Can you get pregnant from anal? 3 ways it could happen
- Getting pregnant from anal sex is extremely rare, but it is still possible in certain scenarios.
- For example, semen might leak out of your anus and onto your labia if you lie on your stomach after anal.
- Semen can also be transferred from the anus to the vagina through oral sex or fingering.
If you think anal sex is a surefire way to 100% avoid pregnancy, you might want to think again.
When it comes to getting pregnant from anal intercourse, “this event is extremely rare, but not impossible,” says Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, OB-GYN and Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Yale School of Medicine.
Anal sex by itself doesn’t lead to conception, Minkin says. However, a few behaviors related to anal sex might.
Here are three scenarios where anal sex could lead to pregnancy.
1. If semen escapes from the anus
If someone ejaculates inside your butt there is a risk of leakage.
Leaking semen into your vagina this way is “possible — although highly unlikely,” says Robin Watkins, women’s health nurse practitioner and senior director of healthcare at Power to Decide.
This is more likely to happen if you lie on your stomach, letting it drip directly onto your lips. For example, if you sleep on your stomach and fall asleep after anal sex.
2. Post-anal fingering or oral
If your partner ejaculates in your anus but you continue to have sex, it could get messy and introduce semen into your vagina.
The distance between anus and vagina is about 10mm, which is a little shorter than the length of a lip balm tube. Since these two openings are so close to each other, liquid from one could easily enter the other.
Activities like frothing or oral sex could accidentally cause semen to smear where it shouldn’t be. It can get messy there, especially when it’s dark and you can’t see what you’re doing.
3. Having penis-in-the-vagina (PIV) sex before or after anal
Whenever vaginal intercourse is involved with a fertile person, there is a chance of conception – even if you ejaculate in the anus and not the vagina. Here’s why:
- If you have PIV sex as an anal warm up, there is a chance that pre-cum will get you pregnant. Pre-cum is a clear liquid produced by the penis before ejaculation that may contain semen. In fact, a small study from 2013 found that around 40% of pre-cum samples contained some amount of active sperm.
- If you have PIV sex after your partner has ejaculated in your anus, then the penis can transfer semen from the anus into the vagina. It can also cause other health problems related to the spread of bacteria, such as a urinary tract infection.
How to avoid pregnancy with anal sex
The risk of getting pregnant from anal sex is very low, but it can happen in rare cases.
But since the odds are already slim, doing things like washing up after anal sex won’t make a huge difference, says Watkins.
The best thing you can do is to use birth control even when you have anal sex. While the pill and IUDs are great for preventing pregnancy, a condom might be your best bet.
With anal sex, Minkin says the risk of transmitting a sexually transmitted infection (STI) is much more likely than an unplanned pregnancy.
Since the lining of the anus is delicate, you have a higher risk of contracting an STI like HPV, gonorrhea or HIV, Minkin says. Using a condom is the only way to reduce both the risk of STIs and pregnancy.
Even though anal sex alone does not result in conception, if you have sex with a penis in your vagina before or after anal sex, it can cause pregnancy.
Also, if semen leaks out of your butt and back into your vagina, it could get you pregnant, although the chances of that happening are very slim.
If you don’t want to get pregnant, it’s best to use a method of birth control, whether it’s a barrier method or hormonal birth control, to reduce your chances.
Remember that hormonal contraceptives alone will not prevent STIs, so if you want to avoid these infections, use a condom.