Ask a Sex Therapist: Is It Possible To Get Pregnant Without Penetration?

by Cay Crow, M.A., LPC, AASECT-Certified Sex Therapist

Silhouette of woman touching her pregnant belly

Can She Get Pregnant While Still Being a Virgin?

Dear Cay,

Several months ago, I began a relationship with a wonderful girl – or so I thought. After a couple of months of formal courtship, our intimacy grew and during heavy petting and without penetration, I had an orgasm between her legs during our last meeting two months ago. She now tells me that she is pregnant! Is this possible to get pregnant without penetration? Can she get pregnant while still being a virgin? She claims she has not been with any other men.

Straight Shooter

Dear S.S.,

Although rare, it is possible for a woman to get pregnant without actual penetrative intercourse. Remember that sperm cells are great swimmers and they could make their way into the woman’s body from the external genitalia or even the upper thigh. Sometimes, this happens inadvertently during clean-up or getting dressed.

Has she seen a doctor who confirmed her pregnancy? I wonder if your last make out session frightened her into believing that she was pregnant. Don’t take anything for granted. She needs to see a doctor to verify conception and to provide pre-natal care throughout the pregnancy, if necessary.

Virginity is more a state of mind than a state of the body. Many young women participate in every sexual activity except for intercourse in order to maintain “technical virginity.” So the snow white definition of virginity has grown rather gray.

You sound as though you are angry at your girlfriend for getting pregnant. Every couple needs to talk about sexual activity, birth control, and STDs before anything physical happens. It takes two to tango yet inevitably, women are held responsible for the use of birth control. If you do not wish to be a father then upholster that love missile in latex whenever it leaves the launch pad.

It sounds as if you did not expect to have intercourse and may have felt that birth control was not necessary. It helps to keep in mind that under hot and heavy conditions, it is difficult to stop the momentum of passion. So if you truly want to avoid intercourse and the risk of pregnancy, it is best to avoid tempting situations such as being alone in a private place. If your dates tend to grow passionate in spite of your best efforts, then it is best to have some form of birth control on hand, such as condoms. May I also remind you and your partner that great pleasure is possible without any behavior that approximates intercourse.

Realistically, the only way to know the child’s paternity is a DNA test.


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