Can you get pregnant from precum? It’s a question that haunts every teenager’s mind when they first become sexually active, and the thought of an accidental pregnancy worries both boys and girls equally. The responsible answer would be to just use a condom or some other more effective form of birth control, but with unprotected sex continuing to rise over the years I think it’s time we finally put this overwhelming debate to an end.

In every corner of the internet there are differing opinions on whether or not you can get pregnant from precum, but the problem with opinions is that they are completely worthless with a question like this. Do you really want to leave a situation of potential pregnancy up to chance and opinion? I don’t think so. You want the facts. You want an absolute yes or no. In order to explain whether or not you can get pregnant from precum, first you have to understand exactly what precum is. Otherwise, the next article you read might be about running during pregnancy because you and your partner didn’t take the time to read the facts.

What Is Precum?

Precum, medically referred to as pre-ejaculate, pre-ejaculatory fluid, or pre-seminal fluid, is a clear fluid released by the Cowper’s glands in the male reproductive system. Pre-ejaculate itself does not contain any sperm (at least, it’s not supposed to anyways – more on this in the next section). As the name implies, pre-ejaculatory fluid is released before ejaculation; in other words, before sperm. The purpose of this fluid is essentially to create a way for sperm to reach the eggs inside the vagina. The environment inside the vagina is normally very acidic, which is hostile and harmful for sperm, so pre-ejaculate enters the vagina and neutralizes the acid so that sperm actually has a fighting chance of reaching an egg to fertilize.

Think about it like this. You live in Boston, and overnight last night you guys got 2 feet of snow. You need to drive to work in the morning, but how the heck are you going to get there with the roads covered in snow? With the help of a snow plow, of course. Snow plows push the snow off the road so that you can drive to work. This is the same concept of precum. Precum paves the road for sperm to reach the egg.

So If Precum Doesn’t Contain Sperm, I Can’t Get Pregnant, Right?

That’s the theory, but before you jump off your iPhone and back into bed with you boyfriend or girlfriend, there’s a little more to it than that. Remember what I said in the last section? Pre-ejaculate itself isn’t supposed to contain sperm, but depending on certain circumstances that we’re about to go over, sometimes it does.

Pre-ejaculate and sperm both use the same path to exit the body: the urethra. That means if there are any traces of sperm still in the urethra from a previous ejaculation, it could potentially be picked up by precum on the way out of the body. In other words, if you’re a guy and you’ve ejaculated sometime in the last week, and you have sex again right now, when your precum is released it could pick up the sperm that was left over from your last ejaculation and be carried into the vagina. And this, my sexually active friends, is how precum can get you pregnant.

There was a medical study done in 2011 that examined the sperm content of precum. As the study reads, it was designed to establish whether sperm was or was not released with precum, and whether precum therefore poses a risk for unintended pregnancy. The doctors of this study gathered 40 samples of pre-ejaculate from 27 different men, and the results are not in your favor if you’re hoping I’m going to tell you that precum won’t get you pregnant. Eleven of the 27 men (41%) produced samples that contained sperm, and in 10 of those 11 men (37%) the sperm was still live and swimming. There goes the whole idea of “pulling out,” sorry guys.

So Can Precum Get You Pregnant?

Even if you’re a pull-out pro, the situation described above is exactly how you can get pregnant from precum. Once the sperm contained in that precum enters the body, it can fertilize the egg, no if’s and’s or but’s.

With that being said, I’m going to play devil’s advocate here for a minute, because I’ve been in the unprotected sex situation and I want to be as open-minded as possible. The medical study noted above provides undeniable proof that precum can contain sperm and therefore get you pregnant. However, the study was only done on 27 men. Plenty of people will argue that this is not a big enough test group to say that 37% of men have precum that contains live sperm, and that I agree with. Twenty-seven people is a very small test group, and if you want to prove that 37% is the correct number then you need to test hundreds or even thousands of men.

But that’s not what we’re here to answer. We’re not here to talk about how many men produce precum that can get you pregnant, we’re here to say either yes or no to the question, “Can you get pregnant from precum?” And to that, the answer is yes. Absolutely. You CAN get pregnant from precum. The actual percentage might be up for debate, but whether it’s possible is not.

If you don’t want to get pregnant, using a more effective form of birth control is the best way to go. Whether it’s using a condom or taking a monthly birth control (both would be better, to be honest), these are the best ways to avoid an unintentional pregnancy as they offer the highest form of protection. Pregnancy should be an intentional thing. It should be when you want, with who you want. The last thing you want is to be dealing with the stress of an unexpected baby bump because you ignored the facts about pregnancy and precum.