Let's Talk About Safe Sex

By: RSC Editorial Team

August 4, 2022

Can You Get an STD if You’re Both a Virgin?

Although schools across the United States offer sex education, many young adults still struggle with STDs due to misinformation. The CDC estimates that almost 50% of new U.S. STD cases in 2018 affected young people between 15 and 24 years old. 

One of the most common questions about STDs that certainly impacts statistics like this is, “Can you get an STD if you're both a virgin?” The convenient answer to this question is no—but although it may seem intuitive, “no” does not accurately represent the risks of getting a sexually transmitted disease. Keep reading to learn why that is.

The Short Answer: Can Two Virgins Get STDs?

The real short answer to the question of whether you can get an STD if you’re both virgins is yes—and a few reasons explain this. 

People define virginity in different ways. Most people use the word “virgin” to describe someone who has never had sexual intercourse, which means penile penetration of the vagina under heteronormative perceptions of sex. This definition complicates the question of virginity and STDs because a person may have contracted an infection through other types of sexual activity even without penetrative intercourse. 

Secondly, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or sexually transmitted infections (STIs) spread in a wide variety of ways, depending on the type of disease and the part of the body they impact. With dozens of STDs out there, sexual intercourse is not the only method of transmission. For example, some STDs transmit through oral sex. You can also spread yeast infections.

We don’t mean that these infections appear out of nowhere. If you and your partner are both STD-free, you have no risk of spreading a nonexistent disease. However, just because you’re both virgins doesn’t automatically mean you have had no previous sexual contact or are STD-free.

If you suspect you have an STD, get a rapid STD test from a Rapid STD Testing lab near you.

Can I Get an STD from a Toilet Seat?

A particularly widespread misconception claims people can catch STDs from others by sitting on a toilet seat. Fortunately, this is not a realistic concern because STD-causing bacteria and viruses cannot survive long on hard surfaces. Visit this link to learn more about the unlikelihood of catching STDs from toilet seats.

Can I Get an STD From a Virgin?

Answering the question, “Can I get an STD from a virgin?” depends on how you define virginity and the type of sexual contact. As we noted above, someone who defines themselves as a virgin may have had previous sexual contact even without traditional penis-to-vagina intercourse.

Let's look at some of the ways you can contact an STD without having vaginal intercourse:

Kissing

Although kissing presents a low risk, you can contract an STD through lip-to-lip contact and sharing saliva. The first one that comes to mind for most people is herpes, which the infected person can pass on through kissing when they have a cold sore (herpes type 1). Kissing after oral sex may also pass herpes from one partner to another. 

Other STDs that may transmit through kissing include:

  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Syphilis
  • Gonorrhea

Oral Sex

Sexual partners can pass on STDs through skin-to-skin contact or between the mouth and the genital area. A partner may transmit oral herpes to their partner's genitals through oral sex. 

The transmission also works in the other direction, making it possible for people with genital infections like chlamydia to infect their partner's mouth and throat. Other STDs that may transmit through oral sex include gonorrhea and syphilis.

Oral transmission presents a high risk of reinfecting the original host and worsening existing STDs. 

Shared Object Transmission

STDs don't just transmit via body parts; sex toys and other objects (including fingers) can also pass these viruses, infections, and parasites from person to person. This happens most commonly if the sex toy was used by more than one partner without cleaning. 

STDs that can transmit through shared objects include:

  • Herpes
  • Syphilis
  • Chlamydia
  • Bacterial Vaginosis
  • Hepatitis B and C
  • Trichomoniasis
  • HIV
  • HPV

Skin-to-Skin Contact

The microorganisms that cause STDs like HPV, syphilis, and herpes live in sores, warts, and body fluids like ejaculate or vaginal discharge, so they can transmit through genital-to-genital contact. These diseases do not always present observable sores or bumps, but the infected person may still pass it on.

Anal Sex

The tissues in and around the anus are just as susceptible to infection as the vagina and penis. Anal sex may present an even greater risk of infection than vaginal sex because anal tissue tends to tear more easily. Any STD that can pass through vaginal sex and other sexual activities can transmit through anal intercourse, including herpes, syphilis, hepatitis, and the rest.

Are you curious about other ways you can contract STDs without sexual intercourse? Visit this article to learn whether it is possible to get an STD without having sex from the Rapid STD Testing team.

How To Protect Yourself

Although you are able to contract an STD through many types of sexual contact, you can take steps to stay protected. Remember the following to keep yourself safe from STDs during sexual contact:

  • Communicate with your partner. You should never feel awkward asking a potential sex partner about their sexual history, including whether they have ever received an STD diagnosis. We also recommend asking your partner if they would go with you to get tested. If one of you tests positive for an STD, you can take the necessary steps to treat the disease and prevent transmission to the other person rather than dealing with the aftermath.   
  • Be careful whom you kiss. If you notice a sore on someone’s mouth, avoid kissing them until the sore has healed completely. Don’t worry. If your partner has dealt with cold sores for a while, they probably won’t take it personally. 
  • Use a condom or dental dam. Infection- and virus-causing microorganisms can’t infect a new host without direct contact, so condoms and other barrier methods offer the best protection against STDs. If you or your partner has a latex allergy, experiment with alternatives like polyurethane to find what works best for you. 
  • Get an STD test. Many people have STDs but don’t realize it because they haven’t experienced or noticed any symptoms. Because you may not have any visual symptoms, the best way to protect your sexual and reproductive health is to get testing regularly, especially if you have multiple sexual partners. 

If you want to be 100% confident in your sexual health, try our comprehensive 10 Panel STD test.

Confidential STD Testing 

Now that you know that the answer to the question, “Can you get an STD if you’re both a virgin?” is yes, consider getting tested. 

At Rapid STD Testing, we offer STD tests across the U.S. and the District of Columbia. Visit a lab for same-day STD testing, and get fast results via a secure phone call. One of our care counselors will provide your results and explain available treatments. Call us at (866) 872-1888.

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By: RSC Editorial Team
August 4, 2022

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