[Question #3677] Penis rubbing anus - risk assessment

35 months ago
Hello, doctors. Thank you for taking my question. 

I am a married man who went outside my marriage with the exposure of another woman, that I'm very ashamed of. 

The exposure can be described as thus: I oiled the woman’s butt and anus and then grinded/rubbed my erect, bare penis on her buttcrack and my penis head on her anus. I also fingered her vagina and anus and then touched my penis and penis head. There was no penetration whatsoever. My penis shaft and penis head only rubbed her buttcrack and anus, not vagina. 

I have since had unprotected sex with my wife, believing that the exposure I had with the other woman was safe sex with zero risk of STIs. I've always prided myself on safe sex. But now I’m doubting myself and am worried that I have infected my wife with this awful exposure that I wish I could take back. 

Was I at risk, particularly for gonorrhoea, chlamydia, and herpes? I’m not concerned with HPV as I know that statistically we probably all have that virus. I also know that I was not at risk for HIV since there was no penetration. 

What is my risk? Have I potentially infected my wife and ruined both our lives? The guilt and anxiety is overwhelming. Or should I just forget this whole thing ever happened and move on with my life? 

It’s been 7 seven days since the exposure. No noticeable symptoms. Can I consider myself "in the clear", so to speak.

Thank you, doctors, for your expert advice. I could really use some peace of mind. 
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
35 months ago
Welcome to our Forum.  I'll be glad to comment and hopefully will be able to put your concerns to rest.  The activities that you describe did not put you at risk for any STI.  Rubbing your penis in the manner you describe (technically called "frottage") is a form or masturbation and like other forms of masturbation, does not lead to STI transmission.  Further STIs are not transferred on a person's hands when they first masturbate a partner and then touch their own genitals- any transfer of genital secretions that occurs in this way will not lead to infection.

Given the nature of your exposures and the absence of symptoms 10 days afterwards, I would not worry further and would move forward without concern.  There is no need for testing as well- you are in the clear.

I hope this comment is helpful.  EWH
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35 months ago
Hi Dr Hook,

Thanks for your reassurance. 

Would you be able to explain to me why this activity is not effective for transmitting clamydia or gonorrhea? The head of my penis, including the urethra did rub against her anus but did not go inside.  If the bacteria was on her anus, could it this transmit the bacteria? 

Likewise, why is this not an effective means for transmitting herpes? I didn’t see any lesions or sores on her but what about viral shedding? Recently just saw your talk on reconceptualizing herpes you gave in 2015 and it showed a herpes sore on the buttocks and it gave me a scare. 

Or am I just overthinking this and the exposure I had was truly a no-risk exposure. They call them STIs because you need to sex (penetration) to happen. 

Would you only recommend testing for unprotected vagina, anal or oral sex (penetration)? 

The clarification would be appreciated. Thanks, Doctor. 
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
35 months ago
Gonorrhea and chlamydia live on the inside of the female genial tract and rectum, not in the outside.  Thus if there is no penetration, there is no risk for infection.

Herpes transmission typically occurs following direct contact with lesions.   If you acquired any of these STIs, it is more likely than not that you would develop symptoms. 

I see no need for testing and no medical need for testing.  EWH
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35 months ago
Hi Doctor Hook,

Just one last question to hopefully put my fears to rest. 

1. Does your assessment change given that my penis head and urethra rubbed her anus (but did not go in!)? Aren’t these mucusal surfaces and suscepible to chlamydia and gonorrhea? I’m also uncircumcised—does that increase the risk? 

2. Just to confirm—no need for testing or abstaining from unprotected sex with my wife? I think I might test for peace of mind, but do you fully expect these tests to be negative? 

3. I’ve had chlamydia before. This was with an unprotected vaginal sex. Does having an STI before increase the risk? And also, if I get tested for chlamydia after already having it, will the test show that I’m still positive? 

Thanks Doctor Hook. I appreciate your last answer here. 
35 months ago
Also, Doctor, when is the best time to test for STIs? Thank you! 
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
35 months ago
Thanks for your thanks.  I'm glad our Forum has been helpful to you.

1. Does your assessment change given that my penis head and urethra rubbed her anus (but did not go in!)? Aren’t these mucusal surfaces and suscepible to chlamydia and gonorrhea? I’m also uncircumcised—does that increase the risk? 
No change in my assessment. Without penetration, you are not at risk.

2. Just to confirm—no need for testing or abstaining from unprotected sex with my wife? I think I might test for peace of mind, but do you fully expect these tests to be negative? 
Correct, no need for testing or sexual abstinence from contract with your wife related to the events you have described. 

3. I’ve had chlamydia before. This was with an unprotected vaginal sex. Does having an STI before increase the risk? And also, if I get tested for chlamydia after already having it, will the test show that I’m still positive? 
No, there is no biological increase in risk associated with previous chlamydia (or other STI) infection.  Tests of urine or swab tests for chalmydia should be negative following successful treatment. Currently recommended treatments are more than 97% effective for cure.

I hope my answers have been helpful.  As you probably know, we provide up to 3 responses to each client's questions. This is my 3rd response and therefore this thread will be closed later today.  EWH
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