Q&A: Alternative Ways To Get Pregnant Without Having Intercourse

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QUESTION: I've been married for 3 years and still can't have sex due to very painful penetration. However my husband and I would like to have a child very, very soon. We are trying to get pregnant naturally by having my husband ejaculate in my vaginal opening so that the sperm can swim through my uterus. Is it possible to get pregnant this way?

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Not only is it possible to get pregnant from a man ejaculating at the vaginal entrance but this is actually a common method that many couples use if they cannot have penile-vaginal penetration but still want to become pregnant.

When a man ejaculates at a woman’s vaginal entrance, his sperm can swim inside a woman’s vagina, up through the uterus and into the fallopian tubes where – if a woman has ovulated – an egg may be available to be fertilized.

In order to get pregnant, you’ll want to get his semen as close to the vaginal entrance as possible, or a little bit inside the vagina if you can.

Causes Of Uncomfortable Intercourse

Women may be unable to have comfortable for vaginal intercourse for various reasons. One of the more common reasons has to do with a condition called vaginismus that is sometimes described as having uncontrollable muscular spasms that prevent vaginal penetration, or that make it exceedingly painful.

Women with vaginismus may find that tampon use or gynecological exams may feel painful or impossible too.

Fortunately, many women with vaginismus can be successfully treated through sex therapy and the use of dilators, which usually come in a set of 5 to 6, and are rod-shaped devices that come in various sizes. The smallest is usually the size of a person’s little finger. The largest is often about 5 to 6 inches in length and about the girth of an average or above-average sized penis.

Women and their partners may find these online, or through a sex therapist or healthcare provider, and can use them to gradually and very gently help the vagina learn to comfortably accept penetration.

To find a sex therapist near you, visit the web site of the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists.

There are other reasons that a woman may have painful intercourse including:

  • past injury or trauma
  • side effects from cancer treatment
  • vulovodynia (a term that refers to vulvar pain)
  • genital skin disorders
  • other gynecological problems

If you haven’t already done so, it is worth checking in with a healthcare provider and/or a sex therapist for further evaluation. This is particularly important if you currently cannot even have a gynecological exam due to genital pain issues, or haven’t had one in a long time.

It may be worth addressing the painful penetration issue prior to becoming pregnant, as prenatal visits and gyn exams are an important part of having a healthy pregnancy. Please consider checking in with your healthcare provider for information and advice related to your personal health and pregnancy plans.

Dr. Debby Herbenick (M.P.H., Ph.D.)

is a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, Associate Director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and author of several books including Sex Made Easy and Because It Feels Good: A Woman's Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction.
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