fbpx Can You Get Pregnant From Anal Sex?

Sex - Sex Ed | September 9, 2022, 6:00 CDT

Can You Get Pregnant From Anal Sex?
A voyage through the back door can end in fertilization, but only if semen takes a detour.
Reniel Anca

Written by

Reniel Anca
A sonogram from an ultrasound shows the uterus without a fetus.
Illustration by Tré Carden

A variety of variables need to be in alignment to get your partner pregnant. One of the most important variables is semen being inserted into a vagina. In fact, this is the first item on the conception agenda, and if left unticked, a woman won't get pregnant. Period.

Biologically speaking, the female body is designed to help grow new human beings and provide a nurturing environment for the baby's development. The role of men in reproduction, and the perpetuation of humanity, is to insert semen into the vagina. For women, receiving the ejaculate isn't the end, because they then need to spend nine months incubating a brand-new life.

Strictly speaking, the only way for a woman to get pregnant is for sperm to fertilize an egg. The sperm travels to the cervix (an opening that leads to the uterus) to an egg during sex. A fertilized egg, or ovum, needs to attach to the walls of the uterus for pregnancy to happen. There is only one environment where a human baby can develop inside a woman: her uterus.

Once a fertilized egg attaches to the uterus, pregnancy starts. The fertilized egg begins the journey of becoming a baby who will eventually exit the uterus within nine months.

If a woman's egg is not fertilized, the lining of the uterus begins to crumble and is flushed out along with the unfertilized egg through the vagina. This is a natural part of a woman's period or menstrual cycle.

How can someone get pregnant from anal sex?

If ejaculation occurs during anal sex, the only route for sperm leads to the rectum and, eventually, to the sigmoid colon. Incidentally, stool is stored in the sigmoid colon, but luckily enough for the sperm, they're not likely to swim that far.

Needless to say, the anus does not lead to a place where an egg can be found, nor does it lead to an environment in which a baby can develop. Therefore, in short, anal sex cannot lead to pregnancy. However, if the man's semen somehow leaks into the vagina at any point during anal sex, pregnancy is still theoretically possible.

"There have been some cases where a male partner takes his penis out of the anus and fumbles into the entrance of his female partner's vagina while still ejaculating," said Debra Laino, D.H.S., M.Ed., a board-certified clinical sexologist and relationship therapist in Delaware. "Another possible way would be the male partner thinking he is in the anus when in reality he is in the vagina and the female doesn't want to tell him. This often happens in sexually inexperienced people and those that are not comfortable talking about sex."

The truth is the possibility of becoming pregnant from anal sex is incredibly unlikely because direct ejaculation inside the rectum cannot biologically lead to pregnancy; the act of anal sex doesn't really tick any of the boxes in the child conception agenda.

However, accidents occur, so Laino recommended the use of condoms during anal sex. She also recommended adding a water-based, nontoxic lubricant and going slow while easing into anal sex. According to Laino, it's best to start with a finger before inserting something larger, such as a penis or dildo, and it's a good idea to be fully aroused so there are strong endorphins and the desire to engage in anal.

Can a pregnant woman engage in anal?

According to Baby Center, it's generally safe to have sex during pregnancy unless the pregnant person has hemorrhoids or placenta previa or is at risk of preterm labor:

  • Hemorrhoids are common during pregnancy and tend to get larger as you get closer to your due date. Not only is anal sex likely to be uncomfortable if you have hemorrhoids, but if they're bleeding, you also could lose enough blood to cause a potentially dangerous complication.
  • If your placenta covers your cervix (placenta previa), anal sex could damage the placenta. In this case, check in with your healthcare provider about whether it's safe for you to have anal sex.

"The rectum and the anus connect to the same nerve endings that go to the clitoris, labia, penis and scrotum," said Stacy Rybchin, a certified sexual health and wellness educator and the founder and CEO of My Secret Luxury, an online sex toy store based in New York City. "For people with vulvas, the anus has a lot of nerve endings and shares a wall with the vaginal cavity. So anal penetration not only stimulates the cervix, encouraging deep orgasm, at certain angles, but it also stimulates the G-spot."

An orgasm can ease discomfort and help make a connection to your partner while you're carrying your baby.

With this in mind, you should never go from anal to vaginal penetration before your partner washes their penis, changes sex toys or cleans the sex toy they're using. Otherwise, you are at risk for bacterial vaginosis, an overgrowth of certain bacteria in the vagina, and there's some concern this can make your water break early.

While getting pregnant from anal sex is extremely unlikely, it's imperative to stay up to date and informed on sex education and how to stay safe when entering the back door.

Reniel Anca

Written by

Reniel Anca

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