FAQ: Can Precum Get You Pregnant?
So, we here at Teen Health Source get a lot of questions about precum. A LOT. We have some info about it buried on the Inside Scoop: Penis and Testicles* page, under the spot about the Cowper’s Gland. For this post we’re pulling some of that info out, and hopefully also addressing some of the stuff that comes up in our faqs about precum. Here we go!
What is precum?
- Precum is the pre-ejaculate fluid that can be released from the penis during sexual stimulation.
- Precum prepares/lubricates the urethra for ejaculation. The more lubricated the urethra, the easier it should be for sperm to make it out of a person’s body.
- Precum also acts as additional lubricant during sex.
- The amount of precum that is released varies from person-to-person. So the amount that you produce normally is whatever is normal for you and your body.
Can precum cause pregnancy?
- Precum itself should not contain any sperm and can therefore not cause pregnancy on its own.
- However, an earlier ejaculation (either from sex, masturbation, etc.) may leave some leftover sperm in the urethra. This sperm can get flushed out by precum (aka, the precum would then contain sperm), and together would have a chance to cause pregnancy.
- Urinating can flush out any leftover sperm in the urethra. If people do this before having sex, then there should be no sperm in the urethra to be flushed out instead by the precum.
- While this is how bodies generally work, results of some studies indicate that a percentage of people do unavoidably leak sperm into their precum.
- Even in cases where sperm does end up in precum, the risk of pregnancy from this does still tend to be low. Withdrawal/Pulling Out is still an effective method of preventing pregnancy (96% with perfect use). More info about withdrawal can be found here: Link.
- Whether or not somebody can get pregnancy also depends on if they’ve ovulated or not. For more info on understanding when someone is at greater risk for pregnancy, check out our post on What is Risk: Link.
Can you contract an STI from precum?
- Yes, you can contract an STI from precum.
- The glands that produce precum can be subjected to bacterial and viral STIs and any precum that is produced has a risk of transmitting the STI.
If people are about to have sex and aren’t sure about each other’s STI status or testing history, or aren’t sure if someone peed since their last ejaculation and there’s a risk of someone getting pregnant, then we’d always recommend that folks consider using condoms (external or internal) to prevent the transmission of fluids, and lowering the risk of pregnancy or sharing STIs.
If you have questions about this topic, feel free to contact one of our peer educators. [Link]
*Not everyone experiences or relates to their penis and testicles in the same way or uses the words used on this page for their bodies. We support you using the language that feels best for you.
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