Women Tell All About Dating While Having Herpes
16 mins read

Women Tell All About Dating While Having Herpes

In dating, Black women often feel inadequate and unworthy of genuine, caring, and lasting relationships. Adding herpes to the equation exacerbates these difficulties.

Sexually transmitted diseases (STIs), particularly herpes, are fraught with stigma. Confusion and an overall lack of awareness are to blame for feelings of shame, anxiety, confusion, and preconceptions regarding herpes. It’s so widespread that many individuals have it yet don’t talk about it. You’ve probably snatched entitlement or gone on a date with somebody who has it. So, how does it feel to be looking for love while publicly coping with this? Four women agreed to discuss their experiences negotiating sex and dating as a Black woman with herpes.

The viewpoint of an STD life coach

According to Belize Spivey, an STD life coach, having herpes does not predestine you to a lifetime as a spinster. You may continue dating and having sexual intercourse. Spivey got it 11 decades ago, and living with it required her to conduct a lot of introspection about her relationship history. She realized she had a strange sexual relationship, which she used to deal with a lack of self and feel good about herself. Herpes infection forced her to reconsider her motivations for sexual involvement and perform the inner work required to go forward. She discovered living after herpes when she was allowed to do so. She founded her company, Overcoming, in 2015 to help other Black women like her.

“There have been no support organizations for people who look like me when I discovered I had herpes,” she recalls. Society is teeming with women who overcome the stigma of being a person with the situation. Platforms like Belize’s are critical in educating women about the fact that they may have successful dating and sexual relations, notwithstanding the prejudice.

Improvement in dating life

Kayla, a 25-year-old woman, claims that discovering she has herpes has improved her dating life. “My dating habits haven’t changed much,” she says. Herpes has enabled me to be more selective with men who deserve my time and set limits with those who are merely looking to smash and pass.” Interestingly, Kayla finds connecting with men who also have herpes to be the most challenging aspect of dating with herpes.

“My encounter with H+ men hasn’t been enjoyable,” she says. It appears that a few of them will join H+ support networks for little or no physical intimacy, engaging in sexual behaviors that I don’t particularly agree with. Regarding my dating experiences with H- males, I’ve found that they have been more tolerant of my condition. I’ve experienced both favorable and unfavorable revelation results, and while the negative disclosure results didn’t lead to a relationship, they nonetheless politely refused.

Rochelle, a 27-year-old white girl with herpes, hasn’t had the same confident dating life as Kayla. Rochelle’s social standing has harmed her self-esteem.

“I’ve put a lot of time into inner work (with the support of therapy, reading sources, and podcasts) to develop that confidence to go and truly find love again,” she adds. “I’m putting myself out there,” she adds. “But I’ve found myself to be more conscious about who I choose to entertain.” As a result of her prognosis, she struggles with fears. She also deals with anxieties and low self-esteem.

Rochelle continues, “Don’t get me mistaken, I often indulge in self-pleasure and aspire to be personal with a partner eventually, but it’s been incredibly lonely.”

Destine has had a similar thing happen to Rochelle. After being identified, she suffered from depression. She has, however, had a little luck after attempting to return there and date.

Staying safe while dating

“Going on a date with herpes has been difficult. “When I got my diagnosis, all of my faith vanished,” she adds. I’m very tough on myself, and I had to sort out my mental health problems when it was time to announce. Most people hear herpes and instantly assume the worst, never attempting to know me sincerely. I chose to end my sexual relationship when I was first identified, but it was mostly by choice. Some prospective partners rebuffed me after putting myself out there; however, I recently met someone who also has HSV, and my sex life has skyrocketed.”

When asked what one thing the community needed to understand about those living with herpes, Kayla asserted, “Herpes is not the boogeyman condition that it’s portrayed to be.” Breakouts are inconvenient. They decrease in frequency over time. Maintaining an everyday, regular sex life is feasible as long as safe sexual relations are practiced with partners.

Herpes does not determine your value or attractiveness unless you allow it to.”

