Can You Get Pregnant Without Sex?

July 2022

Pregnancy without penetration is possible, but likelihood of pregnancy is low. Without penetration, only small quantities of sperm will enter into the vaginal canal, which will make eventual fertilization of the egg very difficult.

Outside of the body, sperm cells have limited mobility and can only survive for a few minutes. They can remain viable for longer, however, in hot and moist environments.

In order for pregnancy to occur without sex, ejaculation must take place near the vagina and contraceptive methods must not be used. There needs to be a chance for the sperm to enter the vagina and there must be sufficient quantity of viable sperm cells to fertilize an egg.

Highest likelihood of pregnancy

For pregnancy to occur without penetration, contraceptive methods should not be used. Some situations that may additionally increase your likelihood of getting pregnant include:

  • Placing a finger or objects that have come in contact with sperm inside the vagina;
  • Ejaculation that occurs near the vagina (for example near or over the groin);
  • Placing an erect penis near the vaginal canal.

In addition to these situations, interrupted intercourse, which is the removal of the penis from the vagina before ejaculation, may also put you at risk for pregnancy. This is commonly referred to as the “pull-out method.” Even if there is no ejaculation during penetration, the pre-ejaculatory fluid may still contain sperm cells, which may be sufficient for egg fertilization to occur.

The possibility of pregnancy when wearing underwear when no penetration occurs is still questionable, as it is not yet known whether sperm cells can pass through the material and reach the vaginal canal. It is also important to note that ejaculation during anal sex can lead to pregnancy if seminal fluid leaks and flows into the vaginal region. However, this situation usually does not usually increase the risk of pregnancy as there is no physical link connection between the anus and the vagina. Unprotected anal sex can, however, put both the woman and man at risk for catching a sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

How to prevent pregnancy

The best way to prevent an unwanted pregnancy is by using a contraceptive method. Some options include condom use, birth control pill, IUD or diaphragm, which are all safe ways to prevent sperm cells from reaching and fertilizing the egg. Learn about your different birth control options and their advantages or disadvantages. 

Only male and female condoms are able to prevent pregnancy as well as the transmission of sexually transmitted infections. These are recommended for those who have more than one sexual partner. Read about the most common STIs and how you can protect yourself.

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Edited by Tua Saude editing team in July 2022. Medical review completed by Dr. Sheila Sedicias - Gynecologist in August 2019.

References

  • LAMPIAO, F. Coitus Interruptus: Are there spermatozoa in the pre-ejaculate?. International Journal of Medicine and Biomedical Research. International Journal of Medicine and Biomedical Research. Vol 3. 1 ed; 1-4, 2014
Medical review:
Dr. Sheila Sedicias
Gynecologist
Physician graduated in Mastology and Gynecology by UFPE in 2008 and member no. 17459 of CRM-PE, Brazil.