People have sex in many different ways. Some enjoy penetration, while others prefer skin-to-skin, genital-to-genital, or mouth-to-genital rubbing, known as frottage. Other ways to receive or offer sexual pleasure is oral sex. Fingering is when you use your fingers and hands to stimulate your partner sexually. Other means to refer to fingering are digital vaginal penetration, manual penetration, and heavy petting. Fingering might be a sexual act that gives pleasure alone or be part of foreplay. Most people believe that fingering, in general, is very safe to practice. They are mostly right. Fingering is less dangerous than penetrative vaginal, anal, or oral sex, but it doesn't mean it doesn't carry any risks. 

Can fingering give you an STD?

There is very little research to suggest whether you can or cannot catch an STD from fingering. However, simple logic says you could. It is generally hard to study a population that only practices fingering as a primary sexual act, because you can't find such people easily. Also, it is hard to analyze a group of people who's only method of STDs exposure is fingering. Logic again suggests that although you could catch an STD from someone else's finger, the risk is significantly lower than that of penetrative vaginal, anal, and oral sex, or even naked frottage. The point is that fingering as a sexual act is not risk-free. 

Fingering and human papillomavirus (HPV)

HPV is a very prevalent virus that has various strains. Most people get infected with HPV as soon as they start being sexually active. However, most individuals manage to clear the infection as they get older. HPV 16 and 18 are two strains that cause about 70% of all cancerous or precancerous cervical lesions and contribute to the development of cervical cancer. Data suggests that HPV is the most well-established example of an STD that can be transmitted through fingering. It is quite simple to get from non-penetrative and penetrative sex, as it can also spread through skin-to-skin contact. Several studies suggest that you can find HPV under the fingers of people with genital infection, meaning that these fingernails can give you HPV while fingering. Keep in mind that fingering might be vaginal and anal. You could also get HPV from non-vaginal digital penetration. 

Getting fingered and the risk of STDs

Data suggest you can catch an STD while having your vagina or anus fingered. Sexual stimulation using fingers can transmit HPV from your partner's fingernails to your vagina or anus. One particular study suggests that the overall risk of finger-to-genitals HPV transmission is quite low. To lower your chances of getting HPV from getting fingered, you can ask your partner to wash his or her hands before touching you with water and soap. Trimming the nails is also essential for avoiding HPV transmission. If your partner wishes to touch his penis or her vagina while fingering you, ask them to use the opposite hand, instead of using one hand for both.

Fingering your partner and the risk of STDs

Data suggest you can catch an STD while fingering the vagina or anus of your partner. Sexual stimulation using fingers can transmit HPV from your partner's genitals to your fingers and then to your penis or vagina. The overall transmission risk is quite low. However, if your partner is HPV-positive and you finger them, you might transmit the infection to you while touching yourself. Spreading of the virus to your body can take place during sex, if you touch yourself with the same hand you fingered your partner, or when you're home alone, and you masturbate or touch your genitals for different reasons. An alternative way to catch HPV is when you have an open sore on your finger, and they have a blister on their genitals. To lower your chances of getting HPV from fingering your partner, you can wash your hands before and after fingering them. You can also skip this activity whenever you consider it too risky. Mechanical protection can also lower the risk, using an inside condom.

Examples of low or no-risk sexual activities

The following are some examples of sexual activities that carry no risk of catching an STD:

  • Masturbation or mutual masturbation
  • Cybersex or phone sex

The following are some examples of sexual activities that carry a low risk of catching an STD, such as HPV or herpes. Oral sex carries more risks of infections but has a low risk of catching HIV.

  • Kissing
  • Manual stimulation such as fingering
  • Rubbing or frottage
  • Oral sex
  • Sex toys
  • Vaginal or anal sex with an inside condom

The following are some examples of sexual activities that carry a high risk of catching an STD, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, HIV/AIDS, herpes, HPV, syphilis, and trichomoniasis:

  • Unprotected vaginal sex
  • Unprotected anal sex

How to reduce the risk of STD exposure through fingering?

Fingering is a sexual act that people of all sexual orientations practice. Sometimes, it is the first thing you do when you enter sex life. When you are a teenager, you might explore your sexuality with fingering, as part of foreplay, before engaging in other types of sexual acts. However, fingering comes with some risks, and there are many ways of making it safer. Wearing gloves or finger cots while fingering your partner might protect both you and your partner from STDs. Another simple method to avoid getting an STI from fingering is by washing your hands before using your hands or fingers to stimulate your partner. Trimming your nails might also be necessary to avoid causing open sores by scratching your partner. 

The same pieces of advice stand for your partner as well, in the case of you being the one getting fingered. Ask your partner to wash his or her hands, and make sure they trim their nails and practice fingering carefully. If you feel like you might have been exposed to an STD through fingering, you can test yourself easily with an STD rapid kit test. Buy one online from us and have your results in less than twenty minutes. 

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