A friend shared that she was too naive after her decades-long marriage ended. She was clueless about not only how to be with men other than her now-ex-husband, but about how she could be harmed while she learned.
Soon after her divorce, she started dating a successful man and they had regular make-out sessions. One day, he said he had a cold sore on his lip. Her mother had always referred to canker sores as cold sores, so she didn’t know the difference or think anything about it.
A few weeks later, she got a cold and was constantly blowing her nose. She felt an odd tingling under her nose which blistered and festered. She’d never had anything like this so had no idea what it was. But she was too busy to go to the doctor, so she covered it the best she could with makeup.
Months later it happened again. It seemed to be related to colds, so she finally asked her doctor. She was horrified to learn it was herpes simplex virus. While the doctor said 50%-80% of adults carry the virus, many never get the sores. So she could have already had the virus in her system — or she could have received it from her then-beau.
I’ve heard many midlife daters say they don’t use condoms because they trust their partner. They don’t insist on an STD test before going condom-free. Some say, “I’m not dating a drug addict.” But today I heard a report that said 25% of those infected with HIV don’t know it.
So am I saying no kissing while dating? Kissing is a fun part of dating. But my friend has now vowed to slow down physical contact that can carry surprises. While you can insist on having STD tests before getting intimate, it would be awkward to ask if your date ever gets cold sores.
If cold sores aren’t part of your history, investigate what to look for in an outbreak in others so you can make sure to not touch the infected area. And the virus can become genital herpes through physical contact, so no matter how tempting, best to lay off any kissing or intimacy while one of you has an outbreak.
Want to know more about things you may not have known to ask? Download your copy of From Fear to Frolic: Get Naked Without Getting Embarrassed