6:28 pm - 05/05/2005

Pregnancy without penetration

I feel like I'm always arguing with people about this point. I get comments like "no penetration, no pregnancy, period!" and that's simply not true. While the chances of pregnancy without penetration are small, it is possible and it does happen. Anytime you get ejaculate or pre-ejaculate on your vuvla, or on any object touching your vuvla, it is possible to become pregnant, even if there's no penetration.

Here are some quick google links, but when I get some more scholarly resources, I'll put those up as well. If you have any better resources, please list them.

It's so irresponsible to tell a women that she can roll around in sperm and be 100% safe so long as she wasn't penetrated. It kills me when I see people giving this advice. It's just not true.

The chance is small, but not non-existent.

http://www.teenwire.com/index.asp?taStrona=http://www.teenwire.com/ask/articles/as_20010801p254.asp

http://www.teenhealthfx.com/answers/Sexuality/1008.html

http://www.canfp.org/artman/publish/article_63.shtml

http://www.teenadviceonline.org/archive/43721.html

http://health.ivillage.com/sexualhealth/sxsafe/0,,1f6,00.html

http://www.estronaut.com/a/pregnant_no_intercourse.htm
mercurysmile 5th-May-2005 10:30 pm (UTC)
hehe...I like the image of a woman rolling around in sperm.
_willendorf_ 5th-May-2005 10:34 pm (UTC)
lol. I probably could have pharased that better. ;)
luvu4legos2 5th-May-2005 10:35 pm (UTC)
i actually once read an article about a virgin who got pregnant b/c her bf came near her or on her when they were fooling around...sperm got in her vagina, and she got pregnant. i think it was like in YM magazine or something.
scarsnsouvenirs 5th-May-2005 10:47 pm (UTC)
I remember reading that, too...it was a while ago, wasn't it? The one I recall was at least 5 years ago. I'm asking cause it's kinda cool that we'd remember the same obscure article. :)

P.S. I'm diggin' your icon.
ihateyourds 6th-May-2005 12:21 am (UTC)
I totally remember that. It might have been in Seventeen since I was subscribing to both of them at the time. But I recall an article about a girl who'd gotten pregnant, spotted randomly throughout the whole pregnancy and had apparently not put on much weight and carried the baby up high so she didn't even know she was pregnant. And then she went home early from school one day with stomach cramps and gave birth while sitting on the toilet!
finding_helena 6th-May-2005 01:02 am (UTC)
"Sex Shocker: I'm a virgin, but I'm pregnant!"

I remember seeing that lovely headline on one of the covers of YM... almost 10 years ago now probably.
skylark777 6th-May-2005 03:59 am (UTC)
omg i love your icon
would it be rude of me to ask where you got it from? :\
punk_is_so_dead 5th-May-2005 10:46 pm (UTC)
ah THANK YOU! :)
ihatepavel 5th-May-2005 10:55 pm (UTC)
I think it's more of a question of likelihood. Though there is a POSSIBILITY of pregnancy resulting from someone whose partner's pre-ejaculate penis grazes against her thigh, I'm not sure that we should be encouraging her to worry overly much about that possibility. Though it is possible, it is unlikely, and I don't see anything wrong with stating exactly that.

Of course, suggesting that those who are sexually active use protection if they are worried about pregnancy is sensible; I don't want to debate that point at all.

Anyway, I am not ready to argue that pre-ejaculatory does or does not contain viable sperm. Like you, I have always heard that it has. But since someone in a recent comment said that recent scholarship indicates it does NOT contain viable sperm, I did a quick check and came up with this study that appeared in the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics:

