"How do I have sex??!"
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Little Red Click to view user profileClick to check IP address of the poster Jul-05-00, 11:32 AM (CST)
"How do I have sex??!"
Can someone spell this out for me? I know it's a big issue (and controversial?) but I will also be happy with a link to a Web page that makes it clear... I've looked around on this site and on the Web but have not found the basics... I know that there are controversies regarding safe sex, safer sex, etc., but if someone could give me a basic run down of limiting the likelihood of passing on H., that would be extremely appreciated.

Maybe I'm being dense but I guess I really don't know how H. is passed on, assuming there are no outbreaks anywhere. Contact with bodily fluids? Tissues in certain areas?

I am positive for both HSV1 and HSV2. I have never had an outbreak so I can't predict when I might have them or be possibly shedding.

Here are my questions:

1. First base: What are the real dangers of kissing? We kissed before I found out about my H. positive status (I told him right away!) and he doesn't have any interest in giving up kissing.

2. Third base -- Second base is nice but jumping to third is more interesting -- How can I touch him? (Wash my hands and don't touch myself? or does washing my hands have nothing to do with it? Put a condom on him? Gloves on myself?)

3. How can he touch me?

4. Oral sex... I know, big controversy and I've read the letters in the archive without a light bulb popping on over my head. How can I give him a blow job?

5. How can he go down on me?

6. Home Run: How can we have sex?

Too much to ask? I appreciate any info you can offer.

- Little Red


 Table of contents

RE: How do I have sex??!, windy, Jul-05-00, (1)
RE: How do I have sex??!, Katkin, Jul-06-00, (2)
Dental dams and saran wrap, jjj, Jul-10-00, (24)
RE: Dental dams and saran wrap, windy, Jul-11-00, (26)
RE: How do I have sex??!, mzztree, Jul-06-00, (3)
Mom talks about sex (Maverick, don'..., M'sMom, Jul-06-00, (4)
RE: Mom talks about sex (Maverick, ..., Betty, Jul-06-00, (5)
RE: The mechanics.., gayguy, Jul-06-00, (6)
RE: The mechanics.., M'sMom, Jul-06-00, (7)
AVS, mzztree, Jul-06-00, (9)
Betty, mzztree, Jul-06-00, (10)
REmzztree, betty, Jul-11-00, (25)
Is M's Mom the coolest mom ever, or..., jjj, Jul-10-00, (19)
M, close your ears!, M'sMom, Jul-10-00, (22)
RE: How do I have sex??!, Little Red, Jul-06-00, (8)
RE: How do I have sex??!, Katkin, Jul-06-00, (11)
RE: How do I have sex??!, Esperanza, Jul-08-00, (12)
RE: How do I have sex??!, mzztree, Jul-09-00, (13)
RE: How do I have sex??!, Esperanza, Jul-09-00, (14)
RE: How do I have sex??!, Little Red, Jul-09-00, (15)
Cling Wrap, J, Jul-09-00, (17)
RE: Cling Wrap, dizzy, Jul-10-00, (23)
RE: How do I have sex??!, windy, Jul-09-00, (16)
RE: How do I have sex??!, Little Red, Jul-10-00, (20)
RE: How do I have sex??!, windy, Jul-10-00, (21)
RE: How do I have sex??!, mzztree, Jul-09-00, (18)

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Messages in this topic

windy Click to Email windyClick to view user profileClick to check IP address of the poster Jul-05-00, 07:42 PM (CST)
1. "RE: How do I have sex??!"
LAST EDITED ON Jul-05-00 AT 08:01 PM (CST)

>Maybe I'm being dense but I
>guess I really don't know
>how H. is passed on,
>assuming there are no outbreaks
>anywhere. Contact with bodily fluids?
>Tissues in certain areas?

The virus can be shed from any areas of skin that are connected to an infected nerve. If you have genital herpes, then the virus could be shed from about your waist to your thighs. Transmission is from skin to skin contact. Sustained skin to skin contact with lots of friction is thought to make transmission more likely than just a quick touch.

Transmission is more likely to a mucous membrane, or to an opening in the skin, like a cut or scrape, or maybe an over-scrubbed area. Body fluids might contain virus if they passed over an area of skin that was shedding.

