Strictly speaking, it is not possible to get pregnant from anal sex. However, if semen enters the vagina at any point, pregnancy can occur.
The chance of becoming pregnant from anal sex alone is small, but there is still a possibility — especially if people are engaging in other sexual activities.
There are many myths regarding pregnancy and sex, such as whether a person can get pregnant from foreplay and whether the pull-out method works.
In this article, we debunk these myths and more. We will also uncover the truth behind the misconceptions.
Pregnancy occurs when a live sperm, contained within semen, connects with a mature egg in the uterus or fallopian tube.
The American Sexual Health Organization define anal sex as when a male puts their penis in another person’s anus. In theory, this should keep all semen and sperm away from the vulva and vagina.
However, if semen leaks out of the anus or spills into the vagina, there is the potential for pregnancy.
Although the chance of getting pregnant from anal sex is rather low, the risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection (STI) is much higher.
To reduce the risk of getting an STI, always use a condom during any kind of sexual activity.
There is a higher risk of transmitting or contracting an STI during anal sex than vaginal sex, especially if people do not use condoms.
This is because the rectum does not produce its own lubricant, and the skin is very tender, so it can tear easily. If the skin breaks, it becomes much easier to pass or contract infections.
Infections that people can transmit via anal sex include:
- human papillomavirus (HPV)
- hepatitis viruses
- herpes simplex
- genital warts
To reduce the risk of getting or spreading an STI via anal sex, it is very important to use condoms all the time, even on sex toys. Change condoms if switching to or from anal, vaginal, or oral sex.
It is also important to use lots of lubricant to prevent damage to the skin. Use only water based lubricant, as oil based lubricant can break condoms.
Some common misconceptions surrounding sexual health include:
Can you get pregnant using the pull-out method?
Hoping to prevent pregnancy by removing the penis before ejaculation is not a reliable form of birth control.
It can be difficult for a male to tell that they are about to ejaculate, or control it, and the fluid that the body releases before ejaculation (precum) may contain sperm.
According to the Center for Young Women’s Health, 22% of females who use withdrawal practices will get pregnant within a year.
Can you get pregnant from foreplay?
Touching and caressing, even while naked, is not likely to cause pregnancy.
However, it is important to use protection, particularly when genitals are involved.
If, during foreplay, there is semen on the clothes, the hands, or anywhere near the vagina, sperm could conceivably make their way through the cervix and uterus into the fallopian tubes and cause pregnancy.
Can masturbating before sex lower a male’s sperm count enough to prevent pregnancy?
According to Planned Parenthood, masturbating does not lower an individual’s sperm count. This is not an effective way to prevent pregnancy.
Is it safer to use two condoms instead of one?
Using two condoms is riskier than using one. Using two condoms increases the friction and makes it more likely that one or both will break or tear.
Condoms are only effective when people use them correctly. Always follow the instructions.
Can you use plastic wrap or a balloon instead of a condom?
Do not use nonapproved barrier methods to prevent pregnancy or the spread of STIs. Condoms use a specific design to prevent these things.
Other items might hold in air, water, or even freshness, but they are not guaranteed to be effective.
Does douching after sex prevent pregnancy?
Douching — that is, squirting water or other liquids into the vagina to rinse it out — is not a good way to prevent pregnancy because it will not remove all sperm.
Most doctors do not recommend that people douche or wash the insides of their vaginas because there is no need to do so and because it can increase the risk of infections.
Does the birth control pill prevent pregnancy as soon as a person starts taking it?
It takes up to 7 days after a female starts taking the birth control pill for them to be effective.
Pregnancy due to anal sex is very rare. However, getting an STI is much more likely, so using a condom when engaging in anal intercourse is always a good idea — even if pregnancy is not a concern.
Many common myths about what does and does not prevent pregnancy — such as douching after sex — are simply not true.
As a general rule, people who are sexually active but seeking to avoid pregnancy should always use proven forms of birth control. Also, the consistent use of condoms can help prevent the spread of STIs.
Talk with a healthcare provider or seek professional sources of information on safe sex to learn more about effective forms of birth control.