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Are you enjoying your girlfriend or friend with benefits but definitely don't want to become a father just yet? Many guys are terrified of getting their girlfriends pregnant, but fear without action isn't terribly useful. Here's how to be proactive about contraceptives, as well as some tough questions you'll have to ponder if you don't want to give up your favorite extracurricular activity.
'She Can't Get Pregnant If...' — Except If She Does
You've definitely heard them — urban myths about situations in which girls can't get pregnant. If you're a young guy, you may even believe some of these fairy tales. Think your girlfriend can't get pregnant the first time she has sex, during her period, or just before her period? Think your girlfriend can't get pregnant if she douches, pees, or has a shower right after sexual intercourse? Think she won't conceive if you practice coitus interruptus (the "pull-out method"), if she doesn't orgasm, or perhaps if you don't really have sexual intercourse? Think again.
The average girl will get her first menstrual period at age 12, though every girl is on her own schedule and it can happen earlier or later just as easily. Once a girl starts menstruating, it's safe to assume that she also ovulates. Ovulation, the release of an mature egg that can be fertilized, happens once per menstrual cycle for most women. Teens, who have recently started menstruating, may not ovulate every month — but if you're a sexually active teen, you should absolutely not count on a lack of ovulation.
Ovulation tends to take place roughly 14 days before a girl's next period is due, but teens can definitely have unpredictable ovulation patterns along with irregular menstrual cycles. The five or six days before ovulation can also be considered fertile days, because semen can survive in the female reproductive system for quite a while. If an egg is fertilized, it will travel down to the uterus and implant in its lining. The girl will miss her period and start experiencing pregnancy symptoms.
Now, let's look at some of those urban myths individually. Not having had sex before has absolutely nothing to do with fertility. As a rule, the time just before a period and the days during which a girl experience active menstrual flow aren't going to lead to pregnancy. Are you really sure your girlfriend's cycle is predictable enough to count on this, though? Are you really sure she knows what's going on with her cycle? Most teens don't.
Vaginal douching may interfere with the vagina's natural flora, but that doesn't mean it will prevent pregnancy. Showering and peeing definitely don't work as contraceptive methods, or everyone hoping to avoid a pregnancy would be doing these things. And orgasm? While having an orgasm may increase the chances of pregnancy, not having one does not stop an egg from being fertilized and implanted into the uterine lining.
Finally, pulling out before ejaculation may well reduce the odds of pregnancy. Pre-ejaculatory fluid may escape before the climax itself, though, and it can contain sperm. This is not an effective birth control method at all.