When it comes to assessing the sexual health of the human mouth, vulva, anus, testicles, perineum and vagina, appearances are deceiving.
Some folks with STIs (formerly known as STDs) have no visible signs or symptoms. Other people do not have STIs but look as if they do. Sadly, your eyes can’t see through this disguise.
HPV (causes genital warts and cancer) and HSV are both lifelong viruses which are completely invisible on carriers between breakouts.
So how can you be sure you are being as safe as possible while engaging in any form of sexual activity with a partner(s)? By checking out this list of the top ten things that look like STIs but aren’t and by always using condoms and/or dental dams!
Canker sores differ from cold sores (aka herpes blisters). While cold sores are around the outer edges of the mouth and are caused by the transmittable HSV1 virus, canker sores are inside the mouth and are not harmful to others.
Are you an olympian in bed? This mostly-male oriented malady is also referred to as athlete’s foot (when it’s not on the phallus) and is the result of a fungal infection similar to ringworm. Keep the area as cool and dry as possible and apply a topical antifungal medication until clear.
Ingrown Hairs/Razor Burn
With Spring Break and summer time bikini lines in full effect, you’re surely going to run into some skin issues caused by shaving and/or waxing the pubic region. Bumps, infected ingrown hairs, dry skin and razor burn can all occur from manscaping and Brazilians.
Sure, scabies and crab lice and Lyme Disease from ticks are STIs, but this topic is meant for those who are sensitive to flea, mosquito, ant and flying insect bites and stings. Pink-to-red dots and scratch marks on the skin are not to be mistaken for more than they are– a temporary, touchy affliction.
When the lining of the anus protrudes past the opening of the rectum during a bowel movement or during sexual play it is called a hemorrhoid. This tender, painful extrusion can look like a genital wart at first glance.
Zits. They’re not just for teenagers and faces. Acne can spring up anywhere hair follicles exist, which means all the sexy parts are up for grabs by those pesky pimples. Just remember, clogged, puss-filled and infected pores can look like more than what they really are.
When a foreign substance or material is introduced to the skin and you have an allergy to it, a visible histamine reaction takes place. This extremely itchy, swollen, pink raised area of skin may raise a red flag or two in your eyes, but an OTC antihistamine will usually clear it up.
Do your beef curtains have too much yeast? An overgrowth of a fungus called candida contributes to a foul, fishy discharge and cottage cheese-like consistency. While it is passable to a partner, it’s not caused by drug-resistant gonorrhea and is usually treatable with OTC medicine.
You know that oily, sludgy, viscous white stuff under the hood of your clitoris or foreskin? That’s smegma. It’s a sticky, stinky substance secreted by the body to allow freedom of movement. If left unwashed it can look like an infection caused by chlamydia.
What do Clara Bow, Cindy Crawford, Janet Jackson and Madonna have in common? Beauty marks. Often referred to as moles, these dark, circular growths on the skin may resemble a wart but they are harmless and not contagious.