When we think of STDs, we usually assume that we can only contract or spread them through P-in-V penetrative sex. However, before you start rolling around naked with your next flavor of the month thinking you’re totally safe, be aware that you can absolutely contract certain infections without having intercourse and, as a woman, the results can be devastating if they’re not treated in time.
Herpes There are two types of herpes you should be aware of: oral herpes (HSV-1) and genital herpes (HSV-2). If you kiss someone with HSV-1, even if a blister isn’t present, the infection can be transmitted. If you kiss someone who has an open herpes sore on or in their mouth (although I don’t know why you would), you can’t really be surprised when you end up with it. But before you start thinking oral herpes isn’t a big deal, you should also know that HSV-1 can be spread to the genitals through oral sex, therefore resulting HSV-2. Genital herpes can also be transmitted without intercourse. If your partner has an outbreak and you’re naked and rolling around together, engaging in what’s called “outercourse,” then yes, you’re putting yourself in the line of herpes fire. While herpes outbreaks can be controlled with medication, the infection itself never goes away, so you if you have it, you get to tell every sexual partner for the rest of your life that you have herpes – at least you should if you’re going to be a responsible sexually active person.
HPV Although it’s estimated that 75% of people have HPV and it often clears up on its own, you still want to be diligent and avoid getting it if you can because certain strains of it can be cancerous. Also, there are a couple of strains that result in genital warts, which are no fun. Similar to herpes, all you need is genital-to-genital contact (no intercourse) to spread HPV. It can also be transmitted through oral sex.
Chlamydia Although chlamydia is most commonly transmitted through intercourse, it can also be transmitted through oral sex and genital contact if your partner is male and the infected one. What I mean by this is that while many STDs need some sort of sexual fluid to carry the virus, chlamydia doesn’t fall into this category, meaning that even if your partner doesn’t ejaculate, you can still be exposed to it through contact or the ever popular “just the tip.”
Gonorrhea Similar to chlamydia, gonorrhea can also sometimes be transmitted via oral sex. This is most especially a concern if you’re on the receiving end of a blowjob as gonorrhea, unlike chlamydia, has to hitch a ride in sexual fluids. While a woman can pass it to a man via oral sex, it’s far less likely due to the anatomy of the human body.
Trichomoniasis Unfortunately, when it comes to STDs, trichomoniasis doesn’t usually come up on the list and that sucks because it can very easily be transmitted. Also known as “trich,” this particular STD is a parasite that just loves to make its home in the genitals. While it’s the most curable STD, according to the Center for Disease Control, only 30% of those who are infected show signs. So yes, you could be walking around with it right now and not even know. But because it’s a parasite, trich can pretty much go wherever it pleases. For example, if you give your partner a handjob, then go home and masturbate with the same hand, you can transmit it – and it’s not like you can just wash teeny, tiny bloodsucking parasites away. It can only be killed with medication.
Hepatitis B Of the three strains of hepatitis, the one to be aware of is hep B. For starters, hepatitis A is usually contracted through fecal matter, so if you’re not into anal-to-mouth sex and don’t spend a lot of time in underdeveloped countries where cooks don’t always wash their hands after they go to the bathroom, you don’t have to worry. Hepatitis C, although uncommon, is transmitted via intercourse, so it doesn’t fall into the “no sex” STD bracket. Hep B, on the other hand, isn’t just transmitted through sexual fluids but through blood too. This means if your partner has hep B and you decide to use their razor, with which they had nicked themselves causing bleeding, you’re opening up yourself to the possibility of contracting the STD. Same goes if your partner has an open wound, say from shaving their pubic hair (pubic hair removal makes STD transmission far easier FYI). Oral sex, especially if your partner is male, can transmit it as well.
Syphilis The most common way to get syphilis is through the sores of someone who has it. While intercourse is definitely the most common way to contract syphilis, because these sores can be in and around the mouth, it can possibly be transmitted through oral sex too.
Crabs Because having one parasite on the list wasn’t enough, let’s take a look at crabs, or as your gynecologist might call them, pubic lice. Crabs is another STD that doesn’t need intercourse to spread its wings and fly. All it needs is some contact, like outercourse, and you can be infected. In rare cases, crabs can be spread through sharing towels and or a bed with someone who has it. But if the person who’s infected as gotten to the point where their crabs are everywhere and they haven’t realized they have them, that’s indicative of something else entirely – like the person in question might be the most clueless human on the planet.
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