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I didn't want to go without protection, but could I be pregnant?

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confused_chick_2010 asks:

Ok, so I lost my virginity at 14. I'm 16 now, and I had unprotected sex about 2 weeks ago with my boyfriend who is 18. I didn't want to have it without a condom because I'm not on birth control, but he wanted to, and he's done so much for me in the past (not sexually), that I felt I owed him this. I told him that the only way I would have unprotected sex, he would have to pull out. I think he pre-ejaculated in me, but thats it. I was supposed to get my period 9 days ago, but I haven't gotten it yet. Could I be pregnant? I told my boyfriend I was late but he's convinced it's just because I've been under extra stress because of midterms. Help?

Sarah replies:

Unprotected sex of any sort (even without ejaculation) has both a pregnancy risk and an STI risk. So yes, you do have a risk from this contact. Pre-ejaculate (which happens throughout the course of an erection) isn't something that anybody is really going to feel happening and it can contain sperm. Also, men can't always pull out 100% before ejaculation begins. Your pregnancy risk with only pre-ejaculate is going to be lower than with a full ejaculation, but again it's not a 0-risk issue and we don't know for sure that there was only pre-ejaculate present. Either way, your STI risk is high from this also. You can take a pregnancy test once your period is late or once it's been at least 10-14 days since you had unprotected contact. You can re-test in a week to verify your result. Yes, there are other factors (like stress, diet changes, weight loss, etc.) can cause a period to be late. However, since you've had a viable pregnancy risk here, it would be wisest to go ahead and test.

Having a given type of sex (or any sex, period) because you feel like you "owe" a partner is never a good idea. It doesn't matter what a partner has done for you in the past, that does not give them the right to request that you put your health at risk (because that's really what's going on here) for them. Sex is not about exchanging favors or making sure that every 'act X' is matched by an 'act Y'. It should be about individuals who have a regard for one another's emotional, physical, and mental health and safety sharing together. Good partners, partners who care about one another (no matter what their relationship is), don't deliberately put one another at risk or ask the other person to be at risk for their own pleasure. Your partner is not the one who could become pregnant from this, you are. And most STI's have bigger consequences for women than they do for men. You are the one more likely to have to deal with very serious consequences from unprotected sex. So if this partner is someone who is pressuring you to have sex without a condom, it's time to sit down and have a serious discussion about what's going on. Lying about pregnancy risks and putting someone at risk for contracting an STI is a pretty darn crappy way to show you care about them. "Owing" just doesn't have a place in a healthy and happy sexual relationship.

So what do you do now here? Well, you definitely take a pregnancy test and find out what's going on from this contact. Then you sit down with your partner and have a heart-to-heart about safer sex practices, because "pulling out" is not one of them (just ask our site's founder, Heather, she's the result of the "withdrawal method"). Condoms need to be a non-negotiable issue here. If your partner has been reluctant about condom use with you, it's likely that he's also not used condoms with other partners. This puts you at even more risk. So you really need to be using condoms for all sexual contact. (We never advise even considering skipping the condoms until you've been monogamous for at least 6 months and have each had two, clear STI screenings in that time while using condoms the whole time. Even then, you do not completely eliminate your STI risk, but you do lessen it.) Condoms (when used correctly) are great pregnancy protection as well. If you are interested in backing up your condoms with another form of contraception (like the pill, patch, ring, diaphram, etc.) then you should see your health care provider about that. You will want to see your care provider anyway for an STI screening soon anyway, since you've had unprotected contact. Your partner should also be tested too. If your partner is not cooperating with the safer sex steps you need to be taking to protect yourself, then frankly this is a partner you could do without.

You also should check out the following articles (and share them with your partner as well, since it sounds like he could use some info about these issues too!):

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