A sizzling sexy relationship — even contending with herpes — is in your future. And it all starts with your relationship to what herpes means to your sex life. 1) Is herpes a sex killer or 2) does herpes give a new perspective on trust, caring and support in relationship? Can you feel that difference? That is the first part of seeing it as a relationship strengthener. Sound a bit backwards? You’re gonna love this.

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Small print: Before getting into specifics, let me first say that every couple must have the conversation about the risk of the herpes-free partner getting herpes. It’s just a fact. There’s always a chance of the partner getting herpes even when precautions are taken. Of course condoms are the best way to keep the partner herpes-free (while there’s still risk). Some couples will choose to go at it au natural; in these cases the herpes partner might consider taking suppressive therapy even between occurrences to lower the chances.

This is a common occurrence in herpes relationships: One person has herpes and the partner doesn’t. And keeping the non-herpes partner free from herpes doesn’t have to be a burden and especially not a turnoff. Keeping the partner herpes-free can actually be a beautiful way to take the relationship deeper.

This might just sound backwards. After all, there are times in a herpes relationship where sexual contact is out of the question (during the occasional herpes occurrences). How can avoiding direct sexual contact turn up the connection to be even sexier?

Think of this in terms of how it works with other sensual experiences that couples do to enhance their sex lives … a big part of this includes teasing. Teasing in terms of playfully withholding sex, or maybe teasing by wearing a blindfold to cut off one sense in order to heighten the other senses. If you take the stigma out of herpes, then herpes occurrences are simply times in which everything other than straight up sex is fair game. This can be a time of peaking the desire, stoking the fire, holding back from what you both want but can’t have. Like most things – but especially sex – the more you realize you can’t have it, the more you want it.

So just like anything else, just use your imagination! Make a game out of it. Have fun with it. Take the direct sexual contact out of the mix and playfully explore in all the other realms of intimacy. Not only will it make the sex that much better when all’s clear on the southern front, but such exploration will expand the options when all-out sex is re-introduced to the relationship.

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