Question: I had sex with my girlfriend without a condom, for only 20 seconds, is it possible she will get pregnant?
Here at Kinsey Confidential, we get quite a lot of questions about pregnancy. And no wonder – though most women and men want to be parents at some point in their lives, most of them also want to be able to plan to become pregnant when they are ready to, and to plan not to become pregnant when they don’t want to become pregnant.
Time Doesn’t Matter
As for your question about having sex with your girlfriend without using a condom, it doesn’t matter how short or how long the sex lasted. If your penis was inside your girlfriend’s vagina without a condom (and you weren’t using any other form of birth control, such as an IUD or the birth control pill), then there is the risk of pregnancy.
That said, if you did not ejaculate, and the only fluid from your penis that got inside her vagina was pre-ejaculate (the thin fluid that some men notice coming from their penis when they are sexually aroused) then the risk of pregnancy would be low – but still possible, given the conflicting research on whether pre-ejaculate contains sperm (although some research has found no sperm in pre-ejaculatory fluids, other research suggests that some men “leak” sperm into their pre-ejaculate, which could pose a pregnancy risk). Is this a risk that you or your girlfriend wants to take?
On the other hand, if you ejaculated inside your girlfriend – even just a little bit – that certainly increases the risk of pregnancy.
In order for a pregnancy to occur, there needs to be an egg and some sperm, and then the sperm need to fertilize the egg, and then the fertilized egg needs to implant itself – and stay implanted in – the woman’s uterus.
If your girlfriend was not ovulating at the time, then there would be no egg. But most couples rarely track a woman’s ovulation, and also ovulation timing can vary considerably, especially among young women.
Talk About Your Relationship
If you and your girlfriend do not want to become pregnant, we would highly recommend that the two of you talk about your sexual relationship.
- How do you both feel about being sexually active together?
- Is this something that you both want and feel comfortable with?
- What expectations do you have for being sexual together, in terms of being exclusive, or seeing other people, or whether you see this is a serious, ongoing relationship or something that feels right only for right now, as with many friends with benefits relationships?
STIs and Birth Control
It is also crucial that you two discuss your feelings around sexually transmissible infections – which we call STIs – and birth control. You two have already had intercourse, even if just briefly. Have you talked about your histories of being tested or treated for any STIs? How would you feel about going together to get tested? What about your feelings about birth control and how, if you continue to be sexually active together, you might take responsibility for preventing pregnancy?
These are conversations that we would encourage for you to have together, and possibly with a healthcare provider, so that you can make informed, healthy decisions that help you both to feel good about your relationship. If you are not ready for a pregnancy, we recommend you talk with your healthcare provider about highly effective methods of birth control such as the IUD, birth control implant, birth control pills, birth control shot, and others.
Reviewed and edited on April 29, 2017.