Pregnant without intercourse?

Dear Alice,

My girlfriend and I masturbate and have oral sex every day and we really enjoy it. One thing that concerns me is that although we have not had sex yet, we have frequent genital touch; we use our genitals to rub each other to get excitement. Will this cause some possibility of getting pregnant? Both of us have never had sex before.

Don't Know

Dear Don't Know,

It's great that you and your girlfriend have sexual activities you both enjoy while simultaneously thinking about ways of preventing pregnancy. To answer your question about the risk of pregnancy during your sensual sessions, it is very unlikely, but there is a small chance that your girlfriend could get pregnant without having vaginal sex. The good news is that there are a number of strategies and tools to prevent unintended pregnancy. Learning more about those options and finding one (or more!) that work best for the two of you may increase the likelihood of worry-free romantic romps in the future.

If the sperm from your ejaculate or pre-ejaculate gets into her vagina, there is small chance that sperm could swim up past her cervix, hook up with an egg, and fertilize it (a.k.a., conception). If you want to reduce the risk of pregnancy, you could either use a condom during your daily dalliances, or make sure both ejaculate and pre-ejaculatory fluids are far from her vagina. This includes wiping your hands clean if they come into contact with your semen before touching her. Again, the chance is slim, but sperm can be very motivated swimmers.

Have you talked with your girlfriend about pregnancy and pregnancy prevention? Has she considered using birth control? This is another option if you decide you want to reduce risk, especially if you decide to have intercourse later on. Additionally, it’s good to consider protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) — which can be contracted not just through vaginal sex, but through other sexual activities including skin-to-skin contact and via oral sex as well. Putting aside time for some pillow talk about safer sex with your girlfriend may be a good next step. To learn about the numerous options available, the two of you might be interested in perusing some Q&As in the Go Ask Alice! Contraception category for more information.

Last updated Apr 17, 2015
Originally published Nov 01, 1993

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