Field of Science

TMI Friday: A Nasty Rash

Urticaria is a disease that causes rashes, and is most commonly caused by allergic reactions. However, there is one form of this disease known as "Dermatographic Urticaria" which occurs because of excessive scratching or stroking of the skin.
This weeks TMI Friday we are looking at a surprisingly unusual cause of Dermatographic Urticaria.
A 30 year-old, married male reported to the ... Department of Skin and VD (venereal disease) with a history of recurrent itching, redness and swelling on the penis 1-5 minutes after masturbation for the last three months. These lesions persisted for 4-6 hours after which they gradually disappeared of their own accord within 24 hours.
 That's right. Excessive "monkey spanking" can give you a nasty rash. These rashes only occurred after masturbation, and not during intercourse with his wife. It should be noted that he wasn't using any kind of cream or "lubrication" to aid his masturbation. One would think that our patient would stop masturbating when they developed Urticaria, and perhaps engage in more intercourse with their wife. The authors of this paper write one sentence to explain it.
... finding masturbation to be more satisfying than normal vaginal intercourse, the patient continued to masturbate.
 Patients with Urticaria and other skin disorders have been suggested to not find sex as fun as everybody else (Which is a fair cop if you are covered from head to toes in painful rashes).
You may think that using a lotion of some sort would have helped this patient, but as was pointed out in a letter to the journal, the symptoms exhibited here are similar to a disease known as "Pressure Urticaria". When pressure is applied to the skin of someone who has this disease, they will develop a rash in the manner described by the authors.

Ghiya B., Mehta R. & Bumb R. (2008). Masturbation: Can it be urticarogenic?, Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology, 74 (4) 384. DOI:

Godse K. (2009). Urticaria and masturbation, Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology, 75 (5) 516. DOI:

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