>I am positive for both HSV1
>and HSV2. I have never
>had an outbreak so I
>can't predict when I might
>have them or be possibly
>Here are my questions:
>1. First base: What are the
>real dangers of kissing? We
>kissed before I found out
>about my H. positive status
>(I told him right away!)
>and he doesn't have any
>interest in giving up kissing.

Assuming he has no herpes at all, and therefore no herpes-specific antibodies to protect him -

And assuming you have oral hsv1 and genital hsv2 -

There's a small chance of shedding hsv1 with no symptoms and passing it to him by kissing.

>2. Third base -- Second base
>is nice but jumping to
>third is more interesting
>-- How can I touch
>him? (Wash my hands and
>don't touch myself? or does
>washing my hands have nothing
>to do with it? Put
>a condom on him? Gloves
>on myself?)

Wash your hands after you touch yourself to protect him from herpes. Soap and water will kill whatever virus is on the skin.

>3. How can he touch me?

Might be helpful to wash yourself first. Also, he should have no cuts, abrasions, cracks, etc. on his hands. A little contact is a little risk, and a lot of contact is more risk. Just a fingertip on a clit is less risky than inserting fingers without examining for symptoms (assuming you had some). Obviously, gloves would reduce risk. I don't know anyone who uses them.

>4. Oral sex... I know, big
>controversy and I've read the
>letters in the archive without
>a light bulb popping on
>over my head. How can
>I give him a blow

See #1 above - there's small chance of passing hsv1. Some do it with a condom. Probably not necessary here. His chances of getting genital hsv1 from a blow job are going to be the same with around 60-80% of the population. (again, assuming he doesn't already have hsv1).

Oral shedding is more likely when there are prodromal symptoms, when you have a cold, after a head or face injury or surgery. I suppose you could brush your teeth with a toothpaste that contains SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) which kills the virus. Like washing first.

>5. How can he go down
>on me?

If he doesn't want to risk direct contact, then he could use dental dams or saran wrap. I've heard that some people actually use these things.

>6. Home Run: How can we
>have sex?

Things that reduce risk -

you wash before sex, he washes after. (ok, there's no rule that says you can't both wash before and after, and you can even wash each other).

use condoms

nonoxyl-9 (caution, some people are sensitive to this)

boxer shorts (honest) to reduce skin to skin contact.

hope I'm not forgetting anything.

oh yeah, **coming soon** antimicrobial gels, in place of condoms. Stay tuned for more info in the next year.

BTW, there are couples who do no more than refrain from sex during obs, and haven't transmitted. All the above precautions are not because you are always likely to transmit, but because there is a chance that once in a while you are likely to transmit.

Most people who test positive for herpes but have no history of symptoms can be taught to recognize subclinical symptoms. A few apparently have no symptoms. Stay alert, you may notice subtle changes.

Shedding rates vary - it tends to be more frequent in the first year or two, and it becomes less frequent over time, along with obs.

There are no guarantees, but I'm pretty sure it can be done. Be careful, and have fun.



Katkin Click to check IP address of the poster Jul-06-00, 03:50 AM (CST)
2. "RE: How do I have sex??!"
Well.....I got my bloodtest and other test results back for every STD under the sun.CLEAR !

The doctor asked me about what I will do when I find someone else (potential new lover) and I honestly don't know how I will go about this complicated procedure either.

After reading this, I am wondering how I will have sex again either....will I want to ??

After 19 months with my ex, and after my contracting the virus from him, we did not have to abstain or use condoms (so i thought....as I did not know he was being unfaithful to me)...but I am truly trying to block the idea from my mind.

