Can You Get Pregnant From Swallowing? And 13 Other Sex Questions, Answered
1. Is it possible?
No, you can’t get pregnant just by swallowing semen. The only way for pregnancy to occur is if sperm comes in direct contact with the vagina.
Although swallowing semen doesn’t lead to pregnancy, it can put you at risk for a sexually transmitted infection (STI). That’s why it’s important to make sure that you and your partner are on the same page.
Before you get hot and heavy, take a few minutes to discuss your birth control options and whether you’ve been tested for STIs.
Below, a few other questions that might come up when you and your partner chat.
2. But what if you French kiss your partner after, and then they go down on you
While pregnancy isn’t completely impossible in this situation, the chances are pretty low. Sperm is digested similarly to food, so it starts getting broken down immediately after entering your mouth.
To err on the side of caution, you could always use a dental dam or other barrier method when you or your partner go down the second time.
3. Is oral sex safer than vaginal or anal penetration?
Although oral sex can’t cause pregnancy, the Center For Disease Control And PreventionTrusted Source confirms that it can spread STIs.
However, it’s difficult to evaluate which type of sex — oral, anal, or vaginal — is the most likely cause of individual STIs.
That’s because many people who have oral sex also have anal or vaginal sex, which can make it hard to isolate the source of the infection.
4. Can you get pregnant if your partner pulls out?
Although the pull-out method is a fairly popular means of birth control, it isn’t particularly successful at preventing pregnancy when used alone.
According to Planned Parenthood, the pull-out method is so difficult to perform perfectly that about 1 out of every 5 people who rely on withdrawal become pregnant.
Doubling up with another birth control method, such as the pill or an IUD, can help reduce your risk for pregnancy.
5. Can you get pregnant if your partner fingers you while semen is on their hands?
Though it’s possible to get pregnant in this situation, the reality is that it’s very unlikely.
While sperm can live inside the uterus for up to five days, they typically die much faster once they’re exposed to air and begin to dry out.
To be on the safe side, have your partner wash their hands before you get back to business.
6. Can you get pregnant as a result of anal sex?
There isn’t an internal connection between the anus and the vagina, so sperm can’t swim through the cracks.
However, there’s still a small chance of pregnancy. It all comes down to two things:
- whether your partner ejaculates near your vagina
- whether they accidentally spread semen from your anus to your vagina after ejaculation
The best way to prevent this from happening is to ensure that your partner cleans the ejaculate off of their penis before switching to vaginal penetration. This will also reduce your risk for a urinary tract infection.
It’s also a good idea to wash off the penisTrusted Source before switching to vaginal penetration to avoid spreading intestinal parasites and bacteria that are found in feces.
7. Can you get pregnant if you’re using a condom?
When used consistently and correctly, condoms are one of the most effectiveTrusted Source options for contraception. However, typical use isn’t always in line with perfect use.
On average, outside condoms — the ones worn on the penis — are 87 percentTrusted Source effective at preventing pregnancy.
This means that 13 out of every 100 people relying on outside condoms will become pregnant.
On average, inside condoms — the ones inserted into the vagina — are 79 percent effectiveTrusted Source at preventing pregnancy.
This means that 21 out of every 100 people relying on inside condoms will become pregnant.
If you’re relying on a barrier method, you can increase its efficacy by:
- checking the expiration date and other signs of wear and tear
- making sure that it fits properly
- using it only once
- not using oil-based lubricants such as massage oils, baby oil, lotions, or petroleum jelly with latex condoms
- ensuring that it’s put on correctly
8. Will using two condoms increase their efficacy?
According to Columbia University, doubling up on condoms can increase friction and encourage tearing.
This means that seminal fluid may be released inside the vagina, increasing the risk of pregnancy and STIs.
The bottom line? Stick with one condom, and consider doubling up with different form of birth control.
9. Can you get pregnant if it’s your first time?
You can definitely get pregnant the first time you have sex.
Breaking your hymen has nothing to do with your ability to become pregnant. In fact, some people break their hymens during nonsexual activities or don’t experience a break at all.
Pregnancy is possible any time there’s vaginal penetration with a penis — even if the person who has a penis doesn’t ejaculate. That’s because pre-ejaculate, or pre-cum, also contains sperm.
It can also happen if they ejaculate outside, but near, the vaginal opening.
10. Can you get pregnant if you’re on your period?
Sure, it might seem counterintuitive to get pregnant when you’re on your period, but it’s still possible. It all comes down to your ovulation cycle.
Your risk of pregnancy is greater toward the end of your period, when you’re closer to ovulating.
Sperm can live in the uterus for up to five days after ejaculation, so the closer you are to ovulation, the higher your risk.
11. Can you get pregnant at any time of the month?
In contrast to the question above, you can’t get pregnant at any time of the month. It depends on your individual ovulation cycle and fertility window.
Ovulation usually happens around day 14 of a 28-day menstrual cycle. Not everyone has a 28-day cycle, so the exact timing can vary.
In general, ovulation occurs in the four days before or four days after your cycle’s midpoint.
The six days leading up to and including ovulation make up your “fertile window.”
If your partner ejaculates inside your vagina during this time, sperm may linger in your fallopian tubes, ready to fertilize the egg once it’s released.
If you want to avoid pregnancy, it’s important to use condoms or another form of birth control during this time.
12. Can you get pregnant if you have sex standing up or in water?
Despite the myriad of myths out there, it’s possible to get pregnant in all positions and under water.
If you aren’t using birth control, it doesn’t matter what position you and your partner choose or how creative you get with your limbs — you’re still at risk for pregnancy.
The same goes for having sex in water. And no, the temperature of the water won’t “kill off sperm” or otherwise reduce your risk.
Correctly and consistently using birth control is the only way to prevent pregnancy.
13. What are your options for emergency contraception?
If you’re worried that you may become pregnant, talk to your local pharmacist or other healthcare provider about emergency contraception (EC).
Although hormonal EC pills are most effective when taken within 72 hours, they can be used for up to 5 days afterward.
A copper intrauterine device (IUD) can also be used as EC if it’s inserted within five days of semen exposure.
EC pills may be less effective for people who have a higher body mass index (BMI).
There isn’t any research to suggest that the copper IUD is similarly affected by BMI, so this option may be more effective.
14. When should you take a home pregnancy test?
If you’re experiencing unusual symptoms and you think you could be pregnant, take an at-home pregnancy test.
The earliest signs of pregnancy include:
- breast tenderness
- mood swings
- food aversions or cravings
For the most accurate result, wait to take the test until the first day of your missed period.
If your periods aren’t regular, wait until about three weeks after the last time you had sex.
If you receive a positive result — or want to be sure about a negative result — see a doctor or other healthcare provider. They can confirm your result and advise you on any next steps.
The bottom line
If you’re concerned about pregnancy, see a doctor or other healthcare provider. They may be able to prescribe emergency contraception.