Pre-cum and Pregnancy: What You Must Know

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Many men and women wonder whether pre-ejaculate (commonly known as pre-cum) can cause pregnancy if a man’s pre-ejaculate gets near or inside a woman’s vagina during sex without a condom. The answer? Usually not but, in some cases, maybe. Here’s why:

1. Pre-ejaculate is composed of fluid made by the Cowper glands, two small glands inside the body toward the base of a man’s penis (and possibly some other small glands contribute to this fluid, too).

2. Pre-ejaculatory fluid is actually pretty awesome. Since urine (pee) leaves a man’s body through his urethra, the pH (thanks to urine) is not necessarily “friendly” for sperm. So what does the body do? It gives us pre-ejaculate which helps to neutralize the urethra, thus creative a safe passageway for sperm.

3. As sperm are made in the testes, a man’s pre-ejaculatory fluid does not contain sperm. This has been documented in research, which suggests that pre-ejaculate would not - under typical circumstances – get a woman pregnant. That said, there are some situations in which pre-ejaculatory fluids could “pick up” leftover sperm in a man’s urethra on their way out, such as if a man had just ejaculated (leaving sperm in this urethra), waited a while (without peeing, which could have swept the sperm away) and then gotten aroused again and had sex. In this case, pre-ejaculatory fluid from the second arousal might “pick up” leftover sperm from the first ejaculation and those sperm could potentially cause a woman to get pregnant if the man’s pre-ejaculatory fluid them delivered them to her doorstep, so to speak.  

4. On a related note, not all men are able to control the timing of their ejaculation. Many men – especially young men and men who are new to sex or haven’t had sex in a long time – may find that they come more quickly than they would like. Therefore, although pre-ejaculate itself wouldn’t normally get a woman pregnant, the reliance on the withdrawal method of birth control (“pulling out” before ejaculation) is often not recommended as a man may have good intentions to withdraw, but find that he pulls out too late, thus getting semen (that contains sperm!) in his partner’s vagina.

5. Pre-ejaculatory fluid, while typically free of sperm, can transmit infections such as HIV. As such, unprotected sex (sex without a condom) carries a risk of infection even if the sex lasts only for a few seconds or minutes. If you are not sure if you or your partner has a sexually transmissible infection (STI) or if one or both of you does not want a pregnancy, consider abstaining from intercourse or using a condom during intercourse. 

Read Related Articles on MSP:
- Q&A: Can a woman get pregnant from a man’s pre-ejaculate (pre-cum)?
- Do birth control pills cause weight gain?
- Q&A: Is it safe to swallow semen?
- Does semen volumen decrease with age?

[Above photo taken of a shop window in Florence, Italy in February 2009.]

About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at www.sexualhealth.indiana.edu.

  • anon

    just fuck her and who cares what happens

  • anon

    just fuck her and who cares what happens

  • wlyn

    uhmmm i had sex with my girlfriends but i never really experienced to cum inside them cause I’m just to afraid to cause pregnancy and get attached if I’m not yet ready..uhmmm actually it takes me a very long time before having ejaculation when in actual intercourse, maybe because I’m always too careful and thinking too much when I’m having sex,maybe b4 when i red in 1 FHM issue how to postpone ejaculation and satisfy your partner more. But when I’m just masturbating, I can cum in a matter of minutes. ok back to the idea, well I dont knw but 4 me its satisfaction already better than widrawal, I masturbate right before I have sex, kinda dumb to think but my penis dont get wobly with just cumming,mine stays hard,and more just my instincts i thought n if ther’s left over sperms in my track, i should wash them away b taking a pee after i cum to prevent them to rot or something that may cause bad things to my track like UTI etc.so actually my technic was kinda fool proof, everytime i feel im almost having an orgasm i excuse a minute to go to shower and cum there and return and continue were we left, uhmmm thinking that more ladies may prefer it safer since they will no longer be too much worried of getting cum inside their vagina, well i dont know if it applies to all guys, im just 26 nw, last sex i had was just last week and i cum 4x that means 4 excuse to the shower and the time was non of them was less than 15mins of continuous intercourse, weh i wouldn’t earn a damn thing if i lied here right, i wouldnt fuck waste my tym to reply. I just happened to search coz a kuhai asked.hehe well its simple cum and pee then back to the game. plane and simple.

  • wlyn

    uhmmm i had sex with my girlfriends but i never really experienced to cum inside them cause I’m just to afraid to cause pregnancy and get attached if I’m not yet ready..uhmmm actually it takes me a very long time before having ejaculation when in actual intercourse, maybe because I’m always too careful and thinking too much when I’m having sex,maybe b4 when i red in 1 FHM issue how to postpone ejaculation and satisfy your partner more. But when I’m just masturbating, I can cum in a matter of minutes. ok back to the idea, well I dont knw but 4 me its satisfaction already better than widrawal, I masturbate right before I have sex, kinda dumb to think but my penis dont get wobly with just cumming,mine stays hard,and more just my instincts i thought n if ther’s left over sperms in my track, i should wash them away b taking a pee after i cum to prevent them to rot or something that may cause bad things to my track like UTI etc.so actually my technic was kinda fool proof, everytime i feel im almost having an orgasm i excuse a minute to go to shower and cum there and return and continue were we left, uhmmm thinking that more ladies may prefer it safer since they will no longer be too much worried of getting cum inside their vagina, well i dont know if it applies to all guys, im just 26 nw, last sex i had was just last week and i cum 4x that means 4 excuse to the shower and the time was non of them was less than 15mins of continuous intercourse, weh i wouldn’t earn a damn thing if i lied here right, i wouldnt fuck waste my tym to reply. I just happened to search coz a kuhai asked.hehe well its simple cum and pee then back to the game. plane and simple.