Turns out you can get pregnant without having penetrative sex. It’s unlikely, but it’s still possible. Here, we answer some important questions.
There’s no truth to the warnings you might have had when you were a teenager that kissing can make you pregnant.
But if sperm gets close to your vagina – even if no penetrative sex happens – it’s possible that you could get pregnant.
It isn’t very likely, but it’s possible.
With the help of embryology expert Navya Muralidhar, we explore how.
In this article: 📝
- Pregnant without having sex FAQs
- Is it possible to get pregnant without having sex?
- What is a virgin pregnancy?
- Can a woman get pregnant without a man?
Pregnant without having sex FAQs
Let’s start by separating fact from fiction:
Can I get pregnant by just rubbing?
If you both keep your clothes on, then no, you can’t get pregnant by rubbing up against each other.
But if your partner has semen on their penis or hands and either one touches your vagina, then yes, there’s a chance you could get pregnant.
Can I get pregnant by sitting on a toilet seat?
Semen loves warm, moist environments – basically, the opposite of a toilet seat!
And even if the sperm has recently been placed there (like, very recently), the chances of it getting to where it needs to be in your vagina are incredibly small.
So small that, really, getting pregnant this way is practically impossible.
How can a woman get pregnant without unprotected sex?
There are some deliberate ways to get pregnant that don’t involve sex.
Artificial insemination – like Intrauterine insemination (IUI) – and in vitro fertilization (IVF), for example, are fertility treatments that can help you get pregnant.
They don’t involve sex at all.
What they do involve are procedures such as egg retrievals and embryo transfers, aiming at a healthy pregnancy.
Can a woman get pregnant without breaking her virginity?
The answer to this question really depends on how you define “sex” and “virginity.”
If you believe that you’re still a virgin until you have penetrative sex, then yes, you could get pregnant without necessarily breaking your virginity.
Is it possible to get pregnant without having sex?
First, it’s a good idea to have an understanding of what happens during penetrative sex.
Here we go!
Penetrative sex is when the penis enters the vagina.
If you aren’t using any contraception, such as condoms, the pill, or an IUD, one of your eggs could be fertilized by your partner’s sperm when they ejaculate.
An egg can’t be fertilized if it hasn’t been released from your ovary, and this usually only happens once a month, often about 14 days before your next period starts (though every woman is different).
This part of your cycle is called ovulation.
If the timing is spot-on and one of your partner’s approximately 100 million sperm (yes, you read that right) manages to find your egg, it’s likely you’ll get pregnant.
(This isn’t always the case, though, and there are some reasons why you might not get pregnant this way.)
But generally, having penis-in-vagina sex makes pregnancy likely because the conditions are perfect.
The semen gets deposited near the cervical region.
It’s warm and cozy, so the sperm survive, and your body produces a type of fluid when you ovulate that helps them to swim through the uterus and to the egg easily and freely.
It’s a win-win-win for fertilization!
While penis-in-vagina sex is the easiest way to get pregnant, it is possible to get pregnant without having your partner’s penis inside you.
And it has a little something to do with foreplay.
Before your partner comes, they could produce something called pre-ejaculate or pre-cum – and this can be carried on fingers, toys, and mouths, too.
Wait, can precum get you pregnant easily?
Pre-cum doesn’t always have sperm in it, but a study in 2016 showed that almost 17% of men or people with penises have active sperm in their pre-come.
If you’re practicing the pulling-out or withdrawal method, this is definitely something to keep in mind.
“Another thing to remember is that the beginning part of the ejaculate contains higher amounts of sperm,” says Navya.
“If either pre-come or your partner’s first fraction of the semen gets close to your vagina, there’s a chance that you’ll get pregnant.
Whew, that was quite a download!
Still have a few more questions?
Don’t worry, we’re not finished yet.
What is a virgin pregnancy?
A virgin pregnancy is when someone who has never had penetrative or vaginal sex gets pregnant.
In 2013, a study of 7,870 women found that 45 women (0.8% of the total) reported at least one virgin pregnancy “unrelated to the use of assisted reproductive technology.”
This means that they didn’t use any of the medical treatments that help with fertility struggles (we’ll look at this in a minute).
The study also found, however, that the women who reported so-called “virgin pregnancies” had often signed chastity pledges.
And their families also often didn’t have open lines of communication about sex and birth control.
It’s likely that even though they might not have had penetrative sex (and therefore considered themselves virgins), they’d probably performed other sexual acts that led to their pregnancy.
Can a virgin get pregnant if sperm is on the outside?
In order for you to get pregnant, sperm does need to get inside your vagina.
If sperm lands somewhere on the outside of your body, you won’t get pregnant unless it gets moved somehow to your vagina.
And remember: if you or your partner have pre-come or semen on your hands or a toy, you could place it into your vagina without realizing it.
Can a woman get pregnant without a man?
You can certainly get pregnant without having direct contact with a man or someone with a penis, but you will still need semen.
Artificial insemination and IVF are examples of this.
With artificial insemination, a doctor or fertility specialist places a processed semen sample directly inside your uterus.
The sperm can either come from your partner or a donor.
Intrauterine insemination is the most common and successful type of artificial insemination.
IVF is a bit more complicated and involves using both medication, laboratory and surgical procedures to help sperm fertilize an egg.
Your doctor will retrieve eggs from you and incubate them with your partner or a donor’s sperm.
Once fertilization occurs and embryo development happens, they’ll transfer one or two healthy embryos back into your uterus.
The IVF process can take some time and, sometimes, several attempts.
If you do want to get pregnant but can’t or don’t want to do it by having penetrative sex, there are definitely other options available to you.
The Peanut community is definitely one safe space where you can explore every avenue with women who have been where you are.
And if you don’t want to get pregnant, it’s important that you look for a type of contraception that feels right for you.
Having unprotected sexual contact can be risky, even if you don’t have penetrative sex.