Penis Health and Frottage: What Are the Risks?

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Frottage, or the rubbing of one’s genitals against those of another person (or against another body part), is a popular sexual activity, especially among youth. One of the attractions of frottage is that men assume it comes with no chance of penis health issues. However, that is not exactly the case, and those for whom appropriate penis care is a concern should learn a bit more about what risks are involved when engaging in frottage.

What is it again?

Technically, frottage is any form of activity in which the genitals of one person are stimulated through contact with a body part of another person (or persons). A man with a foot fetish, for example, could be considered to be practicing frottage if he were to rub his penis against a partner’s foot for sexual pleasure. While frottage usually brings to mind naked genitalia, a couple can frot while clothed; thus, “dry humping,” or the rubbing together of genitals while clothed, could be thought of as a form of frottage.

For the purpose of this article, however, frottage will be considered as specifically the rubbing together of two (or more) sets of naked genitalia. It can involve either mixed gender partners or same sex partners.

Frottage is a popular activity among young partners who have not yet lost their virginity, as well as among adult gay men; however, adult heterosexual partners also delight in the practice.

Health risks

When considering the health risks associated with frottage, it’s important to note that this discussion concerns only sex acts in which there is no penetrative sex in addition to the frottage. Practicing unprotected oral sex or vaginal or anal intercourse adds in a layer of additional risk that won’t be considered here but which all responsible sexual partners need to consider.

Frottage is one of the “safer sex” activities, but transmission of health issues is certainly possible. After all, when organ skin is rubbing against organ skin, and when penile and vaginal fluids are being secreted during the activity, there is always a possibility for spreading conditions from one infected person to a non-infected person.

The following are some of the health issues that might occur from bare skin frottage:

– Pubic lice and scabies. These irritating parasites are easy to catch from direct skin-to-skin contact. Neither is considered a serious issue, but the itching and discomfort they can cause, as well as the embarrassment they engender, can be a significant bother.

– Genital herpes. One of the most common sexually transmitted infections, genital herpes is also one of the hardiest. The recurrence rate of the bumps is very high, so avoiding contracting it in the first place is advisable.

– HPV and genital warts. The human papillomavirus (HPV) and the possible resulting genital warts are much more likely to occur as a result of penetrative sex, but there is some risk from frottage’s direct skin-to-skin contact. Many may opt to be vaccinated for prevention of HPV.

– Chancroid. An infected individual with sores can easily spread this painful bacterial infection.

– HIV. The chances of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission through frottage are very, very low; however, if blood or genital fluids of an infected individual enter an open wound, it is possible.

Being aware of the risks and knowing the sexual history of one’s partner can help prevent the spread of these issues during frottage, as can using a form of barrier protection.

There are also more common penis health issues that can occur during frottage, such as passing on a rash or incurring a slight dermatological issue that causes itchiness and soreness. Including a top-notch penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil) in a man’s routine can help with these. A crème containing a high-end emollient like Shea butter is a great resource against dry, flaky skin. Also good: a crème with vitamin A, which has potent antibacterial properties that can add a strong element of protection for general penis health.

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