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Can Fingering or Oral Sex Cause an Infection?

Medically reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD

It’s possible to get an infection from “fingering” (sex that involves fingers) or oral sex. One sign may be if your genitals — the area "down there"— stay itchy, sore, or red. Not all infections are related to sex, but when they are, they’re called sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

STDs often don’t cause any symptoms, so you or your partner may not know you have one. It’s important you both get tested for STDs so you can get treatment and prevent spreading them.

How Can I Avoid Getting an STD?

The only way to fully avoid getting a STD is to not have sex. If you and your partner decide to have sex, be sure to:

  • Get tested for STDs before you have sex, if possible.
  • Use protection, like latex condoms, finger condoms, or dental dams each time you have sex. Be sure to use new protection for each part of the body, like different finger condoms for the vagina and anus. This helps prevent germs from spreading and causing infections.
  • Wash hands before and after touching the genital area. Have both partners do this.
  • Don’t have oral sex if you or your partner has a cold sore. The virus that causes cold sores can spread to the genitals. There it can become an STD called genital herpes.

What Else Should I Know?

If you think you might have an infection or want to get tested for STDs, visit your doctor or a health clinic like Planned Parenthood. The sooner you go, the better for your health.

Medically reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: February 2024