This is topic I have some questions about pre-cum... in forum Sex Basics and Sexual Health at Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive).

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Posted by burgundyrose (Member # 108421) on :
So a recent scare kind of brought up a few questions in my head. I thought I was well informed sexually, but the fact that I have these questions means I'm not, so I'd like to get informed! [Smile]

Basically, I've read a lot of the articles on here about how fragile sperm are, how they need fluid to be able to swim and impregnate a woman, etc.

What isn't very clear to me is the subject of pre-ejaculatory fluid. Basically, what is it? Are there sperm cells present in it? And is it possible to become pregnant solely from exposure to pre-cum?
Posted by Heather (Member # 3) on :
This piece is a good place to get started on that:

Per hat it is, it's a fluid produced by the Cowper's glands, and it's job, as it were, is both to provide some lubrication and to clear the urethra per anything that might basically compromise the sperm cells in a full ejaculation if it happens, like trace sperm cells (any there before ejaculation will be from a previous ejaculation and thus, the weakest of the bunch), traces of urine, bacteria, etc.
Posted by burgundyrose (Member # 108421) on :
Wow, that actually clears up a lot! I guess that explains why it is a completely different colour from actual semen, being clear instead of white. I always wondered about that.

So basically, there is still a risk of pregnancy, even though there aren't AS MANY sperm cells in pre-cum as there are in actual semen. Would the same risks apply to pre-cum as to semen though? When I say risks, I mean like, there is a pregnancy risk when ejaculation occurs on or around the bare vulva. Is the same risk present when pre-ejaculatory fluid makes contanct on or around the bare vulva?
Posted by Heather (Member # 3) on :
I'd say the easiest way to get the right idea about the level of risk is this:

- Withdrawal, in perfect use -- meaning there has ONLY been pre-ejaculate, if there has -- has an estimated 4% failure rate in one year. I'd say it's safe to assume that's primarily due to sperm cells in pre-ejaculate.

- On the other hand, when someone engages in intercourse WITH ejaculation, there is an 85-90% failure rate in one year.

So, you can see the difference between the risk of pregnancy when someone ejaculates, actually ejaculates, and doesn't, where there is just pre-ejaculate, pretty clearly that way, IMO, even though it's not exactly totally imperfect. But it makes clear how huge the diff we're talking about here is, no?

Really, if someone doesn't want to be taking risks of pregnancy, unprotected intercourse or other direct penis-to-vagina contact just isn't wise. We don't really even need to theorize the way you are in your last para -- and I'm not sure we have the data to do that well. We just need to know that unprotected -- with NO form of contraception being employed at all -- direct genital-to-genital contact poses real risks, often high ones, of both pregnancy and, if condoms aren't being used or used in addition to another method, of STIs.
Posted by burgundyrose (Member # 108421) on :
I see your point, and it makes perfect sense! Thank you for the clarification, it really helps a lot [Smile]
Posted by Heather (Member # 3) on :
Happy to help. [Smile]

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