Q: I've had herpes for the past 20 years. Now, whenever I tell a woman about it (before we become intimate, of course) I'm met with rejection. Are there any safe sites to find partners with herpes? By the way, I don't like using condoms.
Dr. Pepper Schwartz: Yes, if you go online you will find sites that help people with herpes find each other. Just Google "herpes and sexual partners" or "herpes communities." However, many people who have herpes would not think about going to the site, and I am surprised you haven't run across partners already who have it - it's been epidemic among boomers.
But I think there is more going on here when you say you don't like condoms. I wonder if you've suggested unsafe sex to women who didn't think they had herpes? Of course they wouldn't want to do that - and neither should you. First of all, there are other kinds of sexually transmitted diseases besides herpes (HIV being the scariest, but not the only one) you can get if you don't use protection. Also, even if you have herpes, someone else who has it might cause a flare-up - which isn't pleasant at all.
It is easy to get comfortable using condoms, and that will increase your chances of finding women who will feel safe having sex with you. Buy some of these new ultra-sexy, ultra-thin condoms now on the market. They are so thin (yet still safe) that you will have to check to see if they are on. Some of them are really innovative and create even more pleasure than not wearing one. Honest!
Sure, you can find sites with other people who have herpes, and I think this would be a good idea. But I also think you should always wear a condom. You can have pleasure, and also not worry about picking up - or giving - any new infections.
Photo by Russ Robinson.
Dr. Schwartz answers questions every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Submit your question here. Read more of Pepper's columns here . And be sure to follow Pepper on Twitter @pepperschwartz.