http://tinyurl.com/bufny
Short Communication: Does Preejaculatory Penile Secretion Originating from Cowper's Gland Contain Sperm?
Abstract Purpose: To determine if spermatozoa are present in the preejaculatory penile secretion, originating from Cowper's gland.
Methods: Design: Prospective clinical and laboratory study. Setting: Andrology and Sex Counseling Unit, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Academic Teaching Hospital. Patients: Five patients referred for premature ejaculation, three for excessive fluid secreted during foreplay and four normal healthy volunteers. Intervention: Glass slide smears of preejaculatory Cowper's gland secretion obtained during foreplay from at least two different occasions, and semen samples after masturbation. Main Outcome Measures: Microscopic examination of air-dried smears, and routine semen analyses.
Results: None of the preejaculatory samples contained sperm. All the patients had sperm in routine sperm analyses.
Conclusions: Preejaculatory fluid secreted at the tip of the urethra from Cowper's gland during sexual stimulation did not contain sperm and therefore cannot be responsible for pregnancies during coitus interruptus.

I'm not familiar with how that study was received, so I don't know that I would take that as the be-all-end-all on the subject, but at least it's a more academic study. Still, I remain unconvinced either way, and similar studies done to determine presence of HIV in pre-ejaculatory fluid have found that it does contain it. So it is wise to use condoms to prevent against any transmission of STIs, regardless.
ihatepavel 5th-May-2005 10:57 pm (UTC)
PS: Quick oversite I just noticed in my comment...obviously I was only addressing pre-ejaculatory fluid. Regular ejaculate of course contains viable sperm in most "normal" men (sorry, couldn't figure out a better way of phrasing that). Hope I didn't come across wrong!
sulingsi 6th-May-2005 01:29 am (UTC)
that study sounds pretty reasonable, but the worst thing it has going for it is a sample size of like 10 people. i'm no expert on pre-ejeaculate, but i know in my limited experience that it varies a lot from man to man, and if it were me worrying about getting pregnant, i wouldn't want to rely on a study of 10 guys.
ihatepavel 6th-May-2005 02:46 am (UTC)
Yeah, totally.
The two things that make me skeptical:
a) it is a small sample size.
b) it is ONE study.

The two reasons I included it:
a) it is a legitimate academic study published in a peer-reviewed journal
b) it was the only scientifically legitimate study I came across involving pre-ejaculatory fluid and the presence of sperm.

Like I said, I'm unconvinced either way, but it's a question of risk and how much of it you're willing to take. It is even possible to become pregnant with a tubal ligation, so...
feckalyn 6th-May-2005 03:36 am (UTC)
http://www.livejournal.com/community/vaginapagina/5162998.html?thread=57230326#t57230326

Here's two more that meet your criteria for posting also showing the lack of viable sperm in pre-cum :)

(Though, admittedly, also both small sample sizes).

I suspect one of the issues that we're overlooking is that when the preseminal fluid is produced in the Cowper's Gland it is 100% free of sperm, just for reasons of anatomy; the question is what is the likelihood of stray sperm leftover from recent ejaculation getting picked up in pre-cum as it leaves the urethra.
ihatepavel 6th-May-2005 03:40 am (UTC)
Thanks! I saw those studies but beyond noting their existence in the last paragraph of my above comment, I just breezed past them because a) I am far too ignorant to be able to understand them on any kind of thorough level, and b) I am lazy and figured solely based on the briefs that they were unrelated to pregnancy.

This is the reason you are a mod and I am just a member! ;-)
slytherinblack 5th-May-2005 11:04 pm (UTC)
clionne 5th-May-2005 11:29 pm (UTC)
The "take 20 aspirin" one is especially worrisome. No, it won't prevent pregnancy, but you could wind up with salicylate poisoning...
rockstarbob 5th-May-2005 11:05 pm (UTC)
Thanks for posting this! I'm putting in the Archives momentarily.
aechei 6th-May-2005 12:52 am (UTC)
please dont! her information is incorrect and the sources are not reliable ones
_willendorf_ 6th-May-2005 12:54 am (UTC)
I admit I rushed with the sources, but I don't believe my information is inacurate.

rockstarbob 6th-May-2005 01:47 am (UTC)
I've alerted the other VP Teamsters about your concerns, so we'll see what they say. I'm all for leaving this in the archive, however, since we've got some good conversation going.
clionne 5th-May-2005 11:33 pm (UTC)
Don't you just wanna say: Listen up, people! Those little guys swim! ...Til they die or get to their destination.

