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People ask whether it is possible to get pregnant without sexual intercourse for two main reasons:

  • They would like to get pregnant without intercourse.
  • They engaged in non-intercourse sexual activity and are wondering if they could be pregnant.

These two circumstances differ rather a bit, so we'll address them individually.

Options For Women Who Would Like To Get Pregnant Without Intercourse

Who would want to get pregnant without intercourse? Vaginismus is a painful condition in which the vagina contracts during physical contact or pressure. Women who suffer from vaginismus have no control over when this happens, and it can often result in a complete inability to engage in vaginal intercourse. It can result from trauma, struggles with sexual orientation (denying you're asexual or a lesbian), or other pychological issues, but it can also be idiopathic (cause unknown).

Some women with vaginismus are able to insert tampons, while others aren't. In those who can insert tampons, self-insemination with a (needle-less!) syringe may be a viable option through which they can achieve pregnancy.

(Treatment — including talk therapy, antidepressants, and even Botox — is available and something you may want to explore.)

In women who can physically have intercourse but don't want to, because they are single, lesbian, or asexual for instance, DIY insemination, usually with donor sperm, also presents the simplest option. Women who also have fertility issues may consider:

  • Intrauterine insemination (IUI), in which previously prepared sperm is placed directly into the uterus. IUI cycles are almost always medicated, usually with the ovulation-inducing medication Clomid.
  • IVF, in which egg and sperm are fertilized in a lab and blastocysts (miniature embryos) are placed into the uterus.
  • Variations on these, including ICSI or intrwacytomplasmic sperm injection or GIFT and ZIFT, in which lab-fertilized eggs are placed into the fallopian tubes rather than the uterus.

Can You Get Pregnant After Non-Intercourse Sexual Activities?

People often ask whether it is possible for a woman to get pregnant after non-intercourse sexual activities during which sperm may have entered the vagina. Such scenarios include:

  • Male bodily fluids getting on hands, which then touch the vagina.
  • A male ejaculating near the vagina without vaginal intercourse.
  • A man's erect penis coming into contact with the vulva. In this case, the concern is that pre-ejaculate fluids that can contain sperm cells may enter the vagina.

In short, it is possible to get pregnant after sperm enters the vagina (if the woman also happens to be in her fertile window at this time). 

It only takes one sperm cell to conceive a baby. However, the chances of getting pregnant are really very low in all of these scenarios.

Still, if you don't want to get pregnant, contraception is always advised, no matter whether you are going to have vaginal intercourse or not. Moreover, though the risk of pregnancy from these non-intercourse activities is indeed pretty low, your chances of catching a sexually transmitted disease this way are much higher. Both partners should be tested for STDs if they want to engage in these activities without a condom. If you haven't been tested, use condoms.

People who are wondering whether they or their partner could be pregnant after non-intercourse sexual activities should certainly resolve their question by waiting for a period or taking a pregnancy test if it doesn't come. They should also head to their local sexual health clinic for STD testing.

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