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DH and herpes

(46 Posts)
moleavenger Fri 24-May-13 16:27:53

20 years ago, before he and I even knew each other, DH caught herpes from a one night stand. He said it was horrific at first - blisters, sores, pain, itching, swelling, then after 10 years it died down a bit. DH is now obsessive about not passing it on and the shame that would occur if he did. He will not have sex or any sexual contact at all when he has an outbreak and that is every other month.

The problem is, he spends about 2 weeks a month unable to have sex. considering that the third week of every month I am on my period (DH is a muslim and does not like having sex on period) that leaves 1 week a month (in between work stress, tiredness, illness, kids) to have sex. In some ways this is great because it makes the likelihood of DH having sex outside of our marriage very low indeed, but I am so incredibly frustrated and sometimes my mind plays tricks on me - maybe DH doesnn't want to have sex with me? Maybe this is the perfect excuse?

Whenever I complain he makes the point that he is protecting ME, so it's very hard to ask for anything. When I say could we have some sexual contact even if we don't have sex he says he finds it hard because he feels "disgusting" and disgusted with himself when he has an outbreak.

Anyone else out there understand the herpes thing or have a DH with herpes? Is it really like this all the time?

OldLadyKnowsNothing Fri 24-May-13 16:36:55

Seriously? He's had this pain and blistering so frequently for 20 years and not seen a doctor about treatment? He needs to man up, ok, he feels unclean but he needs to deal with this.

Or, he's bullshitting.

moleavenger Fri 24-May-13 16:39:28

What are the options for herpes? DH says cream and pills. Could the doctor actually do anything to make it not happen so regularly? He says it's not that it hurts anymore but it's that he doesn't want the shame of passing it on

Rugbycomet Fri 24-May-13 16:40:14

Can't he use a condom?

worldgonecrazy Fri 24-May-13 16:41:11

Has he seen a doctor? If the attacks are that painful and frequent he can take viral suppressants which should reduce the attacks.

simplesusan Fri 24-May-13 16:41:14

Can he not give you sexual pleasure without intercourse?

I am concerned that you mention he won't be having sex with anyone else. That thought wouldn't enter into the mind of someone in a healthy relatinship. Are you totally happy in this relationship, apart from the sex side?

sugarandspite Fri 24-May-13 16:41:23

Agree that he really must see his gp - more from a health pov than a sex one.

You could also look at the new (ish) softcup things which are disposable mooncups - you can use them during sex if you wanted to have non-icky sex during your period? (Although not sure how this would fit with Islamic teaching?!)

Mama1980 Fri 24-May-13 16:41:24

Definitely he needs to see a dr if he hasn't already, flare ups in my limited understanding shouldn't be so frequent.

SisterMatic Fri 24-May-13 16:42:03

He is protecting you, but he does need to work on how he feels about herpes to not let it affect his life so much.
it is sad that there is so much stigma about these things that people actually feel disgusted with themselves for many years.

moleavenger Fri 24-May-13 16:42:03

Apparently if you use a condom the herpes particles (or whatever they're called) are still all over your genital area. When he has an outbreak DH even boils the towels he uses to dry himself from the shower

Dryjuice25 Fri 24-May-13 16:42:23

I don't know much about this disease but why would you want to have sex with your DH particularly when he is most likely to pass it on? He sounds like he really cares about not passing it on to you.

Have you considered getting tested for HIV? Does he show affection in other ways? You sounds like you really love him, sticking around when he has "disgusting" outbreaks. And two months without sex is not too bad in my experience

OldLadyKnowsNothing Fri 24-May-13 16:42:30

Follow the link, mole. Yes, doctors can at the very least try to get some control over this, if he's that bad he's at risk of passing it to you any time you have sex, condom or not.

purplewithred Fri 24-May-13 16:44:18

He can be given antiviral tablets to reduce the duration and frequency of the attacks. Attacks tend to happen when the immune system is struggling so staying well, not being too tired etc is important too. But Aciclovir (antiviral tablets from the GP, not the cream you can buy over the counter) may be a huge help.

LEMisdisappointed Fri 24-May-13 16:46:18

What jumped out at me from your post was that you felt that with this condition he will be less likely to be unfaithful - don't you trust him? I think this is a huge issue

MrsChanningTatum Fri 24-May-13 16:53:08

I think there is something strange going on here.

I caught herpes in 1992. Initially there were a couple of really bad outbreaks with lots of blisters and open sores. It was excruciating. Then there were a couple of milder outbreaks with less swelling and blistering.
And then no more break outs.

I have not had any symptoms since early 1993.

I thought that this is what happens, bad break outs, then milder, then no break outs.

It is terribly contagious, even before the blistering erupts.

Do you see the herpes ever??

Its seems incredible to me that he suffers so frequently and that he STILL gets break outs of it.

VERY unusual in my experience. And other people I know who have had it have had the same experience as me. I.E they don't get break outs anymore.

BoreOfWhabylon Fri 24-May-13 16:59:49

Good information/advice here

They also have a helpline.

moleavenger Fri 24-May-13 17:03:27

I think the unfaithful bit stems out of my thought process concerning why he refuses point blank to hVe sex with me when he has a flare up. Various things went through my mid like - does this mean he's getting it elsewhere? There is no evidence to suggest that at all!

