Herpes later in life. My reality.

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    So, I got herpes about 8 years ago in my early 50’s after dating someone after my divorce. I’m now 59. It was devastating and I’m still struggling with the physical symptoms as well as the shame and disappointment of knowing I’ll never be free to really enjoy sex again. It’s just not fun for me, and I’ve resigned myself to celibacy. I have a partner of 5 years, but we don’t have sex and neither of us cares. To be honest, sex is just too much trouble (the condoms, the lube, no oral sex, the breakouts from friction! Ugh) and the spontaneity is gone, not to mention the worry of me passing this virus on to him. The whole thing is stressful so I avoid sex completely. It is an option, and one that I’m ok with (for now).
    I know this isn’t what most people want to hear, but this is the conclusion that I have come to, and it’s alright to NOT have sex. I’ve had great sex in my life, so I’m grateful for that but it’s not the end of the world if I never have it again. There are many other things in
    life, and it can be freeing when sex isn’t central to the relationship. Just another perspective! Hope it’s helpful to someone.


    Hi Waverider. I’m newly diagnosed at age 64. My partner is in his 60s as well, and to be honest, our sex drive certainly isn’t what it was in our 30s!

    We have many of the same issues you mentioned, but we aren’t going the celibacy route. We haven’t had intercourse yet, but we plan to whenever I feel ready, and if I don’t he’s ok with that.

    My doctor has been very encouraging and she has encouraged us to get creative. Coconut oil is helpful for me in relieving any friction that may even occur with touch, also great for full body massages that include the “happy ending”, non penetrating toys, etc. We just relax with it and play around and explore. We decided life is too short not to enjoy fully, and we already had discussed that we knew our sex life was changing and would continue to change as we aged. This has accelerated that change, but after my initial upset, we are happy just feeling and being sexy with each other without defining exactly what “sex” is.

    Like you, sex isn’t the be all, end all for us at this stage of life. Our relationship is very deep and based on so much more.

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