Fear of herpes making dating difficult

Discussion in 'Sex and Relationships' started by RockyRaccoon, Jun 1, 2008.

  1. RockyRaccoon

    RockyRaccoon New Member

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    Hi all, I need your perspective on this. I just recently read that 1 out of 4 women (and 1 out of 5 men) in the U.S. has genital herpes. This scared the bageezes out of me. Now every attractive women I see, I think she probably has herpes. And what's more, I don't think I can have sex with a new love interest without getting her tested first, which can really ruin the flow of things. I know herpes itself isn't that harmful, but if I get it, I'm gonna ethically have to tell every future person before things get serious, and 99% of them will probably run away, which means end of sex life.

    So I'd like to know how you feel about this:

    1. If you started a new relationship, would you get both of you tested first before having any sort of sex? (they say genital herpes can be passed to the mouth as well, and transmission can happen without outbreaks, and condoms don't protect the guy because most vaginal herpes happen on the outside where condom doesn't protect)

    2. If not, how do you reconcile taking this chance?

    I'm very worried, and if there's some reasoning out there that can relieve me of this paranoia that'd be great. Thanks!
     
    #1 RockyRaccoon, Jun 1, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2008
  2. Dreama

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    Absolutely, get tested... I mean, as long as you get one as well as she, it's fair. And there is nothing wrong with being careful.
     
  3. BassDude

    BassDude New Member

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    Hey dude...well, you got to do what you're comfortable with. I certainly understand your perspective!

    If you and a new partner are getting close to having sex, I'd expect there to be some lead up to that...some making out or other play prior that clearly indicates that you both are wanting the same thing, right? If you want to bring up testing, that would sure seem like the best time to do it...when you both know exactly where you are headed. If you present the idea right (as in you both get tested), I would tend to think that she would see it as you being socially responsible. Let's see what other ladies think though.

    When I met my wife years ago, I didn't ask her to get tested and she didn't ask me. She had been in the same relationship for 12 years, and I had just ended a 4 year relationship that had been monogamous (to the best of my knowledge). I do think I remember telling her that I didn't have any STD's and didn't want any, and if I recall she pretty much said the same thing to me. I completely trusted this woman, so we didn't worry about it.

    One thought that comes to mind immediately though...you might want to go and read about STD's on one of the swinger-specific forums. I do recall reading at one that most swingers do not use any kind of barrier for oral sex, they just take the risk which is seen as very small (and there were plenty of anecdotes by various couples saying they had engaged in oral sex with various partners for many years without ever contracting any STD/STI...I didn't see a single post about someone who contracted any disease or infection...of course, if someone had contracted something perhaps they wouldn't post?)

    HTH,
    BD
     
  4. bsxy420

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    i didnt ask my SO to get tested....probable should have...but i was young and dumb...i was a virgin when i met him, so no risk from me...however i did go get tested (when i got preg) and thankfully i didnt have anything.
    however we did talk about how many people he had slept with. but with as many diffrent std's out there its best to just talk to her and tell her this is what you feel comfortable with...if she is really interested in you and taking your relationship to the next level she will go get tested with you.
     
  5. yorkiesmurf

    yorkiesmurf New Member

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    Mediline and the National Institute of Health web sites are full of unbiased information regarding genital herpes. In order to fully understand the statistics you need to understand how herpes was defined. Herpes fall into one of four categories: cognetial hepres, herpes simplex, herpes zolster, and genital herpes. Herpes simplex is in essence causes cold sores; herpes zolster is the virus that causes chicken pox and shinges. Without having more information about the studies it is possible that the definition of herpes included them too.

    Another piece of information that you need to understand about the quoted statistic is if the study was a metastudy whereby the rate is concluded from reviewing several to sometimes hundreds of studies or if it is quoting one study. In anddition to the type of study being it also depends on how the study was conducted was it self-report where there is a lot more chance for the figures to be inflated or was the figure arrived from exams which include reviewing medical records. Finally the one other area needed is how big the study was. A few people or a few hundred will inflate the figure more if tens of thousands of people participated. Plus the type of people that make up the study has a big influence on the stats being reported.

    The point that I am trying to make is when the press reports a study they do not include some of the more important information that indicates how credible the information is. Even if the study does report an average figure for the population there are factors that influence herpes such as number of partners and drug useage including using cannabis.

    Testing is one option but the point you need to remember about testing is that it is a snapshot in time. Meaning that it captures exposure up to the test and not afterwards. If for example you get tested and then 5 minutes later have sex with some who had herpes then your test will not show the infection due to the fact your exposure was after the test.

    The best way to reconcile the difference in my opinion is through education and choices you make. Meaning, the more you can learn about herpes and other sexually transmitted infections the more likely you will be able to protect yourself from it along with knowing how to minimize your risk of exposure. Generally speaking if you practice safe sex, do not use drugs, do not have many partners, do not engage in risky sexual behavior and choose your sexual partner who follows the same then generally speaking your risk should be low.
     
