We’ve all seen them, the panicked “Could I be pregnant?” questions. I am always amazed at how little sexually active grown-ups know about the reproductive system and the risk involved when having sex so I have decided to write a myTake covering the issues which get queried quite often. I know a lot of you will be thinking to yourself “Who doesn’t know that a blow job can’t get you pregnant?”…..more people than you’d think unfortunately! I will also highlight the risks and opportunity to get infected with STD’s for those unclear.
What is it? Putting someone’s genitals in your mouth (fellatio, cunnilingus, blowjob, going-down)
What can I catch? The most easily transmitted are gonorrhoea, genital herpes and the more rare syphilis, but it is possible to contract chlamydia, HIV, Hepatitis A, B and C, genital warts and pubic lice from oral sex.
How can I prevent this? Use condoms and don’t have oral sex if there are any herpes like open sores or warts visible however, The type of HPV that causes genital warts can live in the skin without causing symptoms to an infected person. However, it can still be possible to transfer the virus when warts aren’t present. I believe there are also devices/products which can be used to put in between the persons mouth and the genitals to avoid the skin on skin contact required to pass some of the conditions. These are more prevalent in the States so I’m afraid I don’t feel comfortable explaining the benefits and uses of such things beyond their existence and purpose.
Can I get pregnant from it? No. You cannot get pregnant from oral sex.
What is it? Physical stimulation of a man’s penis using the hand of someone else.
What can I catch? Warts, repetative strain injury
How can I prevent this? For hand stimulation, you could wear a latex glove as well as the man wearing a condom, just make sure it doesn’t come into contact with any other body parts when you’re done. And be aware that no protection is fool proof - any sexual activity with someone who’s infected with genital warts puts you at some risk.
Can I get pregnant from it? No. Not even if you have ejacualte on your hand and touch your croth, the likely hood is so low I am saying it's virtually impossible.
This is the most common one that causes confusion and worry as people seem to have very little knowledge on sperm, how it travels and how long it stays alive.
What is it? Dry humping is generally when two people simulate sex by rubbing themselves against each other. Often this is done with clothes on, sometimes only underwear.
What can I catch? Similar to the hand stimulation this is skin on skin contact so the main concerns will be warts and herpes. Herpes through kissing is always a risk whether the person has a sore or not they may still be able to pass the virus onto you. Same goes for genital warts and herpes.
How can I prevent this? There isn’t much you can do if there are no visible signs and you are determined to have skin on skin contact. Asking your partner if they have any conditions and a visual check are about as far as you can go without having a medical test prior to the act.
Can I get pregnant from it? Ok – so this is often asked as sometimes the woman will allow the man to ejaculate on her body, sometimes around the genitals. If the semen (the fluid containing the sperm) is dry then the sperm are dead. Sperm have no sense of direction so the idea that they will somehow search out the vagina and impregnate is rather ridiculous. The only chance of this happening is if the man was to ejaculate directly onto or into the vagina opening, and even then the chances are about as high as when using contraception. With no sense of direction the most likely scenario is they will never even make it close.
Put it this way, there has never been a case other than the birth of Jesus son of Mary, where a virgin gets pregnant”
To make this very clear, if a man ejaculates on a woman’s breasts, face, hands, legs, ear she will not get pregnant. Sperm cannot travel anywhere near the distances required and unless you are smothering your fingers with cum and then putting them inside her, sperm on hands will not be a threat either.
Penetrative, Vaginal Sex
What is it? Penis in vagina action, when a man puts his erect penis inside a woman’s vagina and ejaculates there without ‘pulling out’
What can I catch? Well, this is how the majority of sexually transmitted diseases are passed. Here is a list of some of the diseases and related conditions which can be passed from person to person from having full, penetrative sex; Bacterial Vaginosis (BV), Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Hepatitis (Viral) Herpes, HIV/AIDS, Human Papillomavirus (HPV), Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) which can cause infertility in women, Syphilis, Trichomoniasis.
How can I protect myself? Many STD’s and STI’s do not have any immediate symptoms so the person infected may not even know they are infected. Using condoms is the most effective way of protecting yourself but the best way to be sure is the have a test. It isn’t the most romantic of conversations to have during the early days of a relationship, but I think a lot of people are more than happy to have a check-up as long as the subject is approached in an adult manner and both parties agree to it (no point in just one of you being clear if the other is a walking petri dish of disease!). So, for STI’s condoms really ae the best method.
Can I get pregnant from it? Absolutely, definitely YES. If you are having unprotected vaginal intercourse then yes, there is an 80% chance EVERY TIME of you becoming pregnant if the man ejaculates inside the vagina.
Is the “Pull-Out” method effective? It’s a game of chance. Sperm is present in pre-cum, this means a man does not have to ejaculate in order to release the sperm. Although it is a much smaller amount and the likelihood much lower, it is still a risk. There are thousands upon thousands of sperm in each ejaculate and it only take ONE to fertilise an egg and it only takes half a second delay in pulling out to leave thousands of the little swimmers inside you. Boys and girls – DON’T RISK IT! IT IS NOT A METHOD OF CONTRACEPTION! You may have been using it for days, months, years even but it still doesn’t mean it’s safe or reliable.
Penetrative, Anal Sex
What is it? Penetrative sex where the anus is the orifice of choice, as opposed to the vagina. Anal sex has a higher risk of spreading STIs than many other types of sexual activity. This is because the lining of the anus is thin and can easily be damaged, which makes it more vulnerable to infection. This is why lubrication is always advised to avoid any unnecessary friction and tearing.
