If you've been with your partner for a while, there's likely been a time when you've gotten hot and heavy and forgotten all about that pesky little birth control. I have many a friend who have had many an unexpected third child due to this situation. Often, when it comes to the finishing line, you rely on the old "pull and pray" method to prevent pregnancy. But, does it work? What about all the action before the "withdrawal and wait?" It's definitely not without its fluids, so can you get pregnant from precum? Unfortunately, your sex ed class probably left you feeling a little uncertain on this topic.
Simply put — there would be far fewer babies born each year if the knowledge about sperm in precum were more common. In 2003, a study published in the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genes used small pools of men of varying ages and determined that there wasn't any sperm in precum. For many men, there might not be, or at least not living, motile sperm. However, a 2011 study in Human Fertility studied 27 healthy, reproductive aged men and found that precum can contain sperm. In 41 percent of the samples, sperm was present in precum and in 37 percent of those cases, "a reasonable proportion of the sperm was motile."
I remember an adamant husband of a friend who was just so, so confused as to how his wife got pregnant when his pull out skills were legendary. (Emphasis his.) I mean, he's the captain of that swim team, and his boys aren't doing the 50-meter freestyle anywhere he's not directing, OK? Alas, the only thing legendary about his pull-out method is the twins that resulted from it who have him so wrapped around their little fingers it's a wonder they have circulation. As it turns out, the myths about precum are wrong. There is sperm in precum and it can definitely get you pregnant irrespective of how good your partner is at pulling out.
I know that it's mind-boggling given how little pre-ejaculate leaks from an erect penis, but if you think about how tiny sperm are, it's not as shocking as all that. Sure, it looks like only a few scant drops of fluid, but it can actually contain upwards of 100 motile sperm, according to the previously noted study. That's more than enough to put a bun in your oven. Sperm measure on average about 50 micrometers from tip to tail, about 10 times smaller than the human egg, noted Live Science. They're so small that they're impossible to see with the naked eye — you have to use a microscope.
What you don't need to use a microscope for is the reaction on your partner's face when you tell him, "I'm late." For that you'll need an iPhone camera with slow-motion capability to catch every little action. You know what else catches just about everything? Condoms. Which is what you need to keep around at all times, or perhaps an IUD, some hormonal birth control, or a medieval chastity belt if you don't want to get pregnant. Pull and pray doesn't work. It may as well be called "pull and pregnant," because that's what can happen with the method.
In fact, four out of every 100 couples who rely on pull and pray alone will get pregnant within the first year of using that method, according to Bedsider. That's almost four times the amount of pregnancies that result from an IUD, which is statistically the most reliable form of contraception outside of abstinence.
So, can you get pregnant from precum? Ask my friend with the twins. If you like to live dangerously in your partnership, you might end up with your own cute set.
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