[Question #7729] Chronic issue after sexual encounter with sex worker

21 days ago
Around March of last year I had an encounter at a massage parlor with what you could describe as a sex worker. Around this time I was lonely and occasionally going to these locations. This location they were offering more and I had always been careful, remaining protected. I used a condom but after the encounter realized that I had used a Bareskins type of Trojan condom. She had felated my penis with the condom on before we got on the ground and had sex. It didn't last very long but shortly after the encounter I remember feeling a numbness in the upper half of the shaft of my penis as well as generalized discomfort in that region. No actual pain. As I went home I got increasingly nervous as this spread into my testicles and even down into my urethra, as well as into the paraneum. I recall having some other vague non-sexual symptoms around this time, but shortly afterwards feeling numbness in my penis, shrinking of the testicles, redness and discoloring of the scrotum, and lowered sexual function in general. Since the encounter, I've had three STD tests and no sexual encounters with anyone else since then. The tests only show antibodies for HSV 1, something I recall having before this encounter. I don't know if my symptoms sound like herpes, or a UTI, but they have not fully subsided, and I would say they are only half as bad as the original encounter. I'm trying to find answers to both what I have and how I can get rid of these symptoms. Any insight would greatly help.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
20 days ago
Welcome to our Forum.  Thanks for your question.  I'll do my best to help.  The symptoms you describe (localized genital numbness (or tingling) and redness with the onset shortly after an encounter with a commercial sex worker are not typical of any STI. They are suggestive of two very different processes which I'll describe and then see if one. the other or both might be operative.

First possibility. The onset of tingling and the local redness soon (within hours I presume) of a sexual encounter are occurring too quickly to represent an STI (for STIs to have symptoms the microbes need to multiple and the infection move forward to cause symptoms.  Symptoms for most STIs typically take at least 2-3 days following exposure to begin).  OTOH, sometimes a local reaction to the material the condom is made of, a lubricant or other chemical encountered during contact can certainly cause these sorts of symptoms.  These symptoms however tend to go away in no longer than just a few days.

The second possibility is that following some sort of local irritation of the sort you describe, you began to look for symptoms and pay attention to genital sensations which otherwise you would not notice of overlook.  We encounter this a lot- there are many sensations that we normally ignore, such as the feeling of a watch on your wrist or where a piece of clothing touches your skin but when we have our attention called to them, feel like numbness or tingling.  

Perhaps one of these things is going on.  Condom protected sex is is typically safe sex.  Your tests prove that you have not acquired any of the STIs you have tested for. Perhaps this explanation is helpful.  EWH