Ok, I’m going to let you into a little secret. Just don’t tell any other sex educators I told you this. If you have penis in vagina sex without a condom or contraception, you won’t always get pregnant. In fact, it’s unlikely.
WAIT! Don’t run off to have bareback sex! This doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Some people have unprotected sex once or twice and they get pregnant straight away. However I’m just being honest with you.
Because us sex educators often don’t get enough time to teach about sex properly we sometimes are guilty of teaching kids ‘if you have penis in vagina sex, you’ll get pregnant.’ What we should say is ‘if you have regular penis in vagina sex without condoms or contraception then it is very likely that within a year you will get pregnant.’
The risks of an unwanted pregnancy are lower than you might think. Here’s why.
Why you can’t get pregnant every time you have sex
Here’s a recap on what you should have learnt about eggs, ovaries and fertlisation
In order for pregnancy to start, an egg has to be fertilised within a 20 hour time slot when the egg is alive. If a sperm meets an egg at this stage then there is (something like) a 33% chance of fertilisation. So how do you know when an egg is going to be released (ovulation)? Tricky that….
First thing that you should remember is that all women are different and that menstrual cycles (including period, ovulation and womb lining being created and discarded) can vary from cycle to cycle. Some women have longer periods than others. And some women release an egg right in the middle of their cycle and others around that time.
But as you can see from this picture. If a woman has a 28 day cycle and ovulates around day 14 then she can only get pregnant if she has penis in vagina sex between day 7 and 15. This is because sperm can live for up to 7 days inside someone, waiting for an egg to come out.
I’ve had sex a few times, I’m not pregnant, I’m infertile?
No. Some women may have had sex a few times, not got pregnant and assumed that they were infertile (unable to have kids, something which can be caused by chlamydia but other things too). Then they might think ‘Sod it, I can’t get pregnant, so I won’t bother with contraception.’ They would be wrong. They just haven’t understood the likelihood of getting pregnant. Remember:
If you have regular penis in vagina sex then it is very likely that you will get pregnant within a year.
Why predicting ovulation is tricky
Ok back to the cycles and ovulation. Some of you may read this and think ‘well if I avoid penis in vagina sex just before and around ovulation I won’t get pregnant.’ Hmm, maybe. But the problem is that many young women do not have regular menstrual cycles. A woman could have a 28 day cycle, then have a 22 day, then have a 34 day etc.
It’s difficult to predict when you are going to ovulate (and thus difficult to predict when your safe time is) because you don’t always know how long your cycle is going to be. Do you get this? Sure?
Some women are able to use this as a method of having sex and without having babies: however it’s very very hard to do and not super effective – click here for more. But but but, it’s not as effective as using condoms or other methods of contraception. Also it’s actually much more likely that you will get a STI from unsafe sex than pregnant.
For more advice and a clinic near you go here
For more on Contraception and Services
(Practitioner? Get the fertility leaflet here)
Sexual Health Services: what going to a clinic is like and what they do there
© Justin Hancock 2012, bishtraining.com