Heather Corinna replies:
I shook hands with a male chef whose hands were completely dry. After that I went to pee in the hotel bathroom. I had touched the knob, the door and pulled my jeans down with the same hand. What bothers me is I had used the same hand to touch my sanitary pad to centre it and then pulled my pants back on. Due to men masturbating and peeing etc.. sometimes if they don’t wash their hands or just wipe them off and its dried later does sperm live on their hands? And then when they shake my hand can that sperm be transferred to my hand and after touching my sanitary pads which are close to my vagina, can the sperm enter me? Can any of this crap get me pregnant? First of his hands were completely dry and so were mine. And I am sure chefs wash their hands.. but what if they don’t… he wasn’t cooking at that time. Its possible he had completely sperm free clean hands and I am just going insane!
I only shook his hand... is any of this possible?
This is absolutely, positively, no cause for concern.
Sperm can't live in dried semen, and generally only thrive in moist semen that is outside the body (save in a lab environment where it's carefully preserved) for about 20 minutes at a maximum. Too, when men urinate, there generally isn't semen involved, and honestly, most grown men aren't masturbating in the middle of their workday, and even when they are, tend to care enough about their jobs that they're not going to just walk around with unwashed hands full of semen.
Heck, plenty of the time when men DO masturbate, they can wind up with little or no semen on their hands in the first place, and plenty of men DO take basic care of their hygiene in terms of handwashing after toileting -- they are grownups, after all.
Really, there's no reason to worry about pregnancy from casual, nonsexual contact: pregnancy happens from sexual contact with very direct genital and fluid contact -- not from toilet seats, shaking hands, doorknobs or the like. Understand, too, that while pregnancy is a gamble physiologically - in other words, people don't even become pregnant everytime they have unprotected vaginal intercourse -- it's often not as easy to come by as it seems, even from the MOST likely way for it to happen. For plenty of couples, it takes months (and often enough, more) of timed, unprotected intercourse to conceive.
So, for the most part, if you're not having unprotected genital sex, there's just no reason to worry about pregnancy.
The only one thing I can add to this that is a minor concern -- and only because my mother, who is an infectious disease expert, would wag her fingers at me if I did not -- is that in some respect, the age-old advice to always wash hands after toileting could stand to be imporived. Ideally, if we REALLY want to protect our genitals from germs -- not sperms -- we should be washing hands before AND after. But again, this is more of a concern per general bacteria, not per pregnancy. And even then (sorry, Mom) it's a bit iffy since when we're toileting as women, we pretty rarely are touching our genitals directly, anyway.