[Question #7242] STI anxiety

7 months ago
I'm in a monogamous relationship for about 2 years now. No penetrative sex but unprotected oral and rubbing/grinding where fluids are exchanged.

8/23 - went to massage parlor, masseuse put condom on me, 2 minutes of oral and 2 minutes of penetrative sex. she removed condom so I cannot confirm if it was in tact.
8/25 - engage in normal non-penetrative (oral/rubbing) sex with girlfriend
8/27 - notice a large lump around the size of a quarter in the fold between my left thigh and groin. Ive had this type of swelling before, went away in about a week (not sure if lymph node), usually seems like a blood filled sack that is swelling up (sigh of infection?) that either bursts or subsides eventually
8/29 - I start feeling ill, like a cold is coming on, dripping throat and foggy head.
8/31 - girlfriend also starts feeling ill, headaches and nausea, especially in the morning or after eating
9/1 - i develop a pretty constant tingling at urethra, sometimes it moves to right testicle area, other times to right side of abdomen, this persists all week, my meatus looks more red/purple than normal (but im also looking at it more because of anxiety), no noticeable discharge or painful urination

ive had really bad anxiety all week, and as of today im feeling slightly better (drank lots of cranberry juice), but still some tingling in urethra and testicle pains. it kind of seems to flare up the more worried I get, but the lump in my groin and cold symptoms make me feel like my body is trying to fight something off

if the condom did not break at the massage parlor, it sounds like the risk of gon/chlam/etc is pretty low, and without any visible sores it seems like herpes is unlikely, but im still worried that the fact we're both not feeling well is more than coincidence

how concerned i should be about a possible STI? ive ordered an test-at-home kit that im going to try to send in and am just praying my gf doesnt develop any std-like symptoms
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
7 months ago
Welcome to the forum. Thanks for your question and your confidence in our services.

You really needn't be worried about all this. You had an entirely safe sexual exposure, with little or no risk of transmitting any STI; and none of your symptoms suggest an STI. It sounds like you caught a garden variety cold, which you may now be sharing with your girlfriend. The timing is consistent with the possibility you caught the cold from the massage event, but that doesn't count as an STI.

I can't say the cause of the groin lump you describe, but a) it doesn't sound like an STI symptoms; and b) you've had it before, indicating it had nothing to do with the massage events. As for your penile tingling and your concern about the appearance of your meatus, these are very typical symptoms of genitally focused anxiety -- magnifying trivial symptoms or normal body sensations that wouldn't bother you (or perhaps not even noticed) except for your worries about the sexual event and STI risk.

Could the condom have broken? You were there and I wasn't -- but almost certainly it would have been very obvious. And you're right that even without a condom, you were at little STI risk.

Home self testing kits are fine if they collect blood for syphilis and HIV testing, and if urine or urethral swab are sent to a lab. However, still less accurate than in-person testing by an experienced physician. On the other hand, there's really no point, since there's no chance you're infected. If anything is positive, it won't be from the massage event described. Instead, it would almost certainly mean your girlfriend is infected and the source of your own infection. And by the way, please do not have blood tests for anything else:  no testing for HSV, viral hepatitis, etc. 

All things considered, I think you can just drop all this. From a personal perspective, if somehow I were in your situation, I would not be tested, would ignore symptoms like yours, and would continue unprotected sex with my wife without worry.

I hope these comments are helpful. Let me know if anything isn't clear.

HHH, MD
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7 months ago
Tests came back and everything was negative.

A big thank you to the doctors on this site. I'm sure there is an immense amount of anxiety eliminated by the information you provide here (for free) as well as the very fairly priced interaction with you directly. After having read through hundreds of these posts you should all be commended for your patience with all of us. Thank you.
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
7 months ago
Thanks for these very kind comments. I'm glad to have helped. That's why we're here.---