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Anonymous on September 13, 2011

My girlfriend has a burning feeling when she urinates and when I masturbate her...what’s wrong?

For about a month, my girlfriend has been having a burning feeling when she urinates and when I masturbate her. I do have oral sex with her and masturbate her, but we haven’t had intercourse. It shouldn’t be an STD because we’re both virgins, right?

answered by Lisa Oldson, MD on September 13, 2011

Thanks for your great question. I’ll do my best to point you in the right direction.

A burning sensation during finger stimulation could be a symptom of a number of infections. For starters, I would encourage your girlfriend to see her doctor for an exam, diagnosis and treatment (if needed).

That said, one of several possible causes of painful urination is a urinary tract infection. UTIs are typically caused when bacteria that normally lives in the digestive tract enters the urinary tract. When this type of bacteria begins to live and multiply in the urethra (the tube that brings urine out of the body), it can cause a burning sensation during urination and can sometimes make people feel like they have to pee more often.

If UTIs are left untreated, they can cause some serious problems. Over time, the bacteria can enter the bladder and eventually the kidneys which can cause a kidney infection. Luckily, once a doctor diagnoses a UTI, the typical cure is simple: antibiotics.

Let’s also be clear about what we mean by “sex”...

Oral sex is still sex...and, yes, you can get some STDs (like herpes and syphilis) from oral sex, even if you haven’t had intercourse. A lot of people don’t realize it, but oral herpes (e.g., “cold sores”) can also cause genital herpes.

There are two kinds of herpes simplex viruses: HSV-1 and HSV-2. Although most oral herpes infections are caused by HSV-1 and most genital herpes infections are caused by HSV-2, both viruses can cause genital herpes. So it’s possible to transmit HSV-1 from a cold sore on the mouth to the genitals.

Unless you’re sure that neither of you has herpes (or if you know that one of you does have the virus), I would advise you to use latex dental dams or condoms during oral sex. If you don’t know whether you or your girlfriend has herpes, you can get tested. To learn more about herpes and herpes testing, see our Expert Guide to Herpes 1 + 2.
 
Just so you know, there are other STDs that can be transmitted orally, too. (Luckily, these aren’t very likely because you’re both virgins.) However, chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis B ⎼ and, in some cases, HIV and hepatitis C if both people have open sores ⎼ can all be spread orally. To learn more about STD risk factors and how to practice safer oral sex, visit our Expert Guide to STD Basics.
 
Remember, not every discomfort down below is an STD...so seeing a physician for an exam and a urine test is important to explore all causes of these symptoms. Thanks again for your question, and I wish you and your girlfriend good health.

Related info:

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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