I just don't see how you can argue with that...
sulingsi 6th-May-2005 01:37 am (UTC)
yeah but then again, millions of them die when they hit the air, when they get into the vagina (which is actually an unfriendly environment in terms of pH etc.), and so forth.

the problem with encouraging people to believe that sperm have superhuman strength to impregnate you is that you strike fear into the hearts of people who have very little in the way of resources for support or for pregnancy tests or for birth control.

if you join up the amipregnant community, you'll see posts every day about people panicking that they're pregnant despite the fact that they didn't have sex. yet sperm really don't have much ability to survive in the air, in water, on cloth, wherever.

i think you do more harm by asserting that people can get pregnant via fingering or through clothing/dry humping than good. as long as you explain to people that getting ejaculate INTO your vagina (and i emphasize INTO) puts you at risk of pregnancy with the caveat that it must have just come out of the penis and not been through handwashing, showering, several minutes of being dry on someone's hands.... there could *possibly* be a risk in that case of getting pregnant.
aechei 6th-May-2005 12:54 am (UTC)
preejaculate is not a significant pregnancy risk. there is research which has been posted here repeatedly that states that there is not viable sperm in precum.

your sources are not reliable, medical sources, and they really should not be relied on for important health information.
feckalyn Boy, you didn't know what sort of can of worms you were reopening here, didya? :)6th-May-2005 04:36 am (UTC)
Ok, I looked through your references and here's some observations in relation to sperm in pre-cum getting on vulvas causing pregnancy:

teenwire states:
"Pregnancy can happen — with or without penetration — because during sexual excitement a fluid leaks out of the penis. It's known as pre-ejaculate — it's similar to semen and may carry sperm."

and estronaut states:
"Preceding ejaculation, the penis emits a small amount of fluid that is used as a form of lubrication during intercourse. Sperm may indeed be present in this fluid, so there is a definite possibility for pregnancy even though ejaculation did not take place."

The keyword in both of these is "may"...so nothing definitive there.

teenhealthfx.com and ivillage don't address the presence of sperm in pre-ejaculate at all, just the possibility of getting pregnant without penetration when sperm is present. With that I am have no issue :)

canfp.org states:
"In fact it is possible to achieve a pregnancy without penetration or ejaculation. The reason for this is that the pre-ejaculate of the male contains a high concentration of sperm."

and teenadviceonline.org states:
"You can get pregnant from no penetration. Even the clear lubricating fluid a man secretes is full of sperm."

But they offer no citation for their assertions that there are a high concentration of sperm in pre-ejaculate (and the teenadviceonline one has a disclaimer that states: "Disclaimer: Teen Advice Online is a team of non-professionals, ages 13 and beyond, providing suggestions for your problems" which leads me to essentially dismiss their information.)

If you think about male reproductive anatomy, it makes sense. Pre-ejaculate is produced in the Cowper's glands which empty into the urethra below the prostate. The fluid from these glands flows into through the urethra and out the urethral opening, alkalinizing the urethra to make it more sperm-friendly, and providing lubrication for intercourse. The sperm, on the other hand, are produced in the testes, and mature and generally reside inside the epididymis. During sexual arousal, contractions of the vas deferens move the sperm up toward the ejaculatory duct. The sperm stay in the epididymis and vas right up until the moment of ejaculation, at which point intense rhythmic contractions of the epididymis, vas, seminal vesicles and prostate propel the sperm and various seminal fluids out through the urethra.

So, in summary, I agree completely with your point that you can get pregnant without penetration, but I'm more of the "I'm not so certain" mind when it comes to the presences of sperm in pre-cum :)
brn_eyd_grl 13th-May-2005 09:29 pm (UTC)
I knew a girl in high school that got pregnant and she never even had sex. Apparently she was fooling around with a guy, he never penetrated her, but sperm got inside her and she got preggers.
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