Disclaimer: Becoming a father can be an amazingly significant transition in a man’s life. The circumstances under which a man discovers his partner’s pregnancy may be a joyful, momentous event, a fulfilling outcome to years of fatherly anticipation; or a pregnancy may bring feelings of anxiety, confusion, and the need for sacrifice if he cannot support another life for one reason or another. Bringing a new life into the world brings enormous responsibilities to the mother and father to ensure their child is happy and healthy. Here at SexInfo, we believe in the importance of widespread knowledge about the various ways a female can become pregnant and the degree of risk involved with certain sexual behaviors. We would like to help debunk certain myths about this topic and provide women and men either relief from their unnecessary anxiety, or affirmation of a potential pregnancy. If you are a male and wondering if you could have caused a pregnancy with a female sexual partner, see the below scenarios to see if one relates to your situation.
Zero Chance of Pregnancy
We were only kissing. There is no risk of pregnancy from kissing alone.
We were doing really deep kissing. Deep kissing does not involve the transfer of semen to the vagina so there is no risk of pregnancy.
She gave me oral sex and I ejaculated in her mouth. Although semen is being ingested, there is no way for sperm to unite with an egg when semen enters the female’s digestive tract. There is a zero chance of pregnancy from receiving oral sex from a female partner (however there is the potential transmission of sexually transmitted diseases without the use of a condom).
We slept in the same bed but did not do anything sexual. There is zero chance of pregnancy when two individuals do not engage in sexual activity of any kind. Simply lying beside a female without sexual interaction will not increase your chances of causing pregnancy.
We slept in the same bed and I got an erection, nothing else. There is zero chance of pregnancy when two individuals do not engage in sexual activity of any kind.
Low Chance of Pregnancy
I ejaculated but we were both wearing thick clothing. The chances of your partner becoming pregnant under this circumstance are small. Most likely, sperm will not be able to find their way through densely woven fibers.
I ejaculated but a long way from the vaginal opening. If you happen to ejaculate near your partner’s vulva (external genitalia), there is a slim chance that she could become pregnant. Sperm can be pretty strong swimmers. However, if you ejaculate anywhere else on her body (stomach, leg, arm, back, etc.), chances of pregnancy are virtually nonexistent. To calm your fears of an unintended pregnancy, just wipe off the semen after ejaculation, or better yet, use a condom for better protection.
We had penile-vaginal sex with a condom. Latex or polyurethane condoms (not lambskin/natural) provide an excellent source of pregnancy protection if used correctly not to mention protection against STI transmission. You and your partner must make sure the condom is undamaged (no rips or tears, no damage from extreme temperatures, etc.), within the expiration date (located somewhere on the wrapper), and applied correctly (rolled along the shaft of the penis with an air reservoir at the tip for the ejaculate). When you begin to withdraw, it is important to make sure the condom does not slip off the penis and is properly removed away from the vulva.
Medium Chance of Pregnancy
I ejaculated near the vaginal opening, but not in it. If ejaculation does not occur directly into the vagina, the chances of pregnancy are lower than if the ejaculate is released inside the vagina. Nevertheless, there is still the possibility that pregnancy can occur. Sperm may find their way into the vaginal canal even if semen made contact with the vulva (the female’s external genitalia). Making sure that you ejaculate away from the woman is one way to keep the semen away from the vaginal area.
I ejaculated near her vagina but we were wearing thin clothing. Sperm are still able to find their way through very thin clothing as long as they are alive. So, for example, if you ejaculated on her underwear, there is a possibility that the sperm could survive long enough to find their way into the vagina.
High Chance of Pregnancy
We had penile-vaginal sex with no condom. You are at the highest risk when having sex with no protection, especially if your female partner is not using a form of hormonal birth control, such as the pill. In order to maximize her protection from pregnancy, it is wise to use a primary and secondary method in combination with each other (i.e. a condom and the pill, condom and the shot, or withdrawal and an IUD).
We had penile-vaginal sex and the condom broke. This puts you at a high risk of pregnancy due to the likelihood that semen entered the vagina when the condom broke. It is important to check the quality of the condom and read the directions on the package to avoid a pregnancy mishap.
We had penile-vaginal sex using the withdrawal method. The withdrawal method is not a reliable source of birth control due to many factors. For example, a man may not be able to control his ejaculate long enough to “pull out,” especially if he is engaging in sex for the first time or ejaculates quickly. Also, the male’s pre-ejaculate, often called “pre-cum,” that is present before he orgasms may contain semen left in the urethra from his previous ejaculation.
When it comes to sex, communication is key. It is very important to talk to your partner about intimacy and contraception before sexual behaviors occur. Which methods are reasonable for your lifestyle? What sexual behaviors are you comfortable engaging in? If you decide not to use a method of birth control, are you at a point in your life where you could handle and support a pregnancy? If you have engaged in behaviors that may potentially result in pregnancy, consult a physician or contact your local family planning resource center.
Last Updated 20 February 2013.