Herpes is an STD, so generally sexual contact is how you get it. However, there are other scenario's.
Oral herpes can be spread by kissing. This includes just kissing a friend. If a person has oral herpes, they could conceivably spread it to their genitals by touching their mouth and then their genital area. It's not common, but it happens.
Herpes can also be spread through oral sex - someone with oral herpes could perform oral sex on you and give you genital herpes. Or if you performed oral sex on someone with genital herpes you could get oral herpes. If you are touching your partner but not engaging in sex, this could also transmit the virus, through your fingers.
It's POSSIBLE, although very rare, for the virus to be transmitted by using the same towel as an infected person. Be aware - the virus lives for less than 30 seconds outside the host. That time can be extended on a moist warm towel, but not by too much. So this is possible, but is rare.
You shouldn't ever share towels or wash cloths with other people. The longer you've had herpes in your system the less likely it is to cause autoinoculation (meaning spreading it to other parts of your own body). But if you've had it less than a year you should be careful not to spread it to other areas of your body because your body is still building antibodies to attack the virus. Don't be paranoid, but be careful.
thank you, I was diagnosed only 6 months ago and am paranoid about spreading it especially to my face. I dont share wash cloths with others in the house but I use to use the same one for 2 or 3 days before changing it. Now I use a fresh clean one every day and make sure that the genital region is the last area I wash so the cloth doesnt touch other parts of my body after its been in that region. I was just afraid that if I left it on the edge of the tub and someone else picked it up that they could transmit it to themselves. Im glad to know that wont happen.