has a coldsore on his lip should we avoid kissing and oral sex?

A:

1)There are two strains of herpes. Those strains are HSV-1 and HSV-1. HSV-1 is oral herpes 90-95% of the time and genital herpes 5-10% . HSV-2 is genital 90-95% of the time and oral herpes 5-10%. If a couple has only oral HSV-1 one partner's oral herpes outbreaks won't have a great impact on the other partner. It is not possible to pass oral HSV-1 to a partner who already has oral HSV-1. If a one partner has oral HSV-2 (less common type of oral herpes) and if one partner has oral HSV-1 both strains of herpes could spread by kissing. In that situation both partners may come in contact with a strain of herpes he/she doesn't have.

Herpes could spread by oral, anal and/r vaginal sex. Dental dam could be used to reduce the chance of passing herpes to a partner by oral sex.

2) If you and your partner both have oral HSV-1 (no other STD's orally) kissing is safe. Remember 5-10% HSV-2 is oral herpes. HSV-1 usually causes oral herpes outbreaks and HSV-1 is usually spread by kissing. HSV-2 is usually spread by vaginal sex. If a partner has an active herpes sores I would suggest taking a break from kissing to be 100% safe.

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For people with herpes, especially people with genital herpes, you might be thinking, "My sex life is over!".

Yes, Herpes is highly contagious during outbreaks. And even during shedding. It can be intimidating to dive into the dating world again with this new diagnosis...

Scared?Just take a deep breath - your herpes sex life is not over. It's just beginning.

Here are some helpful tips about sex with herpes, you may check:

1.  Genital Herpes Sex

Genital Herpes Sex is the most common sex for people with herpes.  There are 4 tips as follows:

  • You must tell your partner.
  • Be honest and open about your condition.
  • Avoid sex before, during, or after outbreaks.
  • Take suppressive medication such as Valtrex or Acyclovir.

2. Oral Sex with herpes

Avoid sex during outbreaks of any sorts. Be careful and observant of what is going on in your and your partner's body. Take suppressive medication.

When you get cold sores, you are getting herpes. It is oral herpes. So don't have oral sex. You do not want to expose the blister to your partner. If you are careful, and don't kiss, you could still have genital sex. This way you could still have safe, fun oral sex even with herpes, but just not during outbreaks, or even "suspicious outbreaks".

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