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Can vigorous sex cause a herpes outbreak?
Sometimes after rigorous sex my penis will be raw and have minor abrasions that take a few days to heal. I’ll often have an outbreak of herpes, as well. Is there a topical cream or healing balm I could use after rigorous sex to decrease the likelihood of having a herpes outbreak?
Terri Warren, MS, RN, ANP on August 26, 2011
Thanks for your question. It sounds like you’ve been monitoring your body well...while I can’t diagnose the symptoms you’re experiencing without an examination, I’ll try to help you understand what might be going on.
Can vigorous sex cause a herpes outbreak? Yes, for some people with herpes, sex is enough friction to cause a herpes outbreak to occur.
Lubrication can help reduce friction during rigorous sex...and might make herpes outbreaks less likely to happen.
Are you taking daily antiviral therapy? If not, I would encourage you to speak with your doctor about herpes treatment that reduces the frequency and duration of herpes outbreaks, as well as reduces the risk that you’ll pass the virus to an uninfected partner. As well, unless you’re in a mutually monogamous relationship in which you and your partner know each other’s STD status, I would encourage you to practice safer sex, including using latex condoms every time you have sex.
If you’re interested, you can learn more about herpes transmission, prevention and treatment in our Expert Guide to Herpes 1 + 2.
Hopefully this information has been helpful to you. I wish you good health!
Warren is a Nurse Practitioner and owner of Westover Heights Clinic in Oregon. She is a renown expert and author in the field of genital herpes research, diagnosis and treatment. Warren was educated at Oregon Health and Sciences University and the University of Portland.