Written and Medically Reviewed by Dr Benjamin George, MBBch, BAO, LRCP & SI, FRCS, AM, ISAPS, CMTP. Updated as of May 15, 2021.
- In fact, a study published in 2011, found mobile sperm in 37 percent of pre-cum samples given by 27 men.
- Pregnancy is most likely to happen when you’re ovulating, however, it can occur at any time during the fertility window.
“Can I get pregnant from pre-cum?"
Unprotected sex runs the risks of pregnancy. To add to this, withdrawal (or pull out) as a form of contraception increases such risk. If you have unprotected sex, what does it mean for you? One question you may wonder about is, “can I get pregnant from pre-cum?"
Does pre-ejaculation fluids contain sperm?
Pre-ejaculation, or more colloquially pre-cum, is a whitish fluid that is discharged from a penis when aroused and can unknowingly occur any time during arousal but more commonly right before ejaculation. The fluid acts as a natural lubricant during sex.
The pre-ejaculation fluid comes from the 'cowpers gland', as opposed to the testicles, and therefore, on its own does not contain sperm. However, since both pre-ejaculation (or pre-cum) and sperm flow through the urethra (ejaculatory duct), some of the fluid can still contain thousands of live sperm as a result of semen cross-contamination from a previous release.
In fact, a study published in 2011, found mobile sperm in 37 percent of pre-cum samples given by 27 men. Supporting this, another 2016 study found mobile sperm present in the pre-cum of nearly 17 percent of its male participants. The fact remains, sperm can exist in pre-cum.
So what about pregnancy?
Pregnancy is most likely to happen when you’re ovulating, however, it can occur at any time during the fertility window. The fertility window is the date of ovulation and the 5 days before such date due to the lifespan of sperm. Once inside a body, sperm can live for as long as five days and may be found in a women's reproductive tract post intercourse. Therefore, if you ovulate within 5 days of the last time you had unprotected sex, there is a possibility that sperm may still be there and alive.
Pregnancy happens when a sperm fertilizes an egg, which can happen even if you've not had sexual intercourse (or vaginal penetration).
During penetrative sex (where the penis enters the vagina), and the male ejaculates, semen is released. Semen is a whitish liquid produced during male ejaculation and contains millions of sperm, as opposed to the thousands in pre-cum.
A women's ovaries release 1 or more eggs (ovulation) 12-16 days before a menstruation period starts.
The sperm enters the body through the vagina. Once inside, it travels through the cervix and womb to the fallopian tubes, where the egg is usually fertilized (conception) by sperm -carried by semen or pre-ejaculation fluid.
RELATED: How do I get pregnant?
In a scenario where a man whose penis was never inserted into a vagina, and only the tip of his penis (with precum) comes into contact with the outside of your vulva, it's extremely unlikely that precum on the outside of the vagina will lead to pregnancy. The risk of getting pregnant in this way is very low because sperm can only live for a short time outside the body,
However, about 4 in 100 women will get pregnant from precum but is increased, especially during a women's fertile periods (ovulation – which usually occurs 12 to 14 days before the next period starts).
Since sperm has a five-day life span inside your body, if you have sex regularly for five days before, as well as on the day you ovulate — known as “the fertile window” — you have a higher chance of becoming pregnant.
When it comes to sex, our culture, values, and beliefs define our perspective. However, regardless of our beliefs, research shows that sexual intercourse can have life-altering impacts on a person’s, emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical being.
As a counselor, I often counsel people getting married, for which, I use a great resource: Focus on the Family. If you have any questions about pre-marital sex, regardless of your spiritual beliefs, you should read Focus on the Family.
Does Sex Bring You Closer As A Couple?
Alice Fryling, in an article titled, “Why Wait for Sex?” writes:
“Genital sex is an expression of intimacy, not the means to intimacy. True intimacy springs from verbal and emotional communion. True intimacy is built on a commitment to honesty, love and freedom. True intimacy is not primarily a sexual encounter. Intimacy, in fact, has almost nothing to do with our sex organs. A prostitute may expose her body, but her relationships are hardly intimate.”
A study of 100,000 women linked “early sexual experience with dissatisfaction in their present marriages, unhappiness with the level of sexual intimacy and the prevalence of low self-esteem.”
There is no doubt sex will produce a short-term chemical response in your body that makes you feel ‘closer’, there is no guarantee that it will produce long-term emotional closeness or relational satisfaction with that person. However, it will produce dissatisfaction in the long run in your long-term relationships leading to emotional worry from emotional comparison, which can lead to mental anxiety.
The fact remains, that “the works of the flesh are evident." Sex is best enjoyed when it is unique and exclusive, that happens when the emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental are aligned with a commitment to one another.