STD's and mutual masturbation

Question

Hello Dr. Bob, It's with pleasure to have this opportunity to write you. I have read your column often in the past, and have learned a great deal from it. I am asking you this question, after completing the questionnaire on Thebody.com that assesses one's risk for contracting HIV. The Questionnaire states that mutual masturbation is considered a low-risk activity for acquiring HIV, but it can spead other STD's such as syphilis, herpes, genital/anal warts, lice and scabies. Two questions - wouldn't mutual masturbation be NO risk rather than low risk? If you were masturbating a man with HIV, unless he came on skin that was broken or on a skin sore, I would think that masturbation with an HIV man is a no risk activity.

Also, how can there be any transmission of an STD, where only masturbation occurs? Many thanks for your feedback, and keep up the great work. Sincerely, Lorne

Answer

Hi Lorne,

Thanks for your comment and questions. I think the confusion might be in the definition of mutual masturbation. If one defines it as two (or more) folks masturbating themselves at the same time ("mutually masturbating"), the STD/HIV risk would indeed be nonexistent. This is the situation at "Do It Yourself" clubs. If, however, you definite mutual masturbation as giving your buddy or gal pal a helping hand (so to speak), then there would be a potential risk for STDs that can be spread by skin-to-skin contact. For HIV transmission to occur in this type of mutual-masturbation scenario, I agree there would have to be extremely uncommon extenuating circumstances.

I hope that helps clarify the situation.

Be well. Stay well.

Dr. Bob