  6. loveit247

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    You sound pretty judgemental in saying "get her tested". Be careful to not come across like that when you bring it up.
    Say something along the lines of "for both of our peace of mind" or something similar.

    You are justified in being careful, it is your life and you have every right to be wary for your health.
     
  7. cbrmale

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    Yorkiesmurf gave some good information on Herpes which puts some perspective on the infection rate. To quote 'genital herpes' is too vague to be meaningful. I see a different side to the near-hysteria on Herpes, coming as I do from an older generation. I lived through a sexual revolution, and what I feel is happening today are conservatives wishing to take our sexual open-ness away by fear campaigns based on STDs.

    I have herpes on my genitals, caught from my wife who was a virgin when we met. I have HSV-1, which are generally known as cold sores, and I caught this during oral sex. Today I am resigned that it is almost impossible to avoid herpes. I also know, from experience, that after the first outbreak, herpes is not a big issue. Finally, we were married for almost 20 years before I caught it!
     
  8. RockyRaccoon

    RockyRaccoon New Member

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    Yeah I know it's not a very harmful disease, but socially it is viewed as the plague unfortunately. If I got genital herpes, I wouldn't really be concerned about my own safety coz I know it's just a nuisance. But I would have to ethically tell every future date, and 99% of them would most likely be scared away due to the stigma.

    Also, I'm not too worried about going down on the girl since hsv2 doesn't like the mouth area, and getting hsv1 on the mouth is too common since 90% of people will get it in their lifetime. But I'm worried about getting genital hsv1 from her during a blowjob, or giving her genital hsv1 when I go down on her. Do you know what the transmission rate or how likely this is?
     
  9. BassDude

    BassDude New Member

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    Hmm...well, here's an interesting thought. You wouldn't scare away 99% of the ladies, only 75%...according to the statistics, 25% of women have herpes already anyway...so figure 1 out of 4 women isn't going to care if you've got it. Twisted thought I know, but maybe that helps ease your mind a little?

    BD
     
  10. RockyRaccoon

    RockyRaccoon New Member

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    Lol that's a good point! That 25% would be relieved :)
     
  11. Joe

    Joe
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    "I'm not too worried about going down on the girl since hsv2 doesn't like the mouth area,"

    WHOAAAAAA... Backup just a sec. Uhhhhh... If you're suggesting that genital herpes doesn't like the mouth, I think you're waaaaay off base. Your mouth wouldn't like herpes, but herpes seems to like the mouth just fine. It also likes eyes, and that can blind you. Just touching the virus with your hand and then wiping your eyes could leave you without vision, as I understand it.

    I think you're also a little off base with your assumption that 99% of the women (without herpes) wouldn't be interested in you. I have herpes. When I got it I thought I'd be restricted to having sex with women who already had the virus, but I was wrong. I had sex with a few women after contracting it. They knew they were taking a chance, but if they like you enough some will certainly take that chance. None (of the maybe 4 or 5 I approached) turned me down. My wife is one of those. We've been together for 9 years, have a pretty healthy sex life, and she's not contracted the virus yet. (I should note here that I'm one of the very lucky herpes victims in that I've never had an outbreak since the first one 11 1/2 years ago.)

    I'm not posting this to minimize the seriousness of herpes nor to suggest that you shouldn't take every precaution to avoid it, but it's likely that at least 25% of the SF members either have it or will have it, and I want them to know that there's still life after herpes. After the initial outbreak it has not affected me other than some mental anguish and embarrassment.

    Incidentally, the woman I picked up the virus from was a virgin except for childhood sexual abuse, and she didn't know she had it.
     
  12. RockyRaccoon

    RockyRaccoon New Member

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    Well when I said HSV-2 doesn't like the mouth, I got it from herpes.com which says:

    "What if your partner has genital HSV-2 and you perform oral sex on him or her? Will you get HSV- 2 in the mouth? Given the widespread practice of oral sex (some three-quarters of all adults practice it, according to The Social Organization of Sexuality, 1994) and the prevalence of genital HSV-2 infection, you might expect oral HSV-2 to be relatively common. It's not.

    According to one study, almost 100% of recognizable HSV-2 infection is genital (Nahmias, Scandinavian Journal of Infectious Diseases Supplement, 1990). One reason is that most adults are already infected with HSV-1 orally, which provides some immunity against infection with HSV 2. Another reason is that oral HSV-2 rarely reactivates, so even if an infection does exist, no one knows."

    So basically, if 3/4 of people practice oral sex, then the prevalence of oral HSV-2 should be similar to genital hsv-2, roughly 19-25%. But instead, it's less than 1%, so it shows that it's rare to get hsv-2 on the mouth. Not saying it can't happen, but getting it during 1 oral session is probably as rare as winning the lottery. Also, it doesn't reactivate, which means you're not contagious after the 1st outbreak.
     
  13. Joe

    Joe
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    I'm a little confused with some of your statements, and in reading over the herpes.com website they seem to contradict some of their own statements with others. (Don't you just love the internet!) When I contracted the virus I developed lesions on my genitals and in my mouth, on my lips, face, etc. at the same time.
     
