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Clearly, penetrative intercourse is one of the most pleasurable sexual activities around, but there is definitely something to be said for a little frottage. Like any form of direct-contact sexual activity, there are some risks to penis health that can be associated with frottage - and an itchy penis is one of them. Fortunately, taking a little extra care can often help keep the frottaged penis from descending into the realm of the itchy penis.
What is frottage?
If a person wants to be 100% technically correct, frottage refers to any kind of non-penetrative sexual activity in which the genitals of one partner are rubbed against or otherwise stimulated by any body part of another partner. Under this definition, a person being masturbated by another person (thereby engaging in hand-to-penis stimulation) would be engaging in frottage, as would a man whose penis brushed repeatedly against a partner's thigh or breasts.
In practice, however, frottage is usually reserved for occasions in which there is non-penetrative genital-to-genital contact. So if two men rub their penises together, or a man rubs his penis against a woman's vagina, they would be practicing frottage.
Is it safe?
The question often arises as to whether or not frottage is considered safe sex. The answer really depends upon the way in which safe sex is defined. For example, it is very unlikely (though not impossible) to contract HIV through bare-genital frottage. The practice is also not considered high risk for transmission of STIs like syphilis either. (Although again, it is not impossible for such transmission - and using condoms decreases the likelihood even further.)
However, there are a number of STIs that are more commonly associated with frottage. These include herpes, warts, scabies and chancroids. (Again, the use of condoms can reduce the risk of such infections.)
The itchy penis question
There also are more "benign" issues that could result from frottage, including those that can bring about an itchy penis condition. Some possible causes could be:
- Yeast. Rubbing a bare penis against another penis with thrush or against a vagina with a yeast infection can easily allow the infection to be passed on to a previously-clean penis.
- Latex allergy. If one partner wears a condom and the other does not, the latex may cause an allergic reaction if the bare penis is especially sensitive. In some cases, even if the penis does not have an allergy to latex, the condom may simply rub the delicate penis skin the wrong way.
- Contact dermatitis. An itchy penis and accompanying rash can easily develop on a penis that rubs against another penis or a vagina that has been exposed to harsh chemicals from soaps, detergents, perfumes, etc. If a metal cock ring is involved, or if the partner penis or vagina contains piercings that house metal components, the penis may react with a "rash" thanks to the friction caused by the metal.
Those who are worried about getting an itchy penis from frottage can take some precautions. Wearing a condom (if one is not allergic to it) is always a good option for minimizing itch. Bathing the partner's genitals with a non-allergenic soap and water mix can be fun as well as a good way to remove any potential itch-causing chemicals. And above all, ask if the partner has any issues (e.g., an STI, a yeast infection, etc.) before engaging in sexual play.
If frottage does lead to an itchy penis for simple dermatological reasons, know that using a superior penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin) can help to alleviate the itchiness. Be sure to find a crème that contains a dynamic duo of moisturizers, such as a high end emollient (Shea butter is excellent) and a natural hydrator (simple vitamin E works well). Well-moisturized skin is less prone to itchiness. If the crème contains pantothenic acid (also called vitamin B5), so much the better. Pantothenic acid is used in products that fight eczema and other skin rashes, so it can help decrease the need to scratch the penis as well.