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Can you get herpes from rubbing your dick on a vagina without penetration?

Someone asked: “Can you get herpes from rubbing your dick on a vagina with a penetrator?” We think they meant “Can you get herpes from rubbing your dick on a vagina without penetration?” so here is the answer to that:


Herpes is a sexually transmitted infection that you can get from having sex with someone who has it. Herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), which can be spread by skin-to-skin contact with the infected area, including vaginal sex, anal sex and oral sex. So, yes, if the person with the vagina has herpes it can spread by rubbing your dick (penis) on a vagina even without penetration. However, the risk level may vary depending on how much contact there was and whether either partner has had any symptoms or an active outbreak.

If you think you may have herpes (or any other sexually transmitted infection) or if you feel pain or see a sore on your private parts, you should go to a doctor or a clinic for testing and treatment. There is no cure for herpes, but antiviral medication can make the sores go away faster and happen less often. They can test for other sexually transmitted infections and treat any you may have.

One harm reduction method to reduce spreading herpes is to use condoms or dental dams every time you have sex, and to avoid sex when you or your partner have symptoms (tingling, pain, or sores around the penis, vagina or anus.)

Genital herpes is a fairly common sexually transmitted infection, because it is transmitted skin-to-skin. Many people can live a normal life with herpes. Sometimes having herpes can cause difficult emotions like sadness, anger or shame. If that’s true for you we recommend talking to someone, like a trusted friend, family member, or someone on your healthcare team.