Expert Answers Factual Answers to Your Sexual Health Questions

Anonymous on September 13, 2011

Every time I get an erection, I start bleeding from my penis. Do I have an STD?

My girlfriend and I were dry humping with our clothes on. She was on top of me and rubbed herself on me. Five or ten minutes later, I noticed I was bleeding from my penis. I was really embarrassed...and now every time I get an erection, I start bleeding from my penis. Do I have an STD?

answered by
Lisa Oldson, MD on September 13, 2011

Thanks for your question. I can certainly understand your concern, and I would encourage you to see your doctor right away. It could be that you’ve simply rubbed your penis so much that you’ve caused an abrasion...but the only way to know the cause of the bleeding for sure is to have your doctor examine your penis.

Typically, dry humping won’t result in an STD. Most STDs are transmitted through bodily fluids or through skin-to-skin contact of the genitals. If dry humping with your clothes on is the only sexual contact you’ve had, and you haven’t exchanged any bodily fluids, your STD risk is low.

That said, there are some other conditions that can cause irritation at the tip of your penis. One condition is called balanitis and it’s the result of an infection involving the head of your penis that can cause redness, pain and potentially a discharge from your penis.

A different condition called dermatitis can also cause a rash and even broken skin on your penis...it’s often caused by a reaction to an irritant like perfume, cologne, detergent, soaps, lotion or some other substance that may be coming into contact with your skin.

Some STDs can also cause irritation on the penis. Syphilis, for instance, can cause a small, round, painless sore (or chancre) near where the infection entered the body...usually on the penis. The sore typically heals without treatment after three to six weeks, but that doesn’t mean the syphilis infection is gone. If you have syphilis and you don’t get treated, you may develop a rash and other health issues down the road.
 
To learn more about syphilis symptoms, testing and treatment, check out our Expert Guide to Syphilis.

Other STDs ⎼ like herpes and genital warts ⎼ can also be passed through skin-to-skin contact with an infected person. So if you take your clothes off or if you exchange fluids, your risk of STDs increases. To learn more about STD risks, how to practice safer sex and whether STD testing makes sense for you and your girlfriend, turn to our Expert Guide to STD Basics.

Thanks again for writing, and I hope you’ll soon resolve your discomfort with your doctor’s help.

Related info:
    •    MedLine Plus: Balanitis

Lisa Oldson, MD

Dr. Oldson is Medical Director of the Analyte Physicians Group. She is on staff at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, as well as Clinical Instructor at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University. Her areas of expertise include STDs (with a particular clinical emphasis on herpes), women's health, preventive medicine, diabetes, obesity and weight management, and mood and anxiety disorders. Dr. Oldson was educated at Rush Medical College and completed her residency at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago, IL.

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