Can You Get Pregnant From Precum

Even though it may just seem like the small overture to the ~real deal~, pre-ejaculate has its own important role in the whole process of sex (and, as it turns out, reproduction). Male pre-ejaculate has a lot of the same properties as actual, sperm-containing ejaculate, It has a lot of the same properties as real ejaculate. So if you use withdrawal or natural family planning as your main form of birth control, and even if you don’t, Dr. Deb Laino — a sex therapist in Delaware — shed some light on the overture to actual ejaculate, or pre-ejaculate.

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It can get your pregnant.

Though there’s not as much sperm in pre-ejaculate, Laino said there’s still some, and so technically, it can cause a pregnancy. But what makes this particularly risky is that men don’t have as much control over pre-ejaculate as they do when they ejaculate with orgasm. It can happen without warning, which means it can happen before you’ve had a chance to put on a condom, if that’s your primary method of birth control.

And it can cause STIs.

The risks may be lower, but they’re still there. Laino said you can still contract STIs from pre-ejaculate, and although it’s not incredibly likely, you can still get pregnant. Make sure your partner wears a condom before making contact with your vagina. It’s just safer!

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It comes from a different place.

“Pre-ejaculate comes from Cowper’s gland secretions, the other, actual ejaculate comes from the testicles,” Laino said. When a healthy man gets aroused, the Cowper’s glands (also called Bulbourerthral glands) produce pre-ejaculate, which then flows out of the urethra. — the same tube that ejaculate and urine flow through in the penis. It is suspected that the sperm in pre-ejaculate “leaks” in, as sperm doesn’t originate in the Cowper’s glands.

But it’s still the same fluid.

Laino said that even though the two fluids originate from different glands, they’re made up of the same contents. Both fluids flow through the same place — the urethra. It is suspected that the sperm in pre-ejaculate “leaks” in, since sperm doesn’t originate in the Cowper’s glands.

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Pre-ejaculate acts as a natural lubricant.

Laino said pre-ejaculate has two primary responsibilities, and one of those is actually adding lubrication to a female partner’s vagina.

Pre-ejaculate also helps clean out the urethra.

Pre-ejaculate’s second purpose, Laino said, is clearing out the urethra by neutralizing any acidity. Acidity is debilitating to sperm, and basically makes it harder to help create a pregnancy. “It’s almost like a clear-out, clean out lubricant for the male urethra,” Laino said.

Pre-ejaculate isn’t just for men.

Just like men have Cowper’s glands, women have something called Bartholin’s glands, Laino said. “They are right in the entryway of the vagina and secrete moisture as well — little drops of lubricant in the female.” So they’re synonymous in that they create lubrication to help ease of penetrative sex. But that’s about it.

This post was originally published in 2014 and has been updated.

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