[Question #4230] Mutual Masturbation

31 months ago
Please help me once and for all. I am so worried about the possibility of an STD from mutual masturbation with another male. Each others hands back and forth on our own and each others genitals. Is there any possibility of STD  infection? I guess my primary concern would be syphlis of herpes. Is it possible to get these or any other STD from this activity? Thank You.
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
31 months ago
Welcome back. However, I'll have to review your previous question(s) before answering, and the forum's search function by username isn't working properly, so please provide the number(s) of your previous thread(s), then I'll reply. Thanks.

HHH, MD
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31 months ago
Previous question was 3789
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
31 months ago
Great -- thanks! The forum's IT service tweaked the search system to improve it, but created this particular problem, i.e. an inability to easily search by username. And as you might imagine, common usernames (John, Frank, Bill) are the biggest problem.

So your last question was about oral sex. My reply in regard to hand-genital contact, i.e. mutual masturbation, fingerings, etc, is the same -- in fact, even lower risk than oral. In theory those infections transmitted skin to skin (primarily herpes, syphilis, and HPV) could be transmitted by such contact, especially if genital fluids are used for lubrication. But in practice it doesn't seem to happen. At least we know that even the busiest STD clinics never have patients with these infections whose only potential exposure was hand-genital contact. Same for STDs transmitted by fluids (HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia, etc).

So on the basis of this exposure, i see no need for worry or for testing. Let me know if anything isn't clear.

HHH, MD
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31 months ago
Thank You Dr. Handsfield, Your knowledge is most reassuring.  I have decided that mutual masturbation will be my only form of sex. I just want to be sure that I am safe. I guess my biggest concern that always worries me is syphlis. I am hoping you can provide me with some general knowledge about this subject. 4 days ago I developed what looks almost like a very small pimple. It is just below where the circumcised foreskin folds are. I actually felt it with my hand while showering before I saw it. It felt kind of hard. It has not really changed in appearance or feel in 4 days. It has now been 12 days since my mutual masturbation episode. How long does it take a syphilis chancre to develop. Does it start out as something very small and grow over a period of hours or days or longer or is it something that just appears all of a sudden as a chancre? What does it look like when it starts,I would just like to know if it is something that starts out small and grows over a period of time if so how long does it take to fully develop. Another question how many days after exposure until a chancre would develop. Also if it hadn't developed by how many days would you say it won't happen. If someone had one how noticible is it? I guess part of my fear is that there was an article in the local newspaper about in increase in syphilis cases in my county and from all I've read it is mostly with MSM. If that is the case what is the mode of transmission? Am I safe if I only practice mutual masturbation. Still no need for any testing?

Thank You so much



H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
31 months ago
As long as mutual masturbation is your only kind of sexual activity, you will not be at risk for syphilis. Any and all symptoms you find in the genital area you can assume will not be due to syphilis. Typical syphilis chancres appear 10-20 days after exposure, start as a painless red bump and within a few days open into a painless ulcer. Usually there are inflamed lymph nodes in the groin. Any other kind of genital sore can safely be assumed to not be syphilis. Syphilis can occur without a noticeable chancre, but that mostly occurs because of exposure of an internal site, like inside the vagina, rectum, or mouth. The main mode of transmission in MSM is anal sex, sometimes oral sex -- but never mutual masturbation. Since you won't be having oral or anal sex, hidden chancre is not anything to be concerned about. However, if you would like still additional reassurance about syphlis, I would suggest you have a syphilis blood test once a year. You can expect negative results. ---