Curated from: Learn - shy
Whenever someone mentions pre-cum, I’m always reminded of a sex-ed class I attended in secondary school. The topic taught that day was about unwanted pregnancies. After an hour-long session of staring at photos of dead foetus cells and bloodied abortion procedures (guilt trip much?), my friend came to me after class and freaked out because her boyfriend had pre-cum on his fingers while he fingered her. She didn’t get pregnant from that but her concerns were very valid, and it’s a story I’ve heard multiple times over the years due to how common small accidents with pre-cum happen.
Let’s delve deeper into the topic of pre-cum: What exactly is it, and can it actually make people pregnant?
Can you get pregnant from Pre-cum?
Pre-cum does not actually contain sperm, BUT it is possible for sperm to leak into it
Pre-ejaculate, or pre-cum, is produced by the Cowper’s gland with the intent of acting as a natural lubricant and to protect sperm. Since sperm and semen exit the body from the urethra, the sperm cells can be killed by the pH in the urine. The alkaline pre-cum neutralises any acidity left by urine in the urethra so that the sperm that flows through is protected (in order for it to fulfil its natural, biological purpose).
Pre-cum itself does not contain sperm, but some sperm can still remain in the urethra, and hence carried out of his body and into hers. (Each ejaculation contains about 200 - 300 million sperm, some are bound to still remain in his urethra.) In fact, a study found that around 17% of pre-cum contained living, mobile sperm.
*Side-note: this is why it’s so important to remember to pee both before and after sex!
Though uncommon, it is possible to get pregnant from pre-cum
On top of the reasons mentioned above where pre-cum might accidentally contain a little bit of remaining sperm, people with penises are also unable to tell exactly when the pre-cum is released (unlike during an orgasm).
The release of pre-cum is an involuntary body function, and cannot be controlled. Even if he pulls out before ejaculation, pre-cum is still likely to have entered a partner’s vagina. Once the sperm enters a female’s body, it can live for up to 5 days and can fertilise any eggs that are ovulated within this period. Therefore, this is why the pull out method is not recommended!!
As the effectiveness of the pull out method is only 78%, there is a high chance that the 22% of unwanted pregnancies may have been caused by pre-cum.
For safer birth control and contraception methods, click here!
What can someone do if they come into contact with pre-cum?
Since the intent is still to get rid of the sperm in a female’s body, pre-cum can be dealt with in the same way as normal ejaculate. These include taking Morning After pills or inserting a copper IUD (as long as it’s within a 7 day time frame from the contact with sperm). For telehealth emergency contraception pills, click here to find out your options!
Pre-cum can pass sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
Before you decide that you can put on a condom only when ejaculation is about to happen remember that you still have to protect yourself against sexually transmitted infections!
Since STIs are usually transmitted through bodily fluids, pre-cum is no exception. Pre-cum can carry bacteria, viruses, and other disease-causing organisms that transmit STIs, such as HIV or chlamydia. This is why using protection and practicing safe sex is so essential! Do remember to use condoms when giving oral sex to someone with a penis since the likelihood of coming into contact with pre-cum is much higher.