It has only been just over a month from when I last made love to my expartner....will I ever be able to have sex again ??? What a scarey thought ;-(

I shall put it into the too hard basket for now .
Best wishes to all,



jjj Click to check IP address of the poster Jul-10-00, 11:54 PM (CST)
24. "Dental dams and saran wrap"
OK, it's probably just curiosity, because to be honest I dont think either I or my partner would use these, but I don't understand how they work, or exactly how you're supposed to use them. Could somone please educate me about the mechanics of how these are used? Also, how would one use a condom during a blow job? Thanks.

windy Click to Email windyClick to view user profileClick to check IP address of the poster Jul-11-00, 01:57 PM (CST)
26. "RE: Dental dams and saran wrap"
LAST EDITED ON Jul-11-00 AT 02:03 PM (CST)


It's very simple. Herpes is transmitted by skin to skin contact, so you just keep the barrier between the positive person's skin and negative person's skin, so that there is no direct contact.

Dental dam would be held in place over vulva and partners tongue would only touch the dam. Same deal with condom - man wears condom, partner performs oral sex and only lets mouth have direct contact with condom. That's why they make flavored condoms.

Here's the safe-sex link that mzztree provided earlier in this thread. Lots of good info there.




mzztree Click to view user profileClick to check IP address of the poster Jul-06-00, 06:05 AM (CST)
3. "RE: How do I have sex??!"
Windy does a good job explaining the ins and outs (sorry!) of sex with H.

But, one more important thing!


If he already has HSV1 (probably does) then you won't have to worry about kissing him or giving him blow jobs. (Well, there's still a small risk of him getting genital HSV1, but it's a very small risk, because he already has antibodies.) Also, the risk of him getting oral HSV2 by going down on you would be very small as well. It is very rare to get oral HSV2 on top of oral HSV1.

IMO, knowing his HSV status would certainly make deciding how to proceed a lot easier.

Good luck,


M'sMom Click to Email M'sMomClick to check IP address of the poster Jul-06-00, 07:41 AM (CST)
4. "Mom talks about sex (Maverick, don't read this!!!)"
Hi, Little Red.

Just a few other thoughts: Some people speak highly of female condoms. I can't comment, haven't tried 'em.

On the subject of gloves, I have a friend who uses a pair of very soft kidskin gloves when touching his wife. She says they feel *really* good. The issue in that case isn't prophylaxis - his hands are super rough because of his job, not suitable for delicate work.

Also, it's safe for him to touch you through your panties, and that can be really nice for you, too. Wear satin or smooth cotton, not nylon - it feels better. Other plusses to this: he'll probably like the visual, and it gives you more reason to shop at Vicky's Secret.

I think the key here is to make your prophylactic measures part of the play and not some grim ritual that takes all the fun and spontaneity out of sex. Remember doing that when to avoid pregnacy when you were a kid? It can actually make things *more* interesting rather than less.

Take care, have fun.



Betty Click to check IP address of the poster Jul-06-00, 08:16 AM (CST)
5. "RE: Mom talks about sex (Maverick, don't read this!!!)"
Little Red,

I just went to the best doctor on earth regarding the H. He is the kindest man who really understands. He also is the moderator of a herpes support group and runs many clinical trials, so he's very knowledgeable.

The first and main thing he told me about sex is to continue with a normal sex life!! And when it's time to start a family to not think twice and go for it. I was all upset and crying and he was asking about my relationships, and I told him that I was with someone who was negative, but has no problem with it. He just said, "You know what, you're past the most difficult part of it -- he sounds like a keeper."

Also, many +/- relationships go on w/o the negative partner ever contracting it just by avoiding sex during outbreaks. But, I would recommend condoms, as you would for any relationship to avoid more than just the H.

I know this is going to ruffle some feathers out there, and I hesitate to post this, because all the self-proclaimed experts will be all over this, but he also believes that in a few years they'll come out and admit that they made asymptomatic shedding out to be much more than it is. He is very familiar with the WA studies(I believe he even knew the doctors personally), and has taken issue with these studies. I don't want to start a big war over this, but being in marketing, I fully realize the power of a press release. He didn't say that it doesn't exist, but that most transmissions occur from people who don't know they have it. No couple that he has ever counseled(many), has transmitted the virus via asymptomatic shedding. Just a little food for thought.


