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Transmission of Genital Warts with Mutual Masterbation


I am really, really scared that I unknowingly transmitted HPV (one of the strains causing warts) to my husband via mutual masturbation.    At the time, I was not aware of the wart, but a week or so later I noticed a wart in the inside bottom area of my vagina.  I have not yet seen a doctor about this, but I am pretty sure It is a wart because I had one in the same spot about ten years ago (before I met my husband), and that wart was definitively diagnosed.

Though I do know the virus never dies, I  was under the assumption that my body had fought off the virus and I was all clear since I had not seen anything suspicious in ten years.  I also thought mutual masturbation was safe, though I have recently read things that indicate that it might be risky. Anyway, I really thought what I was doing was safe, and now I feel intense guilt.

I am not as worried about vaginal intercourse because we always use condoms.

Here are my questions:  What are the chances that I transmitted genital warts to my husband through mutual masturbation?  He masturbated me with his fingers for quite a long time (40 minutes?).  I don't think that he immediately touched his penis afterwards, but he could have done so very briefly/incidentally.  My hope lies in the fact that he did not immediately go from masturbating me to masturbating himself.  In fact, I don't really recall him touching himself much at all afterwards--I add that he "might" have done so briefly just because it seems logical to me that he might have touched himself incidentally.  After he masturbated me, we took a shower.

My main worry stems from the fact that he was touching me for such a long period of time and I almost definitely had a wart (or warts) at that time.   I am so scared that he is going to have a bunch of warts all over his penis three months from now.  
4 Responses
239123 tn?1267647614
Welcome to the forum.  Thanks for your question.  I think I can help.

My first advice is that you not assume your self diagnosis is correct.  Even with a similar appearance in a similar location, recurrence of warts after 10 years isn't very common, and you need to have a professional diagnosis.

But let's go ahead and assume it's a wart.  If so, the HPV infection causing it has probably been active in your genital tissues for a few months, maybe a year or more.  Therefore, you can assume your husband has been repeatedly exposed through both intercourse and all the other sexual practices that you and he participate in.  It is pointless to worry about any particular event, such as the recent mutual masturbation contact.

Condoms help reduce HPV transmission, but do not entirely prevent it.  100% condom use by women reduces their risk of new HPV by about 50%; so over multiple episodes of sex, you can assume your husband has been genitally exposed -- if you have HPV at all.  (For that reason, I generally do not recommend condoms to prevent HPV in couples in which one person is infected.)

If and when you are confirmed to have a wart, the proper step for your husband is to just be on the lookout for warts of the penis or elsewhere in the genital area; and if something shows up, to see his doctor for examination and treatment.  If nothing shows up that he can see, then no worries.

In the meantime, don't be worried while you wait for diagnostic confirmation.  Genital warts are an inconvenience, not an important health threat.  If and when you are confirmed to have a wart, the proper step for your husband is to just be on the lookout for warts of the penis or elsewhere in the genital area; and if something shows up, to see his doctor for examination and treatment.  If nothing shows up that he can see, then no worries.

I hope this has been helpful.  Best wishes and happy holidays--  HHH, MD
Avatar universal
Thank you for the response, Dr. Handsfield.  I appreciate the information.  I hope you do not mind if I ask a brief follow-up question.

I understand what you are saying about the likelihood that he has already been exposed.

Just to satisfy my curiosity, what would you think is the relative risk of transmission via mutual masturbation as I described?  I have read a lot of conflicting information on that point.  Suppose a person were to engage only in mutual masturbation and abstain from other types of activity when warts are present?  What would be the chance of transmission be, in your opinion/experience?  Thanks again.  
Avatar universal
Sorry!  One last question, if you don't mind:  What are the chances of developing visible genital warts if infected with one of the strains that causes visible warts?  Do 100 percent of those infected by those strains go on to develop warts?  I hope my question makes sense.  
239123 tn?1267647614
Hand-genital contact might transmit HPV, especially if genital fluids were used as lubricant and if, as you sort of imply above, one or both persons handles their own genitals as well as their partners'.  But even so, the efficiency of transmission undoubtedly is a lot lower than through intercourse.  There are no data on which to base a numerical estimate of the transmission risk, but probably over 95% of genital warts result from direct genital contact and a small minority from other kinds of exposures, like oral sex or mutual masturbation.

There are conflicting data on the proportion of infected persons, with the wart-causing types (primarily HPV 6 and 11), who develop visible warts.  The best data suggest that at least 50%, and more likely 60-80%, get warts they can notice without special examination or testing.
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