As promised, here’s the second and final part of this short series on getting pregnant, not getting pregnant, and having sex while pregnant. (Part one is HERE.) These questions all came from a recent Ask the Sexpert event with college-aged folks who were very curious about the specifics of contraception and conception. Being a sexuality educator and midwife, these questions were right up my alley!
Q: Can women actually get pregnant from precum?
A: Yes, they definitely can. However, it’s very unlikely. Precum is mostly lubricant, but it’s possible for a few stray sperm to be present. If those few sperm are healthy and highly motile, it’s possible for them to make the journey and make contact with a waiting egg. Your best bet for preventing pregnancy is to use birth control every time you have sex. If you’re using condoms, the condom should be on before the penis comes into contact with the vulva and vagina.
Q: Can you get pregnant from swallowing sperm?
A: Assuming oral sex is the only sex act performed (i.e. the penis does not come into contact with the vulva or vagina), then no, swallowing sperm can’t get a person pregnant. The alimentary tract (mouth, esophagus, stomach, intestines, and colon) is completely separate from the reproductive tract (vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries), and it’s not possible for the contents of one tract to migrate to the other. However, I always recommend that folks use condoms for oral sex, not to prevent pregnancy but to prevent STI transmission. Most of the common sexually transmitted infections can be easily passed orally.
Q: Can you get pregnant from having anal sex?
A: The answer to this question is very much like the answer to the previous question. If the penis doesn’t come into contact with the vulva or vagina, you can’t get pregnant from anal sex. And again, I recommend that you use a condom for anal sex to prevent STI transmission.
Q: Can a man get someone pregnant if he only has one testicle?
A: In most cases, a person with a single testicle still has at least some degree of fertility, though most of the time it is reduced. If you want to plan a pregnancy with your partner, this is not out of reach! If your goal is to avoid pregnancy, you will want to plan on using birth control for every episode of PIV (penis in vagina) sex. On average, fertility is reduced by about 50 percent, although it varies greatly from person to person. Some folks may still be as fertile as someone with two testicles, while others may have a very low rate and be unable to get another person pregnant without medical assistance. If a person with testicles (one or two) is concerned about their fertility, the best course of action is to see a doctor and request a sperm count.
Q: What are the chances of getting someone pregnant after having a vasectomy or getting your tubes tied?
A: Getting pregnant after a vasectomy or tubal ligation (the technical term for tying your tubes) is very uncommon. Technically, a vasectomy is a little more certain than a tubal ligation. A vasectomy is 99.9% effective, with about one pregnancy occurring for every 1000 vasectomies. A tubal ligation is 99.5%, with about one pregnancy occurring for every 200 ligations. For both vasectomies and tubal ligations, most of the risk is in the first year and then gradually reducing over time after that
Q: Is it safe to have sex while pregnant, and when is the best time?
A: Yes, it almost always safe to have sex during pregnancy. In fact, sex during pregnancy can be very good for you physically and emotionally as long you’re in the mood. In the rare instance where it’s not safe, your doctor or midwife will tell you explicitly to avoid sex. Sometimes a healthcare provider will recommend “pelvic rest,” which is code for “don’t have sex or orgasms.” If you haven’t been told to avoid sex, you’re good to go! As far the best time for sex in pregnancy, that’s really up to you. Some people enjoy sex through every stage of pregnancy, while other folks like it better during the first or second or third trimester.
Curious about cunnilingus? Anxious about anal? Do you have questions about queefs or problems with your prostate? Lucky Tomaszek is the education coordinator at The Tool Shed: An Erotic Boutique, Milwaukee’s only mission-driven, education-focused sex toy store. Send her an email at [email protected] and she’ll get back to you with an answer.