Fingering is something most people do as part of sex or as the principal sexual act. Most of the time, fingering is an introduction to sex and masturbation, especially by younger adults and teenagers. But how safe is it, and can you get a sexually transmitted disease (STD) by fingering? 

Defining the act of fingering

Fingering is the digital penetration or stimulation of the vagina or clitoris. It may be something you do to offer pleasure to your partner, as a type of mutual masturbation, or yourself. Also, fingering may be part of the foreplay, or it may represent the main sexual act. Fingering is also a type of masturbation. Except for the female genitals, fingering may also stimulate the anus, to offer sexual arousal and pleasure. 

Fingering and the risk of STDs

Most people think that fingering is safe. However, although it is generally less risky than other sexual acts, fingering may carry some risks. Overall, fingering is not entirely safe regarding STDs. Research reveals that many pathogens can hide under the nails, suggesting that fingering might be a route of STD transmission. However, studies are not many because it is generally hard to study a population that practices fingering exclusively and does not practice other sexual acts, such as penetrative sex or sexual frottage. Although the risk of getting an STD from fingering is lower, it doesn't mean that it is nonexistent. But what about self-fingering? 

READ
Can I get an STD from getting fingered

Fingering yourself with dirty nails and the risk of STDs

Research suggests that fingering is not risk-free. The best example to prove that fingering can spread STDs is human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a very prevalent virus among sexually active individuals. Most people contract HPV the first period of their sexual life but get rid of them alone in the next two years. Other strains of HPV insist and may stay in the human body for a lifetime. Genital warts and cervical cancer are two of the most severe complications of HPV infection. You can get HPV from both penetrative and non-penetrative sex. For instance, you can get this particular STD by skin-to-skin contact too. 

Data suggests that most individuals with a genital HPV infection have the virus under their fingernails as well. Therefore, regarding self-fingering and the risk of STDs, you might get HPV from your nails if you previously had sexual contact with an HPV-positive individual. The level of how dirty your nails are has nothing to do with the chance of STDs. HPV can hide under clean fingernails because it is a virus, and you cannot see it with the naked eye.

I am worried I caught an STD by fingering myself

If you touched the genitals of a person who has an STD, and then you fingered yourself, you might be at risk of an STI. Keep in mind that long nails may generate cuts or wounds at the mucosa of your genitals, making it easier for infection to take place. If you think you have an STD, get tested with an STD rapid kit test at home. You will receive accurate results in 15 minutes. Don't wait for the symptoms to appear. Most STDs present with few or no symptoms. Therefore, you might feel healthy and have an STI at the same time, increasing the risk of complications and transmission to other people. 

READ
What STDs can you get from oral sex?

What types of sexual activity carry no risk for STDs?

The safest type of sexual activity regarding STDs is cyber-sex or phone sex and sexting. However, both might involve masturbation. Therefore, make sure you follow all the hygienic tips, such as washing your hands and cutting your nails before you finger yourself. 

What types of sexual activity carry a low risk for STDs?

The most dangerous type of sexual activity regarding STDs is unprotected penetrative sex. Therefore, all the rest types of sexual arousal, stimulation, and pleasure carry a lower risk of STD transmission compared to unprotected penetrative sex.

  • Masturbation/mutual masturbation. As mentioned previously, masturbation performed carelessly might put you at risk for STDs.
  • Kissing. Kissing is not entirely safe as it can expose you to various bacterial and viral STDs.
  • Manual stimulation such as fingering. Fingering might put you at low risk for STDs, such as HPV.
  • Rubbing or frottage. Many STDs spread through skin-to-skin contact. Some of them are herpes and HPV.
  • Oral sex. Oral sex might put you at risk for throat or genital infection, depending on who has the primary infection.
  • Sex toys. Sex toys not washed and cleaned correctly might represent a significant source of infection with STDs.
  • Vaginal or anal sex with an inside condom is also a risky type of sexual activity regarding the chance of getting an STD.
READ
Can I Get an STD From Sharing Sex Toys?

What types of sexual activity carry a high risk for STDs?

The two principal sexual acts that carry a high risk for STDs are unprotected vaginal and anal sex. These two significantly increase your chances of catching all types of STDs, including some of the most dangerous ones, such as HIV and hepatitis B or C.

Tips for practicing safer fingering

  • Wear gloves or finger cots while fingering yourself or your partner. It might protect both of you from STDs. 
  • Wash your hands before fingering yourself or when planning to stimulate your partner. 
  • Cut or trim your nails to avoid causing open sores by scratching yourself or your partner. That way, you are also decreasing the chances of carrying an STD under your fingernails.
  • Tell your partner to do the same as well, when he or she fingers you or masturbates themselves. Ask your partner to wash his or her hands, and make sure they trim their nails and practice safe fingering.

If you worry about having an STD after fingering yourself, there's no reason to panic. Order online an STD rapid kit test and get tested for some of the most common STDs, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and HIV. You will get fast and accurate results in less than twenty minutes.

  1. -16%
    Chlamydia + Gonorrhea Rapid Test Kit
    was $58.00 Special Price $49.00
  2. -21%
    Chlamydia + Gonorrhea + Syphilis Rapid Test Kit
    was $87.00 Special Price $69.00
  3. -46%
    Complete STD Rapid Test Kit Pack
    was $203.00 Special Price $109.00