Women are claiming that this has happened to them; are they telling the truth?
Everyone who has taken a basic sex education class is aware that having unprotected sex carries the risk of becoming pregnant. As a result, it’s difficult to believe that a woman can become pregnant without having penetrative sex. It turns out that it isn’t, and some people online claim that it happened to them.
Sammi Isabel’s story was told in a TikTok video, which quickly went viral. Isabel stated in the video that she became crampy at her prom and discovered her period was a week late. Despite the fact that she was a virgin at the time, she took a pregnancy test—and it came back positive. “And that’s how I have a 5-year-old son,” she captioned the photo.
Isabel insisted in a later TikTok that she wasn’t making up her story. “I just want people to know it’s a possibility,” she explained.
Isabel is far from the first woman to claim something similar happened to her. Wathoni Anyassi revealed on her YouTube channel LoloTalks that she became pregnant as a virgin as well. “I thought, ‘Wow, pregnant.'” ‘How did this happen?’ she recalls thinking in her video.
It’s easy to dismiss these stories as hoaxes. Ob-gyns, on the other hand, swear that these so-called virgin pregnancies do exist.
More women than you might think have gotten pregnant without having sex.
According to a data analysis published in the BMJ in 2013, 45 of the 7,870 women who participated in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health said they had a virgin pregnancy that wasn’t related to reproductive assistance, such as IVF or intrauterine insemination (IUI). The researchers discovered that these reports were more common among women who signed chastity pledges or whose parents didn’t talk to them about sex and birth control much, if at all.
A major caveat, according to the researchers: getting pregnant without having sex is usually difficult to prove. “Even with numerous enhancements and safeguards to optimise reporting accuracy,” they wrote, “researchers may still face challenges in the collection and analysis of self-reported data on potentially sensitive topics.”
However, Lauren Streicher, MD, a clinical obstetrics and gynaecology professor at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, tells Health that many clinicians have observed this. “Many obstetricians have experiences about delivering someone who claims to be a virgin with an unbroken hymen,” she explains. “There are unquestionably virgin births.”
The use of an intact hymen—a small amount of additional tissue around the vaginal opening—to prove virginity is controversial, because the hymen can rip or stretch over time as a result of wearing tampons, having gynaecological exams, and engaging in strenuous activity. Dr. Streicher believes that if a lady has an intact hymen and claims she’s never had penetrative sex, her virgin pregnancy narrative is more likely.
Other ob-gyns agree that this is a thing. “Indeed, this is feasible,” says Mary Jane Minkin, MD, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynaecology and reproductive sciences at Yale Medical School.
“The danger of getting pregnant in this method is very low because sperm can only live for a brief time outside of the body,” women’s health expert Jessica Shepherd, M.D., an ob-gyn in Dallas, Texas, tells Health. “However, it is still feasible and has happened in women.”
Okay, but how can you get pregnant if you don’t have sex?
There must be sperm and an egg, among other things, for a pregnancy to develop. Those two are normally associated with penetrative intercourse, but Dr. Shepherd points out that they can also be associated with messing around.
“This can happen when sperm get into the vagina—for example, if the male ejaculates at the vaginal opening, or if a partner’s erect penis comes into contact with the body near the vagina,” she explains. Dr. Minkin believes the initial few drops of seminal fluid (the fluid that carries sperm out of a man’s penis) “have lots of sperm,” adding, “they simply need to make their way up into the vagina and up to the cervix.”
According to Dr. Minkin, virgin pregnancies are more likely to occur in younger people who are more fertile. “Women need to know that this is clearly a genuine issue and that pregnancies may occur without penetration,” Dr. Streicher adds. All you need is sperm at the vaginal opening—they’re terrific swimmers.”
So, what can people do to avoid a virgin pregnancy?
FWIW, this is an uncommon occurrence, so don’t lie awake at night wondering that you’re pregnant if you didn’t go all the way. Having said that, there is enough of a danger of becoming pregnant without having intercourse that you should probably take measures in the future.
If your partner’s penis or semen comes into touch with or goes close to your vagina, even if it doesn’t go inside, “use the same contraception that you would use if you were having penetrative intercourse,” Dr. Streicher says. “It’s really no different.”
Barrier birth-control techniques (such as condoms containing spermicide) can be beneficial, according to Dr. Shepherd. Plan B is also a possibility if you’re not sure how safe you were when you were fooling about, according to her. Dr. Minkin adds that long-acting reversible contraception, such as an IUD or a birth control implant, can assist give protection when you don’t want to worry about birth control.
Again, this isn’t very frequent, and many women have cheated on their boyfriends without becoming pregnant. Even so, it’s crucial to be aware that there is a danger.