Sexually Speaking

Dear Alexis, Lately I’ve been noticing little white bumps around my bikini line. At first it was only one, but now I’ve been seeing more of them. They don’t itch or hurt or anything and they go away after a couple days, but I don’t know what it is and I’m starting to freak out. I haven’t had sex before, so I don’t see how it could be an STD. Do you know what it could be? Sincerely, Freaking Out

Dear Freaking Out,

There are a couple different possibilities for what could be going on. If you shave around your bikini line, the bumps could simply be irritation or ingrown hairs. They could also be what are referred to as ‘pearly papules.’ These are small, hard, white pinhead-sized bumps on the genitals of both males and females and aren’t painful. They may appear on the labia or perineum of a female, and on the shaft or head of the penis or on the testicles of a male. Eventually they migrate to the surface, the skin breaks and they disappear, but they may be reoccurring. They are benign and not contagious. Do not try to scratch or pop them; this will create openings in the skin that will leave you vulnerable to other infections.

The exact cause of pearly papules is unknown, but some believe it is simply a natural part of maturation. Just to be safe, you should consult a doctor about reoccurring bumps or any changes in your genital area.

Be safe and have fun!- Alexis


Greenberg, Jerrold S. Exploring The Dimensions Of Human Sexuality. 2nd ed. Ed. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlet Publishers, Inc., 2004.

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