Is it Possible to Get Pregnant Without Having Sex? You Might Be Surprised by the Answer

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.

Test or Examination for Virginity

Evidence-Based Guiding Note

What exactly is virginity testing?

The inspection of the female genitalia to determine if the examinee has had or has become accustomed to sexual intercourse is known as ‘virginity testing.’ Some tribes conduct ‘virginity testing’ to determine which women or girls are ‘virgins’ (i.e. have not had sexual intercourse). As part of the sexual assault examination of female rape survivors, some medical practitioners perform ‘virginity testing.’

The two most popular ‘virginity testing’ procedures are visual inspection of the hymen for size or rips and two-finger vaginal insertion. The goal of the latter is to assess the size of the introitus or the laxity of the vaginal wall, as well as the existence of the hymen, which is a thin membrane in the vaginal entrance that some cultures believe remains intact until women have sexual intercourse. However, research suggests that this form of testing may not give reliable findings since the existence and characteristics of the hymen vary from woman to woman and the membrane can rupture or stretch during daily activities other than sexual intercourse.

 

What are the consequences of ‘Virginity Testing’?

‘Virginity testing’ causes physical, physiological and social harm.

Physical harm: In the case of survivors of abuse, ‘virginity exams’ may cause physical injury to the women and girls being evaluated, including worsening existing injuries. Harm may also come from family who, as a result of a perceived ‘failed’ test, may harm or murder the lady or girl in the sake of ‘honour.’ As a result of the ‘virginity testing,’ some women or girls have self-harmed or tried suicide.

Psychological harm: Women and girls who have had ‘virginity tests’ have reported tremendous dread and anxiety before the test, as well as shouting, weeping, and fainting during the exam. Women and girls have also experienced long-term repercussions such as self-hatred, loss of self-esteem, depression, a sense of invasion of privacy, and re-victimization (for survivors of sexual assault).

Social harm: ‘Virginity testing’ is frequently connected with damaging traditional and cultural traditions that subject women and girls to stigma, humiliation, and dishonour in front of their families and communities. Women and girls might face ostracism or even death if they have (or are suspected of having) sexual relations outside of the rules enforced by society, such as before marriage. Furthermore, in certain societies, early marriage is utilised as a type of erroneously understood “protective” strategy to prevent the humiliation and penalties of a girl who had sexual relations before to marriage. As a result, some girls may be married off early in order to prevent any form of sexual activity before to marriage.

 

Medical Relevance: is ‘Virginity Testing’ a Determinant for Vaginal Intercourse?

According to a 2014 WHO article, the intrusive and demeaning “virginity test” or “two-finger test,” which is still employed in some countries to “verify” whether a woman or girl is a virgin, has “no scientific basis.” “The WHO guideline endorses the generally established medical position that ‘virginity tests’ are meaningless” and give no proof of whether a woman or a girl has had sexual intercourse or has been raped.

In reality, some women are born without a hymen, and the membrane can burst or stretch as a result of other activities like as athletics and weight lifting, among others.

The vaginal hymen is part of the vulva, or external genitalia, and is placed 1-2 cm within the vaginal entrance. Its structure is similar to that of the vagina in that it resembles a ruffled wreath and is made up of folds of mucous tissue that can be firmly or loosely folded. The form, size, colour, and flexibility of the hymen vary across women and during a woman’s life, depending on age, stage of sexual development, and hormone levels.

Talking About ‘Virginity Testing’ with Women and Girls

In some of these Syrian communities, young girls and women contact medical institutions and request ‘virginity testing.’ Many physicians find it difficult to deny when this occurs; they believe that if the request comes from the lady or girl herself, it is their obligation to do the test. It is critical to note that regardless of who demands the examination, the medical (in) validity of the test, as well as the human rights consequences, remain unchanged. Furthermore, the grounds for such a request are rooted in power disparities between men and women, as well as gendered cultural norms.

The individual requesting the test is most likely unable to fully exercise her right to freedom of choice, and the pressure placed on her to establish her ‘virginity’ is a violation of her rights in and of itself.

It is also vital that women and girls are targeted with awareness-raising messages in order to empower them and prevent them from feeling compelled to engage in this destructive activity.

Doctors, midwives, nurses, and psychosocial workers who hear these requests should perform the following:

  • Welcome the woman pleasantly, make her feel at ease, and ensure her that everything she says them will be kept private.
  • Determine the cause (why the woman thinks she needs such a test). Listening actively and respectfully to the woman or girl may result in the discovery of an abusive or dangerous scenario that must be handled with according to protocol.
  • Share with the lady the reasons why the test is not scientifically trustworthy, why it is a practise that must be ended, and specifics about its harmful practises (i.e. creating shame and fear to enforce control over women and girls).
  • Do not do the test; instead, assist the woman or girl in identifying alternate solutions (such as referral to case workers and devising safety plans) to the position she is in, ensuring her safety and security at all times.

Because virginity is not a medical condition, a medical examination is not necessary nor beneficial, and it may be both uncomfortable and detrimental.

Helping Women and Girls Who Have Been Subjected to ‘Virginity Testing’

Women and girls who are subjected to ‘virginity testing’ will respond differently to the examination, based on a variety of circumstances such as their age, current coping strategies, and/or social standing. Organizations should explore support interventions on a case-by-case basis and in accordance with the interests of the women or girls. Organizations with continuing case management programmes can guide women and girls who have disclosed having had a “virginity test” through several processes. Medical and emotional care, at a minimum, should be offered to these women and girls, either directly or through referrals to service providers delivering GBV-focused services.