The words "penis bumps" strike fear into the heart of any man, and for good reason. While sometimes the cause is simply contact with an irritant or a lack of proper hygiene, a rash in the region may also indicate an infection that not only bothers the man affected, but can be passed onto partners. Whenever a rash appears on or around the penis, a man should have it diagnosed by a medical professional and refrain from sexual contact until the cause is known. Proper diagnosis and treatment is necessary for penis health as well as responsible sexual conduct. The following are a few causes of penile rash that are contagious.

Molluscum Contagiosum

Molluscum is a virus that causes a rash, often in the genital area. It is passed through skin-to-skin contact. This virus doesn’t pose any health risks to infected individuals, and the body fights it off eventually; this can take a couple months or several years.

Molluscum contagiosum manifests as a group of little bumps that are pink or flesh-colored. They are generally shiny and smooth, with a dent in the center. The bumps associated with this rash are painless.

Potential partners should be made aware of what this rash is - a contagious but harmless virus. They will have to choose whether or not to expose themselves to this innocuous, but perhaps aesthetically unappealing, bumpy condition.


This sexually transmitted infection (STI) occurs when a person is infected with one of two herpes simplex viruses: HSV-1 or HSV-2. These viruses are spread between partners during sexual contact.

Unlike molluscum contagiosum, whose only symptom is bumps, herpes causes great discomfort. The rash is characterized by several blistery bumps that are filled with fluid; they may itch, break open and ooze. Condoms offer only limited protection against spreading this virus, since the blisters can appear on other places besides the penis or vaginal cavity. On a man, they can show up on the penis, testicles and anus.

As of right now, herpes is for life - there is no cure for the virus. However, antiviral medication can reduce the intensity and frequency of outbreaks. The bumps are not permanently present; they come and go. With proper treatment, they may be gone longer.


Scabies infestation occurs when a very small insect called the human itch mite sets up shop in a person’s skin. The insects mate on the surface of the skin; then, the females burrow under the skin’s surface to lay eggs. Scabies can be picked up from another person’s skin or from contact with clothing, furniture or other objects with the bugs on them.

The rash associated with scabies can appear in different ways. It may be scaly, pimply or blistery. One consistent feature is itching; the scabies rash is particularly itchy at nighttime, as this is when the bugs are most active.

Resolving scabies requires a combination of medicated lotions and thorough cleaning of one’s home. Lotions kill the insects, and doctors may also prescribe other lotions or antihistamines to help manage the associated itch. Bugs that have fallen off the body can survive in one’s bedding, clothes, etc. for days. All things washable should be washed in hot water; other surfaces should be vacuumed.


Almost all cases of genital warts are caused by one of two strains of the human papilloma virus: HPV 6 or HPV 11. This is an STI, passed through skin-to-skin contact. Condoms don’t offer full protection against the spread of warts, since the virus can appear beyond the penis and vaginal cavity.

The warts associated with HPV are soft and fleshy; they may appear in clusters resembling cauliflower. Sometimes, the bumps itch. They may show up on the penis, scrotum, thighs and/or anus.

Warts may be removed with the use of a special prescription ointment; they can also be burned, cut or frozen off (by a trained medical professional only). In some people, the warts go away on their own, although it’s uncertain whether the virus remains in the body or not.

Less Serious Rashes

If a man has confirmed that his penis bumps are not caused by a contagious virus or infestation, he may find that he’s simply been exposed to an irritating substance or that his skin is too dry. In these cases, a penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil) may be sufficient to help the skin heal. Emollients like Shea butter and vitamin E restore smoothness, hydration and elasticity to rough skin. Check with a medical professional before applying to damaged manhood skin.