Dating can be hard in the first place, so when you approach dating with an STI, things can be even more challenging. It’s one of those things you have to tell your partner, but there never really seems like a good time for it. In fact, the idea of getting over the barrier of breaking down your own walls and sharing something so sensitive, not to mention something that inevitably comes with a backstory, may be so scary at times it makes dating seem not worth it or impossible. (But don’t worry, neither are true.)
As much as we live in a world where endless knowledge is at our fingertips, we’re still lacking widespread knowledge about herpes and other STIs like chlamydia and gonorrhea. To those who don’t understand the incurable but highly preventable herpes virus, the idea of dating someone with herpes may seem like a no-brainer hard no, when really there’s a lot more to it than you were taught in your high school sex ed class.
For whatever reason, our society still attaches a lot of shame (undoubtedly stemming from ignorance) about herpes and those with the virus. First of all, HVS is more common than you probably think, and it’s estimated that about half of the population has HSV-1, or what is widely understood as oral herpes which is more often spread just from oral contact. Beyond that, about one out of every six people age 14 to 49 have HSV-2, the latter which usually falls into the ‘traditional’ category of a STD and is more often spread by more intimate sexual activities.
More important than how widespread the virus is, is the lifestyle that comes along with it. For the record, just because someone has herpes does not mean he or she cannot date or that they are tarnished in some way. All too frequently, STIs are spread during an individual's first sexual encounter or simply because a past partner was not honest about their condition. And despite what outdated stigma our society holds all too often holds, having herpes in no way signifies the infected individual was or us dirty or promiscuous. Think about do. Do you think an STI-positive person tried to get infected? Probably not…
Dating with herpes may require more communication, self-restraint, and creative intimacy, but it’s far from impossible. If you have HSV-2, you probably know some of the best practices when it comes to dating: Be honest and tell your partner about the virus, but at an appropriate time. It shouldn’t be the first sentence that comes out of your mouth, but it also shouldn’t be the last before you jump into bed, when passions can overtake otherwise rational thinking. On the topic of rational, if you are infected, the infection alone is no reason to lower your dating standards or think of yourself as unworthy of a caring partner, physical touch and pleasure, or a loving relationship.
Luckily, the Internet breaks down some of the self and society-imposed barriers that come along with dating with herpes, providing a transparent medium to interact and get to know others without so much worry about ignorant judgment or responses. When you discover the world of online dating for people with herpes, you’ll find that the comfort and security of being behind a screen allows you to more easily open up about your specific condition, and be upfront and blunt more effortlessly than you are likely to be in person. The virus becomes less important and who you are as an individual, you know, your personal, quirks, likes and dislikes, are elevated.
These sites provide a communal feeling, and just being on them may do wonders to increase your confidence in offline dating as well. Most importantly, niche sites designed for people with herpes streamline the process of getting over the STD-talk road bump and allow you to make real, fun, and meaningful connections with others, all while remaining both safe and honest. When it comes down to it, if you have the virus, there’s really no reason not to explore such sites. So go ahead and save yourself some time in your dating life as you read on to discover the best dating sites for people with herpes.
Debatably the most well-known dating site for people with STDs, Positive Singles has an impressive 1.5 million membership base and counting. The dating site may be so attractive to individuals because it focuses on matching you not just based on your medical condition, but based on other, more standard compatibility factors such as your interests, lifestyle preferences, and even star sign. Beyond the non-bias matching system, Positive Singles has a host of other features some casual hookup site.
Positive Singles provides both transparency and privacy, with highlights such as the ability to see who has viewed your profile, the option to browse anonymously, detailed privacy settings that allow you to hide your profile based on a specific set of rules you create, a setting to hide areas of your profile (including the type of STD you have), and even the option to require a special password to open the app on your mobile phone. It also goes above and beyond to provides an immersive online dating experience complete with a 15-question profile section listing your answers as well as the answers you’d like your match to have, profile verification options, a Tinder-style Let’s Meet swiping section, and even free one-on-one dating advisors — which usually alone cost more than any standard dating site membership. While it doesn’t constantly remind you that you are on a niche dating site (in a good way), it does provide some helpful resources and support including a care location directory, Q&A section, forums, and more.
Learn more at Positive Singles
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MPwH, which stands for ‘Meet People With Herpes’ claims to be the original dating site for people with the virus. The inviting site is available for members with all sorts of relationships statuses, including those who are married and in a committed relationship, but is restricted to people only with HSV-1 or HSV-2, which narrows the playing field a bit. Profiles do list what type of the the virus you have, but it’s only a small field amongst over 25 other profile fields, which include multiple choice and open ended questions. There’s a reassuring profile verification option, along with a handful of privacy settings you can customize to your liking.
The herpes-only dating site feels and works much more like a traditional dating site, than any sort of niche dating site, as it’s filled with an abundance of features that allow your personality to dominate your online presence. Features such as video introductions and private albums allow you to make your experience on the site truly unique. You can sign up for a free membership and use about half of the features on the site, or upgrade to a paid membership to unlock over 30 additional features. Some of what the site categories as unique features include a my activity section, which is basically a live feed of member activity, and a Let’s Meet area which is essentially a Tinder-like swiping option that allows you to browse more profiles in less time. The site can be used with a free profile, but if you want to really get detailed in your searching or see others’ interest in you, such as who liked your profile, the upgraded membership is worth the price tag.
Learn more at MPwH
H-Mates is dedicating to connecting people with STDs for anything from friendships and pen pal encounters to serious dating and marriage. The site has a rather detailed signup form that looks much like one from its founding date of 2004, and clean and simple, if not a little too simplistic layout. It has all the features of a basic dating site and operates just like one. There isn’t a ton going on behind the scenes here, but rather H-Mates provides more of a supportive online community, one in which real connections can be formed. The site is not solely dedicated to people with herpes, but there is a profile field that lets you select the types members you are looking to meet based on the type of STD(s) they have.
The options for self expression are impressive, with the ability to upload an unlimited number of profile pictures and even add a video introduction. Mostly you’ll browse and search to discover others but there are a few matchmaking features available after completing a compatibility test or other types of questionnaires. You get all the typical online dating ways of interacting, and even some rather unique ones such as sending virtual kisses, along with a legitimate amount of privacy features including anti-spam filters and the ability to moderate who views your profile. The niche site doesn’t have the most modern interface or advanced matching algorithm but it is 100% free to use, which is a plus. Going along with the ‘supportive’ theme of the site, H-Mates does accept donations, which give you access to premium features, but doesn’t have a paid membership per se, which somewhat equals the playing field for all members.
Learn more at H-Mates