What can I catch? Chlamydia, genital herpes, genital warts, gonorrhoea, HIV, syphilis
How can I protect myself? Use condoms, plenty of lube and go slowly. As the anus does not naturally lubricate itself it is much easier for tearing to occur and therefore much easier for infections to get into the bloodstream. This is why people used to associate HIV and AIDS with the gay community as it is much easier to pass through blood contact. Use water-based lubricants, which are available from pharmacies. Oil-based lubricants such as lotion and moisturiser can cause latex condoms to break or fail so always be wary of any lotions on your hands or massage oils.
Can I get pregnant from it? Absolutely, definitely NO. Women do not keep eggs in their bottom (well, some might but that’s a whole different myTake, ha!) so therefore ejaculating inside of an anus will in no way risk pregnancy.
Sperm – The Facts
I often see questions asking about sperm and whether it can get someone pregnant in this situation or that, so here are a few basic facts about the sticky stuff….
Now – sperm cannot survive outside of the body on dry surfaces for very long at all. For instance, clothing or bedding – it will be dead before it has dried, so there is NO risk of getting pregnant from ejaculate on sheets or underwear, however, in warm and wet environments (such as a bath tub) it can last a little longer, although still not a great amount of time and the likely hood of a woman becoming pregnant from such an incident is extremely, extremely slim. Inside the body it can last up to five days, so if you have had unprotected sex you could fall pregnant up to five days later. Sperm can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 12 hours to reach the egg and once there is must compete against the others to try and fertilise it. Only one will win!!
There are roughly 300 million sperm per millimetre of ejaculate, to put it into imperial for you Americans: that’s about 1500 million sperm per teaspoonful”
Contraception – What’s out there and how effective is it?
Nothing is 100% reliable. There is always a small margin of risk. There are many different forms of contraceptives available so there will be something to suit everyone’s needs and lifestyle. Most, if you read the leaflets that come with it will say that effectivness sits around the 98% mark.
The most common is The Pill. There are two types of pill, one which has just one type of hormone in and one which is a mix of two (combi-pill). There are hundreds of different brands and most will have a different effect on the user. Some must be taken at the same time each day to be effective, whereas others – as long as they are taken every day will still be effective, the time is a little more flexible. The Pill is usually taken for three weeks out of four, sometimes no pill will be taken for the fourth week and some will have a sugar-pill or something similar, nothing which effects the body but is just there to help you keep on track. If you miss a day with your pill then the effectiveness of the hormone will be lessened. You will be more likely to get pregnant if you miss days.
Then there is The Injection, The Implant, The Patch. All of these methods use the same hormones to prevent pregnancy but they are less susceptible to human error and forgetfulness. The injection and implant both last for around three months. The implant is a small device which is placed under the skin. It releases the hormones over a period of 12 weeks. Once it has run out it must be replaced if you wish to remain protected. The Injection works in a very similar way. The hormones are injected into the body, usually in the bum or thigh, and they then gradually release over a period of 12 weeks. The Patch is changed weekly and releases hormones into the body through skin contact, much like a nicotine patch would. They are easy to apply and easy to change and Justas effective as other methods.
Then we have IUD’s (In Uterine Devices) or also known as The Coil in some places. There are two types of IUD’s; the hormonal and the copper. The hormonal works similar to the previously mentioned methods – it releases a form of the hormone progestin into the uterus. The progestin thickens the cervical mucus so that sperm can't reach the egg, whereas the copper IUD releases copper into the uterus, which works as a spermicide. Copper changes the make-up of the fluids in the womb and fallopian tubes, stopping sperm surviving there. IUDs may also stop fertilised eggs from implanting in the womb. The copper IUD is an effective alternative to the hormone based contraceptives but it does have to be fitted by a doctor or qualified nurse. It can be uncomfortable and a little painful but once it is fitted it can remain effective and in place for up to 12 years, depending on the type.
Then we have condoms, we all know about condoms and how they work. They prevent the sperm from entering the body and when they don’t fail are probably the most effective method, especially when used in conjunction with another form of contraception. Most condoms are a one-size-fits-all, so unless the man has an abnormally large or small penis then there should be no issue with the size. One thing to bear in mind is latex allergies, this can easily be overcome as now latex free condoms are easily available. You must be careful when using oils and lubricants though and read the instructions on both the condoms and the lubrication/oil as it can damage the integrity of the condom and cause it to break. Not cool!
As well as condoms there is also the Diaphragm available. This is a large rubber disc type thing which must be inserted into the vagina just before sex. Its aim is to act like a damn and prevent the sperm from reaching the egg but this too can be susceptible to chemical interference so please, check the instructions on bottles and such before use. I’m sure there are other methods but these are the most commonly known.
If you do suspect you might be pregnant, take a test asap. Don't wait around at home worrying about it, time is ticking and it's easy to find out if you are or not. Take a test and visit your GP to be extra sure, you will most likely be stressing for no reason. The female menstrual cycle can be highly sensitive to stress and other such things so you may just be out of sync and scaring yourself needlessly, so get a test!
Well that is the end of myTake, I hope this take has been of use to someone out there or at least puts to rest some pregnancy scares that some may be having.
Have fun but always remember: Play safe :)