Can you get an STD from masturbation? I am not sexually active with anyone but for 4 years I’ve had white/flesh colored bumps on my vagina…

…I know I should tell my mom about this right away but I am afraid to tell her. Also, I’m afraid to tell my mom and go to the doctor because this is very embarrassing.

Generally, no. If you are masturbating alone, risk of STI transmission is very rare.

It’s good to know that when it comes to STIs, there are four modes of transmission.  They are…

  • Blood
  • Sexual Fluids (semen and vaginal fluids)
  • Skin to skin contact
  • Mother to Child (breast milk and vaginal birth)

STI transmission is possible when your sexual fluids or blood come into contact with an infected person’s sexual fluids or blood, or if you have sexual skin-to-skin contact with an infected person.  By this definition, a person masturbating alone, in private, is not at risk for STI transmission.

However, a person can get an STI from a shared sex toy. Be sure to wash all sex toys before and after use, and keep them in a discreet place where others will not encounter them.  If you share sex toys with someone else, use a condom Mutual masturbation can also carry an STI risk if those involved engage in skin to skin (genital to genital or mouth to genital) or fluid contact, even unintentionally.

As long as you’re not harming yourself or others during masturbation, it can be a safe, healthy way to explore your sexuality without risk of STIs or pregnancy.  If you have more questions about masturbation, consider talking to a trusted adult.

Although it may be uncomfortable initially, talking with a medical professional is the only way to find out what the bumps on your vagina may be. They could be something completely harmless (razor burn, ingrown hairs, skin tags, etc.) or they could be something else. But the only way to know for sure is to see a doctor. Teen Clinic has teen-friendly and non-judgmental medical professionals available.

Keep in mind also that in the state of Colorado, the law says that minors have the right to access any sexual healthcare without the consent or notification of their parents. That means they can start a birth control method, get tested for STIs, or get any other sexual healthcare without their parents being involved at all. In fact, it’s illegal for clinics to share sexual health information with parents (or anyone else!) without an individual’s permission. Teen Clinic offers free or low-cost and confidential sexual health services.

With that being said, Teen Clinic encourages teens to have a trusted adult in their life that they can talk to about their sexual health- whether it be a parent, a teacher, a coach, or an aunt or uncle. But we also understand that teens might not have someone they can talk to. That’s why Teen Clinic offers a safe and confidential space for teens to get the information and/or care that they might need.

Teen Clinic is here for you. You can also give us a call at 303-442-5160 with more questions!