gayguy Click to check IP address of the poster Jul-06-00, 09:20 AM (CST)
6. "RE: The mechanics.."
Whew! Have any of you considered a career in the erotic literature industry? M's Mom, your posts could make a guy like me jump the fence again....
That aside, let me comment/ask something here. I just went for my last Hep A & B vaccine. The nurse/health dept worker was talking to me about Herpes. He was super cautionary. I challenged him on the HSV2-mouth connection. My herpes specialists had told me it is very rare to get it in the mouth as does a website (advicecenter.com). The nurse at the health dept said it is common.?? The nurse also said that the virus can pop out anywhere on the body, that you can shed it from anywhere. I find this very hard to believe. If that were true it would rampant being easily spread on a crowded subway in the summer as scantily clad people bump up against each other. Also, with the rate of infection so high among "my people" and oral sex being akin to shaking hands, it would be out of control.
I guess my bottom line is this: DO you think anybody really knows the mechanism of transmission? How much prevention is now just the dogma of health pros whose personal feelings can enter into the discussion? Is it really this simple to catch? Sometimes I think the zeal to stop transmission altogether can lead to over protection. After I left the health dept the other day, I felt like wrapping myself in cellophane.
ON a related note, the protection zealots are telling "us" to use condoms for oral sex (I know, I've spoken of this before) because studies show that 6-8% of HIV men got it that way. Well, the CDC studies (the compilation of many studies) shows the rate to be more like 3%. Taking into account untrue or mistaken accounts, that rate could drop to zero.
I think what I'm trying to say is, maybe we are going overboard on the ease of transmission and thus the level of protection we use. Could just being conscious of the situation be enough? If this woman (who started this thread) wanted to let her guy go down on her, is he even at risk w/o the saran wrap? If she's not broken out, could his naked fingers be ok even if she is shedding a little bit? Are there cases where a little diddling down there transmitted it? Don't you think we have innate protection except when it's rubbed into the mucosa during, er, more vigorous activity?

M'sMom Click to Email M'sMomClick to check IP address of the poster Jul-06-00, 09:51 AM (CST)
7. "RE: The mechanics.."
Hi, GayGuy!

I think you are bringing up some issues we've all thought about. I think the bottom line is: to a certain extent, sex is risky. When you are sweating and rubbing skin and exchanging body fluids, stuff can happen. If you happen to know that your partner has herpes, you are specifically aware of one of the risks.

You can reduce this particular risk (and lots of others) by application of soap and water and good common sense (like no sex during outbreaks). You can reduce the risk more by using condoms, adding nonoxynol-9, with antiviral therapy, or by wrapping yourself up in polyprophylene, but if you're gonna have sex, you can't reduce it to zero. The trick is to find a point at which you feel the risk is adequately minimized without turning sex into something sad and uncomfortable.

That's a personal choice, and probably at least as tough on the person who risks transmitting the virus as the one who risks receiving it.



mzztree Click to view user profileClick to check IP address of the poster Jul-06-00, 04:10 PM (CST)
9. "AVS"
Well, they did those swabbing studies, and found that people DO shed when they're not having an OB. Though not very often. The question is, how common is transmission during these times? I don't think anyone knows.

Little Red, I had sex with my ex-husband for 19 years without condoms. The only thing we did was abstain during OBs. He has never shown any symptoms of H. I'm still waiting for him to get tested, though. (I really want to know if I gave him H!)

Be careful, but have fun with your guy!



mzztree Click to view user profileClick to check IP address of the poster Jul-06-00, 04:14 PM (CST)
10. "Betty"
Who is the doctor? (I live in Athens.) Email me if you don't wish to post his name.



betty Click to check IP address of the poster Jul-11-00, 01:45 PM (CST)
25. "REmzztree"
I tried to e-mail you but it didn't work. I'm at eajb_pa@yahoo.com. I'll send you his name.

jjj Click to check IP address of the poster Jul-10-00, 03:29 PM (CST)
19. "Is M's Mom the coolest mom ever, or what??"
I cannot even begin to imagine my mother, or anyone else I know's mother, posting such a reply. Really great to see such an open minded parent. Does M know how lucky she is?

M'sMom Click to Email M'sMomClick to check IP address of the poster Jul-10-00, 08:16 PM (CST)
22. "M, close your ears!"
Why, thank you, jjj! I don't know why I shouldn't post like that - although my daughter doesn't like me to admit it, I *have* had sex at least once myself.