Rochelle also urged those aware of herpes to be open and inform possible partners. “It’s not good to communicate, but there’s a considerably lower likelihood of transmission when you’re fully informed.” “Communication is fundamental,” she says. “Let the person who does not have herpes decide to be affectionate with you.”

Debunking Myths and Addressing Concerns

Dating with herpes is often surrounded by myths and misconceptions that can create unnecessary fear and stigma. By addressing these myths with factual information and expert insights, we can empower readers to make informed decisions about their dating lives.

Myth 1: Herpes is a rare condition.

Fact: Herpes is quite common. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 3.7 billion people under the age of 50 (67%) have herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), and around 491 million people aged 15-49 (13%) have herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) globally. These numbers highlight that herpes is widespread, and many people are living with it without even knowing.

Myth 2: People with herpes can’t have healthy relationships.

Fact: Many people with herpes have healthy, fulfilling relationships. The key is open communication and mutual understanding. Disclosing your herpes status to a partner can be challenging, but it often leads to deeper trust and stronger connections. Education and empathy can bridge gaps and dispel fears, allowing meaningful relationships to flourish.

Myth 3: Herpes is always contagious.

Fact: Herpes is most contagious during an outbreak when sores are present. However, it can still be transmitted with no visible symptoms due to asymptomatic shedding. Using protection, such as condoms and antiviral medications, can significantly reduce the risk of transmission. Couples can take preventive measures and have open discussions to manage the risk together.

Myth 4: Herpes is a sign of promiscuity.

Fact: Herpes has nothing to do with a person’s character or sexual behavior. The virus can be contracted from a single encounter or even from non-sexual contact, such as kissing (for HSV-1). Stigmatizing individuals based on their herpes status is both unfair and unfounded. It is a medical condition, not a moral failing.

Myth 5: Herpes ruins your sex life.

Fact: Many individuals with herpes continue to have satisfying sex lives. Effective communication with partners, understanding each other’s boundaries, and taking preventive measures can ensure a healthy and enjoyable sexual relationship. Herpes does not define one’s sexuality or ability to experience intimacy.

By debunking these myths and providing factual information, we can alleviate the concerns many individuals have about dating with herpes. Empowering readers with knowledge helps them make informed decisions, fosters empathy and understanding, and promotes a more inclusive and supportive dating environment. Understanding the realities of herpes is crucial for breaking down stigma and building meaningful, respectful relationships.

Real Stories from Women

Navigating the dating scene with herpes can be a challenging and often daunting experience. However, hearing firsthand accounts from women who have faced these challenges and found ways to thrive can be incredibly empowering. Here are some real stories that highlight the diverse experiences and perspectives of women living with herpes.

Sarah’s Story: Embracing Honesty and Openness

Sarah, a 28-year-old graphic designer, discovered she had herpes three years ago. Initially, she was devastated and felt her dating life was over. “I thought no one would ever want to be with me,” she recalls. However, Sarah decided to embrace honesty and openness about her condition.

“I decided early on that I wouldn’t hide my herpes. When I started dating again, I would bring it up after a few dates if things seemed to be getting serious. It was terrifying at first, but I found that most people were surprisingly understanding,” Sarah says. She recounts an experience with a man named Tom, who appreciated her honesty and respected her for it. “Tom told me that my openness was refreshing and that he valued my courage. We ended up dating for a year.”

Sarah’s story underscores the importance of honesty in relationships and how it can foster trust and deeper connections.

Emma’s Story: Facing Rejection and Finding Acceptance

Emma, a 34-year-old teacher, has been living with herpes for five years. Her journey in the dating world has been a rollercoaster of emotions, filled with rejection and acceptance. “I remember the first time I told someone I was dating about my herpes. He reacted poorly and stopped talking to me. It crushed my self-esteem,” Emma shares.

Despite the painful experience, Emma didn’t give up. She continued dating and eventually met Mark through a mutual friend. “I was so nervous to tell him, but his reaction was different. He asked questions, wanted to understand more, and made me feel comfortable,” she says. Mark’s acceptance and willingness to learn about herpes helped Emma realize that not everyone would react negatively.

