Originally appearing in the September Edition of Ask Dr. Bate on Bateworld.com
Dear Dr. Bate,
A friend and I got to talking about mutual masturbation and frottage, he loves to masturbate but doesn’t like to frot with guys he doesn’t know very well for fear of getting herpes (genital warts). How likely is someone to get herpes from mutual masturbation or frottage?
This is a great question and I’m glad you asked. Forgive the length of this answer; I feel it’s one that can still affect us as communal masturbators.
Although we often consider masturbation a highly “safe” sexual activity between partners (and it is when compared to other activities such as oral, vaginal, or anal sex), it’s still good to know of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s) that can be transmitted via skin-to-skin contact. And yes, herpes is one of them.
I am a strong proponent of “Smart Sex” versus just “Safe Sex.” Smart sex requires a further commitment to education and connectivity between sexual partners than safe sex would require. In that light, allow me to drop some brief Herpes 101 on ya!
(For future reference, http://www.cdc.gov is an excellent compendium of STI and prevention resources!)
What is it? – Herpes is a viral infection caused by two types of viruses – Herpes Simplex Virus 1 (HSV-1) and Herpes Simplex Virus 2 (HSV-2). HSV-1 is often called “oral” herpes and HSV-2 “genital” herpes. But these names are misnomers as HSV-1 can also cause outbreaks in the genital area and HSV-2 in the oral region. Yes, Herpes can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, unlike some other STI’s that require blood or other bodily fluids as transport.
Who has it? – Herpes is one of the most common forms of STI’s. Nationwide, roughly 45 million people are infected. According to the CDC, approximately 776,000 people get infected in the U.S. annually. Of those, 87.4% of those do not know they are infected. Why, because most infections are asymptomatic. That means that although folks might be infected they will rarely, if ever, show symptoms. HSV-2 (“genital herpes”) is more common with females than males – 1:4 women to 1:5 men.
What are the symptoms and how do you get it? – Herpes’ initial outbreak might come as a cluster of blisters or sores around the penis, anus, or mouth. This might last for a time and go away on it’s own. It also may be accompanied by a fever or pain around the infected area and another outbreak later on. Depending on your physiology you may never have an outbreak or you may have a very mild one that you might mistaken for something as benign as an insect bite.
The most effective way of infection is coming in contact with a herpes sore during an outbreak (this can happen during frottage or even touching a sore). It is also reported that even with no symptoms, infection can occur through the pores of the one carrying the virus. However, in my experience, this has not been the case. Your mileage may vary and I encourage you to educate yourself and talk with your doctor and sexual/masturbation partner further. Do not do anything you are not comfortable doing!
Please understand also that with herpes the range of symptoms can be as diverse as the range of people who have it – from no outbreaks to severe outbreaks a few times a year that requires medication. Please consult your doctor if you feel anything new and painful in your genital region or mouth that is concerning.
How can I prevent infection? – Abstinence is obviously the most extreme prevention. But let’s be real, that is impractical AND unrealistic!!! (I’m looking at you, social conservatives). So what’s left?
- Get tested! Know your status! They say that knowledge is power and what’s more freeing than knowing the status of your sexual partner before engaging with them? You can find out your HSV status via a simple blood test.
- Use Condoms! Although this is not an ideal preventative measure and it is hardly capable of preventing infection if you come in contact with an outbreak on other parts of your partner’s body save your penis, it does add some level of protection, but very little.
- Communicate, Communicate, Communicate! As Bators, one of the most freeing experiences is the verbal exchanges we share. Why should that only be delegated to fantasy? Talk with your bate brothers if you are concerned beforehand about possible infection. And brothers, listen openly and honestly to the concerns. Engage each other in a heartfelt and supportive way.
- If you are one that has outbreaks fairly often, look into medications that can help control them. Talk to your doctor for more information. Although there is no cure for herpes, it can be better controlled.
This is not all the information about herpes, so I encourage you to do your own research and talk to your doctor for more information. Also remember that giving yourself the opportunity to have the best bate experiences of your life often requires being “Smart” about your body and the bodies of others!
Live Well! Live Smart! Live Free!
This isn’t a question about sex exactly, but I’d appreciate your perspective.
I’m a single man who’s lived as an at-home nudist for the majority of my adult life. My friends are all used to it. I’ve lived in places where my roommates where clothed but it was accepted that I’d be naked. I never felt uncomfortable living that way.
I feel like I’m a nudist in the same way that I know that I’m gay. It feels innate to me. I can trace these feelings back to my very early childhood.
I’m curious what you have to say about this. Do you think it’s possible that nudity could be an innate factor in a person’s identity?
Yay nudity! I have to say that I think that nudity is innate in every person’s identity. If you have ever been around small children when their diaper is taken off, running around the house in pure enjoyment, then you know that being nude is innately human, as that is the way we were born! RuPaul says it best: “We’re born naked, and the rest is drag.”
However, what we are taught about our bodies, (hide and cover it because it is bad) although mainstream and seeming universal, is not necessarily innate to us, but rather how we have been socially conditioned, especially in the US where nudity equals sex and sex is bad (even though it is everywhere and in everything. Even our hamburgers are sexualized). Different countries and cultures view nudity very differently. For example, my female friend from a European country said that nudity is not as sexualized there as it is in the US. She often goes to topless beaches, but would never do so in the US because it is not safe and is seen as an invitation for sex.
Innately, clothes serve our bodies as warmth when we are cold and protection against the elements. What we decide to propagate about what nudity means and what clothes are used for as a society is another story.
Congratulations on being true to yourself and wearing your favorite suit…your birthday suit!