Is It Possible to Contract a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Without Having Sex?

STD Without SexBy definition, an STD is sexually transmitted. Therefore, many people are aware that the most common way to contract an STD is to engage in unprotected sexual intercourse. However, you might be surprised to learn that it is also possible to contract an STD in other ways, some of which do not even involve sexual activity.

For instance, in addition to unprotected sexual intercourse, some types of STDs can be transmitted through:

  • Indirect contact – While the likelihood of contracting an STD indirectly is very low, it is still possible. Some ways include sharing damp or moist objects, such as towels and clothing, or cutting devices, such as razors and needles, with an infected person. Additionally, infectious material on a toilet seat can potentially invade the body if there is a break in the skin.
  • Kissing – Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), or oral herpes, can cause cold sores and fever blisters to develop on or around the lips, inside the nose, and on the cheeks and chin. HSV-1 is transmitted through direct contact between mucous membrane tissues (such as the mouth) or broken skin. Although the risk of infection is greatest during oral herpes outbreaks, the virus is carried for life and the danger of infection exists even if symptoms aren’t present.
  • “Dry sex” – Some STDs, such as herpes and human papillomavirus (HPV), can be spread through skin-to-skin contact, even if there is no penetration or exchange of bodily fluids.
  • Oral sex – STDs such as herpes, chlamydia, and gonorrhea can be spread during oral sex through contact with infected secretions and body surfaces. Condom use can reduce – but not completely eliminate – the risk of infection during oral sex.

One of the best ways to protect yourself against STDs is to become knowledgeable about your sexual health and talk openly with your partner, especially considering the many ways in which STDs can be transmitted that aren’t widely known.

If you have questions about STDs or would like to be tested, contact or visit South Tampa Immediate Care in Tampa, FL.