Being a western woman married to a Muslim there are a few cultural things concerning sex I can't break through - mainly the fact he doesn't really talk about it. He is very, very protective of me and the good side of chivalrous - always puts me first practically, emotionally and so all herpes conversations focus around how it would be a problem for me.

He also has a bit - just a little bit - of a madonna whore complex where he sees me as this "perfect" thing which cannot be tarnished. Sometimes I get so frustrated I say "just give it to me, we're married we can suffer together, as long as we can have sex" but he's horrified at the thought of this.

moleavenger Fri 24-May-13 17:06:02

Thanks so much for all the links. Reading them now. Mrs Channing Tatum, I have seen some spots on his penis - much to his horror, so I know it's they're. But they're not exactly the festering vesuviuses he describes.

ike1 Fri 24-May-13 17:34:40

I cant comment on herpes but I suffer from horrific cystitis after sex and then thrush from antibiotics mentally it has crushed my libido. So i can kinda see if your DH has become a bit paranoid about sex.

ike1 Fri 24-May-13 17:36:13

Oh and my marriage disintegrated because of this because my exh had an affair. so of course i would suggest some empathy. just a suggestion.

Lizzabadger Fri 24-May-13 17:48:11

It's awful that your husband, and as a consequence you, have suffered so long.

I worry about his immune system if he is unable to keep the herpes virus better suppressed. Does he get lots of colds and things as well?

He really does need to go to the doctor. If he doesn't want to go to the GP a sexual health clinic might be able to help or a private consultation might not be too extortionate.

namechangingforthis Fri 24-May-13 17:50:52

Namechange test.

namechangingforthis Fri 24-May-13 18:10:42

Op, I have namechanged for this for obvious reasons, but you are getting some very wrong information here.

I caught herpes back in 2003 from a guy I was seeing, it must have been extremely contagious as the herpes broke out around my anal area and we did not have anal sex. It was horrendous, lots and lots of red sores that bled and felt like a knife was cutting me everytime I moved or went to the toilet, I cannot truly describe how bad it was but put it this way, I'd just started a new job and had to take almost a week off, I was terrified because I had no idea what it could be, I was very young at the time. I went to an out of hours clinic on a Friday night as it was so bad, and the doctor told me it was piles and gave me a load of medication, cream laxatives etc.

The cream he gave did nothing so i went to see my own gp on the Monday morning, my gp told me it was absolutely not piles and looked very much like herpes but he told me I'd have to go to a GUM clinic to have this confirmed. He gave me some antiviral tablets and printed off a load of information aboout herpes virus. Once I read the information I kew what it was. And this was confirmed a few months later when it came back. The second time it came back it was nowhere near as bad as the first time. That first time it took a few weeks to completely heal up.

That was 10 years ago now and I still get outbreaks anything between every 2 to 6 months. They are nowhere near as severe and don't last as long, but they are still very uncomfortable and very contagious when an outbreak is happening.

I finally [lucked up the courage to go to a GUM clinic in 2009 when I had a particuarly uncomfortable outbreak, they did a swab and confirmed that it is herpes. There's very little they can do other than antiviral tablet, but the tablets did very little for me.

I'm not unhealthy and don't have a weak immune system, I don't get ill very often at all, although I do find outbreaks can happen if I'm tired or run down. But it doesn't mean my overall health is bad, I could simply have a bad week and get an outbreak. Yes some people will get an inital outbreak and never get another, but no two people are the same. Herpes is the same virus as coldsores, so one person may get frequent coldsores, some may get one every few years, some people may get one and never get another. The virus lies doormant in your body and can come out at any time.

Herpes is very contagious and can be caught from towel, even passed from touching and oral sex and can spread to your face and even your eyes. While it's nothing to be ashamed of as it could happen to everyone, I can completely understand how your husband feels. Particuarly that it is on his penis so there's no getting away from it realy, he can't not use his penis during intercourse, and a condom woldn't be sufficient enough protection. If he is muslim so culturally there are already things around sex while you are on your perioud etc then I can even more so understand.

The only thing that strikes me as strange is the fact that you see this as a good reason as he'll be less likely to cheat, I find that strange if you are in a happy relationship.

But all the other stuff is very normal imo, and just what herpes sufferers ahve to live with, it sounds to me as though he is being rightfully cautious, as I promise you would not want to catch and have to live with herpes.

EccentricElastic Fri 24-May-13 18:28:29

I used to have terrible outbreaks of coldsores on my face/mouth which would occur approx every 6-8 weeks, and nothing eased them. Then I read of a substance called L Lysine which is an Amino acid. I get it from Holland and Barratt and use the larger (1000mg) of the two strengths (500/1000 mg).
Importantly, I began taking it (1 tablet per day) when I was not suffering an attack, and since then - nearly 20 years ago - I have not had a single attack, though It doesn't cure it, just holds it at bay.
As cold sores are the same virus as Herpes it may be worth a try to see if it works ....I hope so.

LovedayMerryweather Fri 24-May-13 18:28:39

If he gets outbreaks that often, the GP will give him tablets to take every day that prevent outbreaks. He just needs to ask. Herpes is very very common.

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