Emma’s experience highlights the resilience needed to face rejection and the hope that acceptance and understanding are possible.

Lisa’s Story: The Power of Support Groups

A 29-year-old marketing executive, Lisa found solace and strength through support groups. After her diagnosis, she felt isolated and ashamed. “I didn’t know anyone else who had herpes, and I felt completely alone,” she says. Lisa decided to join an online support group for individuals with herpes, which changed her outlook entirely.

“Connecting with others going through the same thing was incredibly comforting. I realized I wasn’t alone, and that there were so many people living normal, happy lives despite having herpes,” Lisa explains. She met other women who shared their dating experiences through the support group, offered advice, and provided emotional support.

Lisa’s story illustrates the importance of community and the positive impact that support groups can have on individuals living with herpes.

Megan’s Story: Overcoming Stigma and Finding Love

Megan, a 31-year-old nurse, faced significant stigma after her herpes diagnosis. “I felt dirty and unlovable. The stigma around herpes is so strong that it affects your self-worth,” she recalls. Megan decided to educate herself about herpes and work on overcoming the internalized stigma.

“I started seeing a therapist who helped me work through my feelings of shame and helped me rebuild my confidence,” Megan says. Armed with a new sense of self-worth, Megan approached dating differently. She met David on a dating app specifically for people with herpes. “We both knew about each other’s condition from the start, which took away a lot of the pressure and anxiety. It was a relief to date someone who understood.”

Megan’s story is a testament to the power of self-acceptance and the possibility of finding love despite societal stigma.

Anna’s Story: Balancing Disclosure and Privacy

Anna, a 26-year-old writer, struggled to balance disclosure and privacy. “I didn’t want to disclose my herpes status too early and scare people away, but I also didn’t want to wait too long and feel like I was hiding something important,” she explains. Anna developed a strategy to navigate this delicate balance.

“I decided that I would disclose my status once I felt there was a real connection and potential for a relationship. It wasn’t about keeping a secret; it was about timing and ensuring that the person knew me well enough to understand the context,” Anna says. She shares an experience with a man named Luke, who she told about her herpes after a few dates. “He appreciated my honesty and said it didn’t change how he felt about me. We ended up dating for several months.”

Anna’s story emphasizes the importance of finding the right balance between privacy and disclosure in dating.

Rachel’s Story: Educating Partners and Building Trust

Rachel, a 32-year-old artist, found that educating her partners about herpes was vital to building trust and understanding. “Many people don’t know much about herpes beyond the stigma. I realized that educating my partners could help dispel myths and reduce fear,” she explains.

Rachel made it a point to have open and informative conversations with her partners. “I would explain what herpes is, how it’s transmitted, and how we could manage it together. Providing accurate information helped my partners feel more comfortable,” she says. Rachel’s approach led to positive experiences with her partners, who appreciated her transparency and effort to educate them.

Rachel’s story highlights the value of education in building trust and understanding in relationships.

Sophie’s Story: Navigating Online Dating

Sophie, a 27-year-old social worker, turned to online dating after her diagnosis. “I found it easier to navigate disclosure online. There are even dating apps specifically for people with herpes, which made things simpler,” she says. Sophie used these platforms to meet potential partners who already understood her condition.

“Using herpes-specific dating apps was a game-changer. It removed a lot of the anxiety around disclosure because everyone was in the same boat,” Sophie explains. She met her current partner, James, on one of these apps. “We connected on multiple levels, and the fact that we both had herpes was just a part of our story, not the defining factor.”

Sophie’s experience underscores the benefits of online dating and specialized platforms for individuals with herpes.


With such information, knowing and knowing about STIs is much simpler. For those trying to date while suffering from herpes, the reality isn’t nearly as frightening as the presumptions about whether other people react to your diagnosis. Use the resources available to help dispel the stigma associated with it. If your diagnosis has affected your self-esteem, consider counseling to express your feelings about it. You could also participate in a support network like Fight Harder. Most importantly, talk with prospective partners, love oneself, and understand that having herpes will not imply having any affection.