Can You Get an STD From Having Sex With a Virgin?

There's a myth that just because someone is a virgin that sex with them is automatically safe. Even if it is a virgin's first time having what they define as sex, it doesn't mean that they have never been exposed to a sexually-transmitted disease (STD). There are several ways that virgins can become infected with STDs.

Varying Definitions of Virginity

To many, virginity means never having had any sexual contact—but that is not everyone's definition.

Many consider themselves to be virgins if they have not had penetrative (penile-vaginal, penile-anal) sex, even if they've had oral sex or skin-to-skin genital contact. Furthermore, definitions of virginity based on heteronormative assumptions may not be valid in different social/cultural groups.

Sexual encounters can represent varying degrees of interaction and exposure, whether they involve the penis, vagina, mouth, anus, fingers, or sex toys, and whether they are female-male, male-male, or female-female. All of these encounters are risk factors for acquiring an STD.

Given the range of interpretations of the word virgin, simply being told by a partner that they are one tells you nothing about their risk profile.

Virginity is a cultural definition—not a medical one. Even if a person has never had penetrative sex, it is possible that they may have been exposed to an STD. All sexual encounters warrant the use of safe sex practices—not a reliance on assumptions.

STD Transmission

Sexually-transmitted diseases are passed from person to person in a variety of ways.

Congenital and Bloodborne Transmission

Some people are exposed to their mother's STDs during pregnancy or birth. It is also possible to become infected with diseases, such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), through non-sexual risk behaviors. For example, injection drug use is a risk factor for most bloodborne diseases.

Genital Skin-to-Skin Contact

Intimate activities that include genital skin-to-skin contact can transmit genital herpes, syphilis, and human papillomavirus (HPV).

These organisms can be present on the skin in sores, warts, or even in the secretions (vaginal or penile) of those who are not symptomatic.

Oral Transmission

Many individuals acquire oral herpes through casual contact with the saliva of their family members (such as kissing on the mouth or sharing eating and drinking utensils). This can then be spread to the genitals through oral sex.

As a result, for example, a person who has not had vaginal sex may acquire genital herpes by receiving oral sex from a person who has oral herpes. A person who has not had anal sex may acquire it through oral-anal contact. Even if asymptomatic, they may then transmit herpes to a vaginal or anal sex partner.

Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis can also be transmitted by oral or anal sex. These organisms may infect the mouth or throat during oral contact with an infected person's genitals or anus. Then these diseases can be passed to the genitals of a partner who receives oral sex from the person who has an oral infection.

Anal Transmission

STDs can be acquired through unprotected anal sex. Just as they may be transmitted through vaginal sex, STD-causing viruses, bacteria, and parasites can infect the anal and rectal tissues. As well, bloodborne STDs such as HIV and hepatitis are a risk with anal sex.

Shared Object or Fingering Transmission

Hand-to-genital or hand-to-anal contact can spread HPV. A variety of STDs can be spread by sharing an inserted object without cleaning it well between persons.

The STDs that can be transmitted this way include chlamydia, herpes, syphilis, trichomoniasis, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV, and bacterial vaginosis (BV).

Pregnancy Risk

Contrary to some popular myths, people can get pregnant the first time they have sex. In addition, sleeping with a virgin won't cure your HIV or other STDs.

When it comes to sex, it's better to be safe than sorry. Assuming you're at risk of STDs or pregnancy is safer than not taking those risks into account. That's true even when it's two virgins having sex.

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. STD risk and oral sex - CDC fact sheet. Updated February 27, 2020.

  2. Taylor AW, Nesheim SR, Zhang X, et al. Estimated perinatal HIV infection among infants born in the United States, 2002-2013JAMA Pediatr. 2017;171(5):435–442. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2016.5053

  3. Degenhardt L, Charlson F, Stanaway J, et al. Estimating the burden of disease attributable to injecting drug use as a risk factor for HIV, hepatitis C, and hepatitis B: findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013The Lancet Infectious Diseases. 2016;16(12):1385-1398. doi:10.1016/s1473-3099(16)30325-5.

  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually transmitted diseases. Updated March 9, 2016.

  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Genital herpes—CDC fact sheet. Updated August 28, 2018.

  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Genital herpes—CDC fact sheet (detailed). Updated January 31, 2017.

  7. Planned Parenthood. Can I get any sort of diseases from my boyfriend fingering me?

  8. National Health Service. Are sex toys safe? Updated October 12, 2019.

  9. Planned Parenthood. Can you get pregnant the first time you have sex? Updated Oct. 14, 2010.