If genital herpes sores are present, or if one of the partners is in the prodromal stage (beginning to feel symptoms) you should avoid sexual activity. Dr Amy suggests "This may be an opportunity to expand and explore your sexual menu beyond the confines of genital sex". It is possible to transfer herpes from the genitals to genitals, genitals to mouth, and mouth to genitals. Be very careful because at this time, the herpes virus is very contagious!
If there are no genital herpes sores that are present, you have options. Your first conversation is to tell any prospective partner that you have genital herpes. You should be proactive with protection. Condoms help for vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse, and fellatio, although not a guarantee. If a female has genital herpes, a dental dam (see above) can be used for oral sex. That being said, if two consenting adults knowingly understand asymptomatic shedding, and still want to have unprotected sex, only do so when no lesions are present. Viral shedding occurs a few days per year, but we can't accurately define those days of "shedding".
It is possible to transfer the herpes virus from the mouth to the genitals. If one of the partners has active lesions on or around their mouth, DO NOT get oral sex from that partner! Many people have contracted genital herpes from receiving oral sex from a partner with cold sores! In our Poll Questions, the percentage of people is almost 40%! Still, using protection is not a guarantee with a partner who has active sores. Absolutely use protection if you do not restrain. If the female is receiving oral sex from a partner with sores, use a dental dam. If a male is receiving oral sex from a partner with sores, use a condom. But remember this is a very contagious time and you may still spread the virus. Check out Dr. Amy's advice and spice up your sex life, there is more to sex than mouth/genital or genital/genital contact.
If a partner has genital herpes lesions, and not cold sores, they can still perform oral sex. If a partner has oral herpes sores, and not genital herpes sores, they can have vaginal or anal sex, and still be able to receive oral sex, but NOT give it.
Most people report that they have great sex lives, even if they have contracted oral or genital herpes. There are many herpes suppressants available, both natural and pharmaceutical, to keep the outbreaks to a minimum. There are also antiviral drugs which help reduce the number of viral shedding days throughout the year. Think outside the box and explore other sexual fantasies, incorporate masturbation, role playing, and more as suggested by sex therepist, Dr. Amy.