Sexual Health Q&A

How might genital warts affect a person’s sex life?

Genital warts can be a source of depression and anxiety, which can take a toll on sexual health.

Many people with genital warts feel embarrassed or ashamed. They may worry about spreading the infection to a partner. If in a new relationship, they may worry about telling a partner about their condition and fear rejection. They may wonder whether genital warts will return after treatment. This is possible if the infection is still in the body.

With all of these concerns, it’s common for people with genital warts to feel anxious about having sex. Some may avoid sexual activity altogether, which may lead to depression, loneliness, and a loss of intimacy with a partner. In turn, sex drive may decrease. Or, a person may not be able to relax enough to enjoy sex.

People who suspect they have genital warts should see a doctor for treatment. A doctor can also give advice on safe sexual practices and how to handle future outbreaks.

Patients should tell their partners about a genital warts diagnosis. Partners should then be checked by a doctor.