[Question #4658] Risk of penis head touching vaginal secretions

30 months ago

Hello Doctor,

I am married and last weekend I stupidly ended up back at a female ex-work colleagues house whilst drunk. We were both naked from the waist down (I.e. Completely exposed genitals) but no sex took place - vaginal, oral or otherwise.

I am uncircumcised and my concern is if there was any STI risk if the head of my erect penis, and therefore meatus, would have come into direct contact with vaginal secretions on the outside of her wet vagina for a prolonged period when I was laying on top of her and kissing etc. 

I assumed that this was a no risk event for stis like ghonnoreh, chlamydia and mycoplasma genitaliam but having read that it is in fact secretions that transmit these infections I am confused as to why there would be a difference between actual penetration and coming into direct contact with secretions on the outside of the vagina.

It would be appreciated if you can confirm that any risk would be theoretical only and that I m see to continue unprotected sex with my wife without need for testing.

Thank you


Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
30 months ago
Welcome to the Forum.  I'll be glad to confirm your impression and to verify that without penetration there is no risk for acquisition of STIs such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, trichomonas, Mycoplasma genitalium, of HIV from no-penetrative contact such as frottage (which you engaged in) or mutual masturbation.  This is the case despite the fact that in such activities it is usual to have contact with a partner's genital secretions.   

I hesitate to mention it as all too often, when I say this it sets of storms of anxiety and worry, but there is a theoretical risk for acquisition of so-called lesion diseases such as syphilis or herpes but I emphasize that this risk is theoretical and not something to worry about.

From your description, there is no need for testing of any sort and no need to abstain from unprotected sexual contact with your wife.

I hope this comment is helpful.  EWH
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30 months ago

Thanks Doctor that’s very helpful. My final follow up questions if I may:

1) I’ve read about ‘apposition’ - are frottage and apposition the same thing?

2) I’m scared that my penis may have entered her for a couple of seconds without me knowing if i was laying on top of her and and she was particularly wet etc. 

Is the kind of penetration needed for sti transmission the sort of transmission you would feel and know about?

3) Finally, just to be 100% sure I don’t have anything I will check for symptoms but I am confused as to what Symptoms would be for NSU. I am concerned that if I looked in my underwear I may see staining from normal secretions that I could mistake for abnormal. 

Is the discharge / pus caused by NSU the type of secretion you would obviously feel seeping out of your penis and I imagine you would feel damp pants?

I don’t want to test for NSU without obvious symptoms in case they find heightened white cells as I understand this can be the case in uninfected people so I don’t want to run the risk of setting any hares racing.

Thanks Doctor 







Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
30 months ago
1. Apposition and frottage are essentially the same thing.  There may be more friction with frottage but essentially both are non-penetrative, no risk activities.
2.  I think you anxiety is getting best of your.  If you penetrated her, you would have known it.
3.  With NSU you would have either discernable burning (which might be mild) on urination or an obvious discharge.

Try not to overthink this.  Your partner was low risk and your encounter was essentially no risk.  EWH
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