I took EC one day, and then the condom broke the next. Am I at risk?
Heather Corinna replies:Okay, I am really frustrated. My boyfriend and I had unprotected sex 2 days ago. He pulled out, but I was still worried so I went ahead and got EC the next day and took it. I felt a lot better about the whole scenario. Then, the day after THAT, my boyfriend and I had sex again, this time with a condom. He literally JUST went in when he said he felt something funny and pulled out right away and noticed it ripped a little. I FREAKED OUT. He probably had it on wrong or something. I don't know what to do now. He didn't ejaculate inside of me but the chance of pre-cum scares me to death. He did go pee before, so does that mean there was probably not any pre-cum? I can't get EC AGAIN. I just took it the day before and I don't have another $45 on me. Plus, I'm only 17 so I got a friend of mine who is 18 to get it for me and I don't wanna ask him again. Am I freaking out too much? Are my chances of pregnancy pretty low? Oh, and don't worry we both don't have any STI's (he got tested and I was a virgin before him). That's at least one less thing to worry about.
There really isn't any study yet done on exactly how long of a window EC can help for when it comes to pregnancy risks during or just after taking it, but given how EC works -- by either preventing ovulation and/or implantation -- chances are pretty decent that your EC you already took will provide you some protection.
On top of that, the risk of pregnancy from pre-ejaculate is considerably smaller than it is from intercourse with full ejaculation. It is also known that when a person with a penis urinates after their last ejaculation, that it is very unlikely any traces of sperm will be left in their urethra.
I wouldn't say you need EC again for this scenario. What I'd suggest though, are these things:
1) That you both be sure you're always using condoms, and using them properly. You can make sure you're doing that here -- Condom Basics: A User's Manual -- and just bear in mind that the error most folks make is not using extra latex-safe lubricant with condoms. Not only does it make them feel better for both partners, it makes a big difference when it comes to keeping them from breaking. As well, if either of you is rushing into intercourse on a given day, not only is it likely to be less pleasant (especially for you), it's more likely for you to be drier, or for your boyfriend to race to get a condom on without paying as much attention as he should.
2) That you are perfectly clear with your boyfriend that there will be NO unprotected sex. Period. He needs to understand that that is a non-negotiable and take your risks just as seriously as you do. If he can't do that, then you need to nix sex with him until he can step it up.
3) If pregnancy is absolutely, positively not a risk you can take, you should consider either abstaining from sexual activities which carry that risk, or talking to your sexual healthcare provider about getting started with a backup method of birth control to use with condoms.
Lastly, I know I already mentioned it once, but do just be aware that the ONLY way we know to truly reduce risks of sexually transmitted infections, beyond simply not having any kind of sex, is through three-part safer sex practices, for BOTH partners. That's six months of monogamy, six months of latex barrier use for at least vaginal and/or anal sex, and ideally, for oral sex two and then TWO full and clear STI tests for BOTH of you -- one at the start of that six months and one at the end -- before going without condoms, ever. Without doing all of those things, we really do still have to worry about STIs, so do make sure you are both also on the up-and-up with your safer sex in whole, not just in part by relying on one persons test results (especially considering how rare it is for young straight men to get fully tested at all) from who knows when. Plus, as a sexually active young adult, you need your yearly pap smear and pelvic exam, every year, too, in case you haven't started with that care yet.
Here are a few more links for the both of you:
- Your Map to the Condom Aisle
- Safe, Sound & Sexy: A Safer Sex How-To
- Birth Control Bingo!
- Hey, Boyfriend! Male Reproductive Choices
- Yield for Pleasure
~ Heather Corinna, Founder, Editor & Advice-Slingin' Sister @ Scarleteen.com
Author, S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-to-Know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get You Through High School and College