  14. RockyRaccoon

    RockyRaccoon New Member

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    When you said that some women took the chance, when did you tell them about your situation? I'm worried that I would have to tell them right away, ethically, like on the 1st date. And after one date, they're not going to be attached enough to actually want to stick it through. But if I wait until they develop strong feelings, then it's a bit unfair?
     
  15. FlirtyChick

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    I am just going to answer your question since I am not an expert on Herpes, thank God.

    If I were starting a new sexual relationship today, I would discuss it with my partner and would gently, as loveit stated, divulge my wishes that we both get tested for the full range of STDs, including AIDS. Whether a disease is "bad" or not is not relevant; the fact remains that anyone who wants to be responsible needs to be informed about the person(s) they are going to be intimate with, and in this age it is irresponsible to not do so. Don't be phobic or harsh, just lay it out there. Any respectible prospective partner should gladly comply and be relieved that you are such a gentleman!
     
  16. BassDude

    BassDude New Member

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    Actually, really good point mentioning AIDS, FC. Herpes is a dire nuisance, but AIDS will kill you. And frankly, sex may be good, but it ain't worth dyin' over.

    If I may suggest...why don't you start any new relationships more as friendships rather than romantic interests? Seriously...get to know the person for who they are rather than how they fuck, and you'll probably get to know their habits, sex habits included. I would think you should be able to judge whether an STD test is necessary if you know someone well enough already, right? Plus, you can have plenty of female friends without any issues...then choose the one with the most mutual attraction and personality fit for any relationship beyond friendship.

    BD
     
  17. RockyRaccoon

    RockyRaccoon New Member

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    I like the "starting off as friends" idea. The only problem is according to the stats, even in the population of women who only have 2 to 4 sexual partners, it's still 1 out of 4 that have herpes. So she could be very non-promiscuous, relationship-oriented, and still have it just the same. Which sucks.

    The only reason I'm not really worried about HIV is that condoms reduce the chances drastically - to almost 0 transmission from female to male, because the only entry point is the penis tip which is covered (or a cut which is unlikely unless the guy shaves down there frequently). But for herpes, the female outbreak is usually outside on the lips and gets into any part of the guy's groin area, so condom doesn't protect the guy.
     
  18. BassDude

    BassDude New Member

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    Dude...I gather you are newly single, right? I think maybe you're putting too much thought into the concern over herpes. Stop worrying about it, get out there and meet some ladies, and when you're at the point when you and a partner are planning to have sex, then follow through with the safest decision. Now, I'm definitely not saying that you shouldn't think ahead and plan what to do at the right time so that you safeguard your health (and pre-thinking decisions ahead of time will help you avoid making a rash decision in the heat of passion!). But...don't put too much worry into it until you have a decision to make...in other words, don't put the horse before the cart. ;) Now go meet some ladies! :D

    BD
     
  19. cbrmale

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    The truth lay someway in the middle of these two statements. You can catch HSV-2 on your mouth through oral sex. However, the initial outbreak is generally less severe than if you caught HSV-2 on your genitals. Most likely, you will not get another outbreak, but if you do it wall also be less severe. And, as pointed out above, the chances of catching it this way seem to be less than through genital-genital sex.

    The same applies with my HSV-1 on my genitals, my inital outbreak was less severe than if I caught it on my mouth, and most likely it won't ever happen again. If I caught HSV-1 through kissing rather than sex, it would be much worse for me!

    Many things can blind us, there is always a risk for contact-lens wearers for example. I continue to wear my lenses every day as I prefer lenses to glasses, just as I would continue to have sex if I was single, as I prefer sex to being celibate.
     
  20. Bluesy

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    Rocky, asking a question about STDs on a forum usually generates much conflicting data being tossed about...it can be hard to separate myth from reality. The 1 in 4 statistic is based on medical diagnosis, but that statistic is actually lower than it should be; the medical establishment has estimated that the majority of people infected with the Herpes virus (HSV-1 and HSV-2) are asymptomatic. There are hundreds of thousands of unknowingly infected people walking around out there :ugh

    The risk of infection increases with number of sex partners because the virus is spread via skin-to-skin contact, and that skin is not confined to genitalia, from the lower torso to the upper thighs is fair game, a mild outbreak may go completely unnoticed (and it's possible to have an outbreak without any physical symptoms), so it's a matter of accepting the risks and doing what you think you need to do. I don't think it's at all unreasonable to ask a prospective partner to get tested before having sex (and oral/anal sex is included here). The unfortunate kicker here is that you'll need to be abstinent for four months preceding the test if you want guaranteed accurate results.

    Please see the links in my signature for further information. Another excellent resource is the following (the page I've bookmarked contains information on FDA-approved Herpes blood tests): http://www.herpesdiagnosis.com/blood.html
    And another reference (from the first link in my sig) on blood testing: http://www.ashastd.org/herpes/herpes_learn_testing.cfm

    My best to you.