You’re not having “sex” and yet you’re worried that you may have an STD. You have the symptoms and are growing more and more concerned. Logically, you ask yourself “how can I have an STD if I haven’t even had sex?”
And the truth is that it is possible.
Yes, the chances of contraction may be lower, and the number of STDs that you’ll be exposed to are severely limited. But it can happen.
How Can You Get an STD Without Having Sex?
STD without being sexually active? Yup. This can occur in a lot of different ways. And we’ll be going over some of the most common ways you can get a sexually transmitted disease without even doing the deed.
But you need to first know how you get an STD.
How Do You Get an STD in The First Place?
Virtually everything you do, under the right conditions, can lead to an STD. A few ways (in case I am missing some) include:
- Sexual Intercourse: The most common way. Bodily fluids can spread most STDs.
- Kissing: While very uncommon, there are a few STDs that can be passed by kissing under the right condition.
- Oral Sex: It may not be intercourse, but oral sex can definitely lead to a variety of STDs.
- Skin Contact: Rashes, blisters and other overlooked symptoms can lead to the spread of an STD with just skin contact. Even food can pass one kind of STD (more on that below).
This is a scary scenario since you can get an STD even with indirect contact. So, you can get an STD even if you’re not sexually active.
STDs You Can Get Without Sex
Complicated and confusing is the best way to describe transmitting an STD without sex. Since many people have been taught otherwise, it becomes a little scarier to have a partner that you know nothing about.
And the following are a few scenarios in which you can get an STD:
Kissing Your Sweetheart
A little kiss never hurt anyone, but this is far from the truth. You may know of the “kissing disease,” mononucleosis, but this isn’t really an STD. You do have to worry about herpes though.
Herpes can cause cold sores, so it’s not the most attractive disease that you can have.
When you swap spit, there is a chance of getting herpes if the other person has sores present.
Shockingly, 50% – 80% of adults in the United States have herpes. And while it’s uncommon to contract the disease without cold sores being present, it is possible. So you may have no real way of knowing if the person you’re kissing has herpes.
Oral herpes is HSV-1, and it can be spread to the genitals, too.
You’re playing it safe – no babies for you – and you decide that oral sex is the best way to practice safe sex. While you may not have to worry about pregnancy, oral sex can lead to a wide range of STDs, including:
- Herpes (HSV-2)
- Chlamydia (rare)
- HIV (through cuts or abrasions)
And I am sure I missed a few diseases along the way. Secretions, sores and broken skin can all result in the transmission of a disease.
It may be uncommon to get HIV from oral sex, but if the sores are in the mouth and bleeding occurs, it’s possible that it can be transmitted – a risk no one wants to take.
A scary reality is that hepatitis A can be transmitted via food. While the food itself cannot be contaminated, what occurs is that the person preparing the food goes to the bathroom and doesn’t wash his or her hands well.
When preparing your food, they unknowingly spread hepatitis on the food.
Now, if the food is frozen or put in the oven, it will likely kill the disease. But a delicious salad can be quickly ruined once you realize that you now have hepatitis.
Skin-to-skin contact is mostly safe, but if a person has HPV or herpes, you may now be infected. No one thinks that simply touching the skin (down there) can really result in an STD, but it can. Making matters worse, if he or she shaves down there, the risk is increased.
Since no hair is present, it’s easier for breaks in the skin to occur.
Broken skin, as you know already, can cause transmission of disease. The risk of transmission varies, too. A person may have a no sores, scabs or breaks in the skin, and you’ll likely be okay. But if the person has any of STD symptoms or ejaculates, well, you’re at risk.
A few other ways to get an STD without having sex include:
- Tanning beds
- Indirect contact (surfaces)
- Sharing sheets, towels or undergarments
- Sharing a razor
Common STD Questions and Answers
Can You Get an STD from A Toilet Seat?
The technical answer is yes, but the chances are very slim. Infections and diseases cannot persist outside of the body for long. And while they can live for a short time, they normally die too quickly for someone to contract an STD in this manner.
Yes, it’s possible, but very unlikely.
Plus, there are a few key things that restrooms do right in keeping diseases at bay:
- Cold air
- Sterile surfaces
- Hard surfaces
Now, if there is bodily fluid or blood on the seat, this is an entirely different story. But under normal conditions, you won’t get an STD from sitting on a toilet.
Can You Get Chlamydia Without Being Sexually Active?
The CDC says that sexual contact needs to occur to get chlamydia. But contact doesn’t necessarily mean that a person has full blown intercourse. A person can contract this disease through contact with the:
Ejaculation doesn’t need to occur for transmission to occur. So, you can technically get this disease from mere contact even if you’re not having outright sex.
While you may or may not have a sexually transmitted disease, it’s important to sit down for a moment and breathe. The best thing you can do at this point is get tested. There are two ways to get tested:
- Go to your physician
- At-home tests
When you choose the second method, you may have to go to a clinic, but your name is confidential. Essentially, this will allow you to get tested without having to fear that your mother, father, sister, brother, spouse, friends or any other person will find out.
Tests are simple and painless, and they’re the responsible action to take if you’re afraid you may have an STD.