[Question #1307] STD transmission, anxiety

47 months ago
I just want some clarificAtion because it's eating me inside.  2 months ago, I got super drunk and I met some guy who I didn't know at some bar. Things got heated between us two and took his penis out, stroked his penis and then fingered me. He stuck his fingers up my vagina. He did the same thing a couple times before I made him stop and left. I have read multiple questions and answers on this page saying that hand to genital contact is no risk even if there are secretions. It makes sense that it is NO risk because stds don't live on your hands. And once they're expose to air it makes sense that they die? They live on mucous membrane, right? but websites also say otherwise that it's a risky activity. 

 Unfortunately I am married and I feel horrible about what happened. I just really want to know if this incident is actually a no risk incident and if I can continue having regular sex with my husband.  We were both virgins when we married each other and I would hate to have given him something over a stupid mistake :( this guilt is eating me inside.  Should I stop worrying about it and move on? I feel horrible :(  please help and explain. 
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
47 months ago
Welcome to the forum. Thanks for your confidence in our services.

Thanks for reviewing the forum for similar questions before asking your own. You correctly understand what you have found:  STDs are rarely if ever transmitted by hand-genital contact, fingering, etc. However, I would encourage you to pretty much ignore the biological reasons. Whether or not STD bacteria and viruses die or become non-infectious on exposure to air really doesn't matter. The important issue is that even the busiest STD clinics never see infected persons whose only exposure was fingering, mutual masturbation, and so on. So I definitely would classify this as a no risk incident, and you can safely continue sex with your husband.

Do your best to separate your shame and guilt over a sexual decision you regret from the infection risks. They aren't the same. Deal with the former as you need to (maybe even discussing with your husband? or a close female friend?), but infection risk is really not a serious issue and should not be a cause of worry.

I hope this has helped. Let me know if anything isn't clear.

HHH, MD

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47 months ago
Thank you doctor for your great response. Sometimes guilt and shame can cause thoughts that are irrational.  I've always been a hypochondriac. I feel like I can find anything on the internet that will back up my irrational thoughts.  That's why I came here to get a clear response from someone who studies STDS and has years of experience. 

I will accept that what I did was a no risk activity and move on. I had even talked to my gynecologist and she told me the same thing-without penetration ( sometimes oral) there can be no STDS. 

Thank you so much again. I will be moving on and probably talking to my husband and behaving when I'm out. 


H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
47 months ago
I'm glad to hear your gynecologist agrees with me. I love your comment about finding anything on the internet. Nate Silver, the famous statistics expert who runs FiveThirtyEight.com, wrote a book ("The Signal and the Noise"), which includes (approximate quote) "Give an anxious person a dark room and an internet connection, and soon he'll be mistaking his cold for the bubonic plague." The point is that anyone can post anything, and anxious or frightened persons tend to find information that reinforces their fears. You can limit the risk by sticking with professionally run or moderated websites and ignoring those run primarily by or for people with particular health problems. Or just lay off internet searching entirely.

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47 months ago
Staying off the internet is probably best for me. No need to fuel my anxiety! 

Thanks again for the peace of mind. I can finally move past this zero risk situation I got myself in. I hope this thread helps someone else in the future. Your words are truly reassuring. This is one of the better ways i have spent 25 dollars. Have a great weekend. 
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
46 months ago
Thanks for the kind words; that's why we're here. Best wishes and stay safe!

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