[Question #5371] STD transmission with protected sex unprotected oral

21 months ago
I’m a female and my husband and I recently separated. About 5 days ago I had protected sex with an ex boyfriend (first sexual encounter in 14 years with someone other than my husband) We also kissed and he gave me oral sex. He says he doesn’t have any symptoms of anything in his mouth or his genitals and has never had symptoms of an std in his life. The only time he had irritation on his penis the doctor told him he sweats too much and caused by friction. He also says he has sex  with a mostly steady partner but unprotected. From time to time he also has unprotected sex with other women but he says not frequently.

Today my husband came by and wanted to have sex so I asked him to use a condom to avoid pregnancy but mainly because I wanted to protect him just in case. He then proceeded to put his fingers in my vagina then lick them and put them back in and licking them several times. Then he briefly put his mouth on my vagina before I pushed it away. 

I would like to know what is the risk for any STD transmission from my ex boyfriend to me and then from me to my husband. Both times we used a condom properly, so I’m worried about that as well as my ex-boyfriends saliva in my vagina and from kissing. or any contact from his skin that’s not covered by the condom.  Also, does the time that passed between encounters matter at all? 5 days. 

Thank you!
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
21 months ago
Welcome to the Forum. I'll be glad to provide some comments.  The life of a single women can carry some risks and it sounds as though you are doing things well.  You asked your ex BF about his risks and used a condom- good work.  In general, your risk for STIs sounds low.  Your ex-BF sounds rather low risk.  In general receipt of oral sex is a low risk event;  oral STIs are relatively uncommon and receipt of oral sex (cunnilingus) is very rarely associated with STI acquisition.  For vaginal exposures  condoms remain the most reliable means for STI prevent.

If either of your partners had an oral STI (they probably did not but I want to provide this information for you as general knowledge), the role of saliva in STI transmission is controversial.  Investigator in Australia have suggested that transmission of STIs in saliva is common, particularly among men who have other men as sex partners however this theory, which has been recently gotten a lot of attention in the media, is not widely accepted.   In fact, I have written a commentary in a widely read medical journal which will be published in the next month or so explaining the reasons why frequent STI transmission is saliva is unlikely.  

All of the exposures you describe were low risk and you are doing things to reduce your risk appropriately.  Having said that, you know that your ex-BF has at least one other regular sex partner and your husband, as well as new partners as you begin to date, may as well.  Thus my recommendation is for you to occasionally (once a year, more if you have more partners) get tested for the most common STIs (gonorrhea, chlamydia, trichomonas) to assure your sexual health.  This is more precautionary than anything else but it will help to keep you healthy (all STIs can occur asymptomatically).  In the meantime however, with regard to the events you describe above, I would not be concerned and do not see a need for immediate testing.  EWH 
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21 months ago
Thank you for your answer. I, like most people in these forums, I tend to over think and worry sick by the mere thought of getting an STI and passing it on to someone else. 

Is there a way to know how low the risk was for me of having contracted an STI from my ex-boyfriend (assuming he has one or more) after that single exposure? 

Would it be safe to have unprotected sex with my husband after the encounter with my ex-boyfriend? My husband doesn’t have other sexual partners besides me at this time so I’m trying to protect him. I also will not have sex with the ex-boyfriend again or any other partners besides my husband as there’s a possibility of us getting back together.

This situation is driving me nuts! 

Thank you Doctor

Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
21 months ago
Several comments:

First and foremost, it is not likely that your ex BF had an STI, most people do not.  Even if he did, most single unprotected exposures do not lead to infection.  If a condom is used, the likelihood of becoming infected by most STIs gets close to zero.  

As I said above, the only completely reliable way to make sure that you were not infected by your exBF is to be tested but considering the situation, it is far more likely than not that you were not infected and unprotected sex with your husband would NOT lead to transmission of infection to him.  I hope this information is helpful.  EWH
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21 months ago
Thank you again.

Last question to close the thread. Does my age (38) and ex BF age (40) puts me at higher or lower risk of contracting STI’s?
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
21 months ago
That's a great question.  As a generalization, the older we get (I'm older that you of your ex BF), the less risk there is that we have an STI or that partners of about the same age do.  Of course there are exceptions to that rule but its a pretty safe generalization.

As you point out, since this is your 3rd question, this will be the final response as part of this thread.  I hope my comments have been helpful to you.  Take care.  EWH
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