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Ask Allison #4!

Hi folx! If you read Ask Allison #1, you know this is a space where I post questions asked to me anonymously and answer them. Thanks to those of you who've asked me questions this week!


Dear Allison,

My boyfriend and I have been having sex without a condom recently and he's been pulling out as our primary form of birth control. He's been really reassuring that he always pulls out before he orgasms, so there shouldn't be a risk of pregnancy since no sperm are leaving his body. But I'm not fully convinced. Should we be using condoms or other types of birth control? What's the risk of getting pregnant from pre-cum?

Sincerely,

Skeptical Sally


Hi Skeptical Sally,

Thanks for your question! Unwanted pregnancies can be really stressful for all parties affected, not just the person who gets pregnant! It sounds like you and your boyfriend have had some communication around safe sex, which I love to hear. Keep those communication channels open! 

To answer your questions, I’ll first note that using birth control such as condoms is always a great idea, especially if you aren’t using any other forms of birth control like the pill, IUD, shots, etc. Condoms are also one of the only methods of birth control that prevent STIs as well as unwanted pregnancies, which is equally as important in terms of your health and safety, in my opinion. Yes, even when you’re in a monogamous relationship. I’m not insinuating you or your partner has been unfaithful - I just mean to say you only 100% know what yourself has been up to. As a side note here, I get tested every single year, regardless of who I’m with or who I’ve been with. 

In terms of pregnancy risk for your situation, it’s not a simple answer, but I’ll try to keep it as simple as I can. Technically, your boyfriend isn’t correct: pre-cum, or pre-ejaculate, can contain some sperm cells. Pre-ejaculate is a liquid secreted by the penis during arousal and before orgasm to A) rid the urethra of any potential contaminants so the sperm are unencumbered getting into the outside world, B) to lubricate the penis for its next activities so that there is less friction and the sperm can swim better, C) to neutralize the pH of the vagina so the sperm have a higher chance of surviving the harsh environment that is a vagina. It’s actually kind of cool when you think about how all of those things work together. 

What isn’t cool? Having an unwanted pregnancy because there were a few sperm cells in his pre-cum that made it through to your egg. The risk of this is somewhere around 22%, which is more than a one-in-five chance. That means for every five times he pulls out, one of those times could be the time you get pregnant. 

The bottom line is…for sure use contraception if you don’t wanna get pregnant! Depending on if you have insurance, lots of methods are free or at a very reduced price. Talk to a doctor to decide which kind of contraception will be best for you and remember to always keep some condoms on-hand. Trust your instincts and make sure you aren’t feeling pressured into anything, such as not using condoms. If you feel like something isn’t right, it probably isn’t.

I hope you find the perfect solution to this challenge! May you have many more pregnancy-free, pleasure-full sexy times ahead! 

~Allison


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