Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Monday, August 25, 2008 Nancy, Community Member, asks

Q: Herpes and a lesbian relationship?

I know that a relationship is a relationship but I also know that a lesbian relationship has its own issues, are there an specific issues/concerns I need to be aware of when you are in a new lesbian relationship and your partner has just told you she has herpes, how she got it, how angry she still is, how very concerned she is about my welfare, how she wants to keep me safe and all that goes with this new topic in our lives?  I know that is a mouthful of questions, not asked in a very straight forward manner but the questions are out there, some may be common sense but today I have so much going through my mind since my partner just told me last night.  I care for this person so very much and I am trying to wrap my head around about being in a lesbian relationship and now herpes.  I am trying to deal with both issues and want to be the best partner possible and really make this work, can you please help, if possible, with these issues? Thank you

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Answers (7)
healthgal, Health Pro
8/25/08 7:58pm

First of all I am incredibly respectiful of the fact that your partner was willing to be honest and forthright - knowing that the information she was giving you could strongly influence how you proceed (or don't proceed) with the relationship.  You are especially vulnerable because it sounds like you are really grappling with the lesbian aspect and then the herpes as an added factor. 


That being said, having a lesbian releationship that involves oral sex means you are at risk - since unlike a man - you don't have a condom option for protection.  This might be a strong reason for your partner to consider daily Valtrex - which does help to reduce the risk of her exposing you to herpes - but you need to realize that even if she takes Valtrex - it is not 100% assurance of not spreading herpes - it just lowers the risk considerably, as long as she watches for recurrences and you abstain from oral sex during the obvious period of a recurrence.


You have a lot of issues to think about - but at least you are better informed as you grapple with these decisions.  Good luck.

Bella, Community Member
3/31/09 10:54pm

If you continue to pursue this relationship, there are dental dams that can protect you in addition to your partner taking antiviral drugs.  You won't get it if you both are careful and responsible.  You might want to think about getting a herpes blood test.  You might find out that you have it too.  HSV testing is not included in standard STD screenings.  You have to specifically ask for it. 


Be thankful that your partner gave you a choice.  Most people aren't that considerate.



Danica, Community Member
3/ 7/13 6:29am
Dental dams really aren't necessary. My gf would die if i used!!You might get a cold sore but my doctor told me the chances of this are like almost zero, since most people carry have cold sore virus, or have been exposed. I think he said like 80% of people by the time they are 40' Reply
oliveflavored, Community Member
11/16/10 12:07pm

I too have found someone that I truly adore- except she has herpes. I have been fighting with whether or not I should be with her. It is so difficult to not be able to do certain things and I am really paranoid about it. For lesbians, the second you get herpes- the second you are considered to practically have the plague. Once it gets out into the community that you have herpes, you are lucky to ever find a date again. I can't deal with that. I just don't know what we can and can not do. How it spreads....and how long it lasts in the air. Say if I penetrated her, how long does the virus last after that? Must I immediately wash my hands? Because quite honestly, that just ruins the moment. Of course, so does dental dams. It's heartbreaking and I truly feel for her. I don't know what to do.