Little Red Click to view user profileClick to check IP address of the poster Jul-06-00, 11:01 AM (CST)
8. "RE: How do I have sex??!"
Thanks everyone! I was feeling pretty darn untouchable, but now I think I could venture out with my new cache of knowledge (and condoms)... at least physically ready. Emotionally? We'll see...
Little Red

Katkin Click to check IP address of the poster Jul-06-00, 09:31 PM (CST)
11. "RE: How do I have sex??!"
Thanks to you too Little Red...I think that this discussion helped alot of people, me included.
A BIG thankyou for bringing it up...I think the mechanics are the bit some of us find hard to talk about..."Someone give me the manual OK !!

An important point to think about is that sex with anyone these days imposes a risk...and so does crossing the street in peak-hour traffic.

I am pleased to be on a forum where there are alot of people who are sharing knowledge and promoting common sense .. not 'fear'.

You guys are all great and i think that by talking openly like this not only helps those of us with herpes...but those who read this forum and are considering a relationship with someone who is H+ and they are H-.

It is still better to be safe than sorry.




Esperanza Click to check IP address of the poster Jul-08-00, 09:30 PM (CST)
12. "RE: How do I have sex??!"
Hi folks, I'm new to Racoon and appreciate the quality of information that exists here. I had my first genital ob about 3 weeks ago. This "use a condom" message seems a bit formulaic, and, at least to my mind, misses the point. My sores, and hence, primary shedding possibilities, are on my external labia and perineum. The condom will protect my partner's penis, but not the skin in the area surrounding the penis that will come in direct contact with my highest risk/lesion area (albeit healed).

There's really no way around this anatomical reality, except, I've heard the female condom covers more territory (but does anyone know anyone who really uses that thing?). Is this just one of those calculated risks that partners decide to take if they want to have actual intercourse?



mzztree Click to view user profileClick to check IP address of the poster Jul-09-00, 06:21 AM (CST)
13. "RE: How do I have sex??!"
Hi Esperanza,

You've got it right on all counts. We've discussed the condom "problem" before. Unfortunately, a condom will not cover many peoples' "hot spots". But using a condom may minimize the risk in some cases, so we recommend it. On the subject of the female condom, I asked a question about it a while back and got just a couple of responses, so it seems to me that no one around here uses it. They have a web page, but it doesn't have a lot of info. (Search for "reality condom".)

Welcome to HHP, but sorry you had to join the club. You seem very well-informed for a newbie.



Esperanza Click to check IP address of the poster Jul-09-00, 10:47 AM (CST)
14. "RE: How do I have sex??!"
Thanks Mzztree,

I guess I've been able to "get up to speed" on the H information pretty quickly because of my professional background. I was a nurse at an early point in my career (even worked in family planning) and now have a PhD and am a researcher by profession (although not medical research), so all of that that has been helpful in
helping to make my way through the maze of information and sites, separating wheat from chaff. I'm just like everyone else however in what I'm trying to learn about maintaining an overall great life and positive feelings about sex and myself as a sexual being. I truly LOVE SEX, being sexual, and, like everyone I'm sure, want to have as normal a sex life as possible, for myself and my partner. My first grieving thought when I suspected that those uncomfortable sensations in my genitals might be herpes was "Oh God..no oral sex...or only with saran wrap or those friggin dental dams..how can I live?..that is absolutely one of the top three best things in life! I'm still having a really hard time with that one!

I completely admit to the possibility of "wishful thinking" but I do think that some of this asymptommatic shedding hysteria is a bit "over the top"..that it exists to a degree..but I think replication studies with larger samples will help put this all in perspective, as well as the outcomes of studies (again, more than one study) that link shedding and transmission. In the meantime, my asymptomatic partner is having the Western Blot done next week!

As I re-read this thread I noticed that you're one of those who has managed to avoid transmitting H (at least in terms of him having obs) to your partner despite many years together and using "common sense" (no sex during obs). This being my first ob, I don't know when I'm going to feel like I'm not highly contagious. The first ob was three weeks ago, about five days into it I noticed a few new sores. The sores are gone now, but I still at times feel that intense, throbbing itching sensation in places, and in general my labia are just kind red and irritated. Then, sometimes I think I'm magnifying normal sensations.

