[Question #7176] Frottage risk

6 months ago
Hello Doctor, I have made a terrible mistake. I am in a relationship with a woman, but I stupidly engaged in mutual masturbation with another man about 8 days ago. The part I am most worried about is a roughly 5-10 second period in which he rubbed the front of his penis against the front of my penis. I did not see any blemishes or lesions on his penis. I showered immediately afterward, although I doubt that counts for much.  I have read this could have possibly exposed me to HPV or Herpes. I have not noticed anything unusual on my penis since the event happened 8 days ago, but I remain scared that I could have acquired HPV and could now pass it along to my girlfriend. How likely do you think this is?
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
6 months ago

Welcome to our Forum and thanks for your questions.  I'll be glad to comment.  As you know, frottage of the sort you describe is a low risk masturbation event for most STIs.  The only STIs which theoretically might be transmitted in this way are cutaneous STIs such as HPV or HSV and while there is a theoretical risk for such transmission, realistically the risk is vanishingly rare for different reasons.  In terms of both these STIs, the brief duration of your exposure make transmission unlikely, in addition, the biological transmission of HSV in this way is extraordinarily rare.  You do not know that your partner had herpes and even if he did, there is a greater than 99.9% likelihood that you would acquire infection.  It simply is not something to worry about.

As for HPV, transmission is also unlikely.  In part because there is a substantial likelihood that you already have HPV, as do more than 80% of sexually active persons.  Further, once again, the brief duration of exposure as well as the nature of the contact makes acquisition of infection most unlikely.,

In over 40 years of STI-focused practice I have never seen either HSV or HPV transmitted in this way and I am confident that you are not going to be the first.  I would not worry about it.   I hope that this reassurance is helpful. EWH


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6 months ago
Hi Dr. Hook, Thank you for your response. It has been reassuring to me, but unfortunately my anxiety is quite persistent. I am not sure, but I think I have found a bump that was not previously on my penis. I have read wildly different estimates on the incubation period for HPV.  I have also read there are more than 100 strains, so I don’t imagine any strains I may have acquired during my dating years (5-15 years ago) would necessarily make me immune to all of them? I have also read there are no real HPV tests for men. If I were to try to gather more information on this matter, would I go to Planned Parenthood, primary care doctor or a dermatologist? Or maybe this is all an over-reaction? I would hate to have my girlfriend come back with HPV on her pap and have to explain this incident to her. 
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
6 months ago

Thanks for the follow-up.  No change in my assessment.  An HPV infection acquired would not cause a visible wart in 2-3 weeks;  typically for warts to appear takes several months, on average about three.  You are correct that there are more than 100 strains of HPV and infection with one type would not result in immunity to others.  Nearly all sexually active persons will acquire HPV at some time in life and you may well have HPV but the lesion you have seen is not due to HPV acquired in the interaction you have described.  if this is a wart it has been there for some time and was unnoticed until you began to scrutinize your genitalia more closely than ever before due to your concerns.  The most certain approach to diagnosis would be to see a dermatologist with PPH being the 2nd choice. 


Hope this comment is helpful. EWH

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6 months ago
Hi Dr. Hook, It’s me again. You were right that the blemish on my penis was just a skin mutation, according to the nurse at the STD clinic. When trying to determine my syphillis risk, he asked me if I have had any burning or irritation. I said that I had but I wasn’t sure if it was just in my head (I’m very anxious about this matter). He said “Oh you would know.” The irritation, not necessarily while peeing, feels more like a sensitivity but maybe a slight burning. I had wondered if my penis could be sensitive from unlubricated sex with my girlfriend. Anyways, now I am noticing a feeling as if there is a leak coming from my penis. There doesn’t appear to be any kind of discharge, at least not the smelly one they warn about. The guy who I engaged with the mutual masturbation and frontage with swears up and down he does not have any indication of syphilis, heroes or any other STD’s. Also I believe that a fungus that I have elsewhere on my body has possibly made its way to my penis. Not sure if that is related or not. Anyways I would love any insight you might have on this matter, as well as advising if this is a matter for a primary care doctor, std clinic or a urologist. Thank you!
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
6 months ago
I’m sorry to hear that you continue to worry about the encounter you described. My assessment and my advice is unchanged. The vague  symptoms that you were describing are almost certainly not those of an STI and most likely are a manifestation of the increased scrutiny that you are applying in looking for any signs and symptoms of an STI. This will lead you to detect otherwise normal sensations that you would be overlooking.  The symptoms you describe are certainly not suggestive of Syphilis in the least.  

I doubt that you need to see another healthcare provider of any sort. If you feel you must I would see your primary care provider or STI specialist.  What does need to happen is that you need to find a way to move forward from the anxiety and guilt that you are having over the encounter that you now regret. 

As you know, we provide up to three responses to each clients questions. This is my third reply. Therefore this thread will be closed shortly. I wish you the best. EWH
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