Danica, Community Member
3/ 7/13 6:31am
The virus doesn't live long outside the body. Your hands cant catch it. The stigma is the absolute only thing about herpes that is terrible. The condition is harmless. I know plenty of lesbians with herpes who have totally normal sex lives and don't pass the virus. Including my gf. Reply
Melcass, Community Member
3/ 1/14 4:52am
I unfortunately have been diagnosed with H2 and as a lesbian, trying to understand what I cannot do with a girl. I need the hairy details. Is scissoring and oral completely off limits when not having an outbreak? I know no matter what there is a slight risk but I just need to know what exactly is normal lesbian sex and specific activities I can perform. Reply
Lovemeanyways, Community Member
10/14/11 3:08am
I have genital herpes and I am in a relationship for about a year now . Being someone who has herpes it is so , so hard to tell someone you have it. The worst thing in my situation is not the having herpes it's the stigma behind it . I have had only one out break the first one and then never again . I take daily valtrex and I have sex on a regular basis with my partner . I know it is scary for her and it's not something she ever wanted to have in a partner. We have had oral sex and penetration as well she keeps oral sex to a minimum and that's ok she still gets alot on the receiving end . I am not a slut I have been in many long term relationships and I contacted it from someone who didn't tell me or try to prevent spreading. It is much harder on us I promise you. If they are telling you it's because they care and the don't want to hurt you. My partner does not have it . I will do all that I can do to prevent it. Someone like me feels embarassed and ashamed and unlovable . My Gf is still with me and I am lucky. I am afraid if she ever leaves me if anyone could love me . Alot of people have what I have if one out of every 5 people has herpes there are alot of couples making it work . I am a good person , I am a clean person , I don't sleep around and I am honest smart funny and I have never cheated on anyone in my life . For that I am rarer than herpes and for that I deserve to be loved . Your partners are lucky to have you guys and you are lucky to have them to. We are just unwillingly changed . They will protect you protect yourself too . Sex is just a part of the relationship not the whole thing. If you love them love them. Be sensitive to their feelings talk about it and don't make them feel anymore like monsters then they already do. Conclusion daily valtrex have her check herself daily in the shower have sex wash ur hands if she touches herself have her wash hers . It's the least u could do is interrupt the moment to wash ur hands when that moment is spent with someone you care for . Reply
Lover girl, Community Member
3/ 7/13 6:15am
One of the worst things about herpes is all the misinformation! I've been with my girlfriend 8 years and we have normal lesbian sex including oral sex and always have. I do not have the virus after 8 years. :) don't stress. While its true that there is a very small risk of passing this when there is no outbreak, that's studies based on Hetro people. Where one set of genitsls goes into another). Also I think you are much more likely to get herpes from someone who doesn't know they have it! Every lesbian I know for herpes either from a guy, or from a partner who had an active cold sore and performed oral sex. I'd be interested to see a study about transmission rates between women. It's apples and oranges. Reply
Les77, Community Member
7/16/13 2:13pm
So I am assuming that skin to skin contact is where it may be contracted and bodily fluids as well...correct? Like if one partner has it and I don't then grinding is out of the question? Anything like that? Reply
Lover girl, Community Member
7/16/13 5:17pm
I suppose if your partner is having an outbreak you should avoid grinding. Body fluids do not carry the virus. Treat it like a cold sore, that's what it is. When it's there, or she feels it coming, stay away. It's really that simple Reply
Les77, Community Member
7/16/13 5:25pm
But with viral shedding that can occur when asymptomatic and spread as well as any exchange of bodily fluids. If that wasn't the case you could donate blood etc. I am just trying to get my facts straight. Can you still do the things you do in a normal sexual situation without contracting it if there is no protection used and they appear to not have a break out. And kissing is ok when no sores are present? That includes her giving oral if no sores are present in mouth? Sorry if its a lot just never had to worry until now. Reply
Lover girl, Community Member
7/16/13 7:23pm
There are so many myths about herpes. People with herpes can give blood of course! Read this Basically herpes is a cold sore. Nobody wants a cold sore, but it's not the end of the world. Yes you can have a normal sexual relationship. Just like people who are prone to cold sores never go without kidding again, or giving oral sex. Viral shedding happens supposedly, but I think straight couples are more at risk. Also, it happens with cold sores on the mouth too. Herpes sucks because of the stigma. In Europe no body cares. It developed this crazy bad stigma in the 70s. It's an annoying skin condition, not the plague. I've been with my gf who has herpes for 8 years. We have normal sex, and everything that goes with it. Always have, and I'm herpes free. Reply
NYCsad, Community Member
9/12/13 1:16pm

Im a lesbian who was diagnosed with herpes today. So much info iv read is aboit hetero couples. Im glad i found this post. I am so worried i will die alone with my two cats in a studio lol. 

scienceand music, Community Member
12/28/13 10:34pm

I'm also a lesbian with herpes. Was diagnosed in 2008. My partner (A boyfriend) did not tell me he had it and we did the pull out thing instead of using protection. It is also a big fear of mine that i Will not be able to find a girl who accepts that and still wants to be intimate. SO far it has ended one relationship because I told her. BUt Also I think that if someone really cares about me they will be able to accept that. Geez I don't want to use dental dams! LOL. This year I took a sex and behavior class and my professor showed us a chart that basically said transmission of herpes has lower rates than any of the other major STDs (bacterial or viral) and the lowest rate of transmission was in the Female/Female population. I also take Valtrex every day so I just have to hope and pray this won't be a lifetime hangup. 

Aussy, Community Member
2/24/14 4:57pm

I was just called by my doctor and told that my tests read positive for herpes type 2. I felt like I left my body and my gf is really great, but I'm really afraid she might just get tired of dealing... I know she wont want to touch me ever but she wont even let me touch her. I'm not stupid, I can see that she's worried and her body just shuts down on me whenever I try to even kiss her. Finding this post puts me a little more at ease. I guess I'm gonna have to live with this for the rest of my life.

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By Nancy, Community Member— Last Modified: 03/01/14, First Published: 08/25/08