It makes sense to me that since the greatest risk of transmission from women is after their first outbreak(s), that there's still alot going on down there, call it shedding, whatever..so I'm avoiding any potential genital contact until things have settled down...any wisdom from the veterans out there, or guideline, regarding when my "infectious quotient" might be reduced? Again..a condom is not going to protect my partner from my "hot spots"...
Also...what is the status of the effectiveness of cling wrap as a barrier? My god, I must be desperate to be even bringing that up!



Little Red Click to view user profileClick to check IP address of the poster Jul-09-00, 11:19 AM (CST)
15. "RE: How do I have sex??!"
You're not the only desperate one out there... I've thought about cling wrap more than once in the last week!
If anyone takes the leap there, let us know if it is at all worth the effort.
Little Red

J Click to check IP address of the poster Jul-09-00, 02:47 PM (CST)
17. "Cling Wrap"
Is not effective at preventing transmission of most STDs-it's too porous.



dizzy Click to check IP address of the poster Jul-10-00, 08:25 PM (CST)
23. "RE: Cling Wrap"
I've heard that non-microwavable cling wrap is effective. It's the stuff that's made specifically for microwaves that's too porus.

windy Click to Email windyClick to view user profileClick to check IP address of the poster Jul-09-00, 02:28 PM (CST)
16. "RE: How do I have sex??!"

Frequency of shedding is proportional to outbreaks, and like obs, it's more frequent in the beginning. For a good discussion of shedding, see Anna Wald's piece on it at UW web site http://depts.washington.edu/herpes

Cling wrap should work ok as long as it stays in place. Should be fun if you're into fashion design.

Later on, when you have a better idea of how frequent your obs are and can recognize when they're about to start, then you and your partner may decide to do away with barriers for oral sex. Depends on what you feel comfortable with. Might even do away with condoms - I did that for a few years with someone and didn't get it from her. She'd had it a long time and was good at knowing when ob was coming.

Of course, if your partner's test comes back positive for the same type(s) you have, then that changes things a lot, in the long run.

Don't worry, you'll have sex again, and plenty of it. You just need to be extra careful for awhile, to protect both of you. Good luck.



Little Red Click to view user profileClick to check IP address of the poster Jul-10-00, 04:58 PM (CST)
20. "RE: How do I have sex??!"
Windy - If shedding is proportional to outbreaks, what does that mean if you've never had an outbreak?!?! -Little Red

windy Click to Email windyClick to view user profileClick to check IP address of the poster Jul-10-00, 07:13 PM (CST)
21. "RE: How do I have sex??!"
Wow, Little Red, ask an easier question, please.

OK, let me try this. There's no way to predict what your shedding rate will be, or on which days you'll be shedding. The study that was publicized in March showed that asymptomatic people shed almost as many days per year as symptomatic people (2.7% vs. 3.0%). Out of 53 asymptomatic people, only 1 consistently had negative cultures.

That's probably not what you wanted to hear. From everything I've heard or read about it, it's really a crap shoot.

If someone else has a better answer, I'd like to hear it. I think I'm having a brain cramp.



mzztree Click to view user profileClick to check IP address of the poster Jul-09-00, 09:02 PM (CST)
18. "RE: How do I have sex??!"
Hi Esperanza,

I agree with Windy, you WILL figure it all out and you will be fine. I'm pretty sure I never transmitted H to my ex-husband in 19 years of sexual intimacy, but he hasn't been tested so I am not sure. We were sorely ignorant about transmission risks. At the time I didn't even know about asymptomatic shedding. I think we were just really lucky. I have to admit, I was much more carefree when I was ignorant. With current knowledge, I have a lot more risks to weigh.

Check out this site: http://www.sexuality.org/safesex.html#C1

It is a detailed guide to safer sex. I got a lot out of it (but I haven't had the opportunity to put any of it into practice ). There's info about saran wrap, and lots of other stuff, probably more than you want to know, LOL.

BTW, I do research in plant physiology, and am working on PhD as well.




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