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Can you get Pregnant from Anal Sex?

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Written by Jack Pearson

Jack Pearson

Dr. Jack Pearson is a previously HCPC registered Embryologist with a PhD in reproductive medicine. Prior to joining Natural Cycles leading Medical Affairs, he worked for more than 10 years in a clinical setting working at some of the busiest fertility clinics in the UK. Today he spends most of his time working with experts at the world’s leading institutions to carry out important research with the vision to further the field of female health. He earned his PhD from the University of Sheffield specializing in Sperm Metabolism and currently lives in London.

While you can’t get pregnant from anal sex directly, it’s a little more complicated than that. In this post, we’re going to take a closer look at what anal sex is, how to do it safely, and the risks of pregnancy around anal sex. Read on to find out more...

This article is also available in Spanish

What is anal sex?

Anal sex is any sexual activity that involves the anus. It's not just penetration by the penis, in fact, there are lots of toys tailored to anal pleasure, and lots of ways to explore this type of sex from oral action to using fingers and touch.

Anal sex and pregnancy

If you’re wondering ‘can you get pregnant from anal sex?’ The answer is no. Anal sex on its own cannot cause pregnancy. However, if vaginal penetration happens and there are sperm cells on fingers, toys, or the penis itself, then pregnancy is possible. 

Having anal sex and then vaginal sex straight after is only advised if the penis, fingers, or toys are washed or the condom is changed in between. This is because the transfer of bacteria from the anus to the vagina can cause infection. If you do forget to change condoms or wash, keep an eye out for any discharge or discomfort, and contact your healthcare professional if you are worried. 

Preparing for anal sex

How you choose to prepare for anal sex is up to you and your partner. Some people recommend douching. This is when you gently pump liquid into the anus to flush out residue and to make sure the anus is clean. It's totally up to you if you douche, but it’s not strictly necessary. 

There are a couple of things to keep in mind about preparing for anal sex in this way. For one, douching is all about timing, and depending on when it’s done, it may or may not make a difference. Another thing to keep in mind is that a healthy diet and lifestyle can also completely remove the need for douching. 

While we’re on the subject of douching, we just want to point out that you should never douche the vagina. This is because the vagina is self-cleaning and choosing to use soap or douching can upset vaginal pH and cause irritation and infections such as vaginitis

How do I have anal sex safely?

Most people who try anal penetration will experience discomfort and pain, especially in the beginning. The anus is rich in nerves making it a source of pleasure, but equally it can be a potential source of pain if you’re not gentle.

The use of lubricants is essential, and lots more lube is usually needed compared to vaginal penetration, as the vagina is naturally lubricated. Taking your time is also important. Whether you’re doing this alone or with a partner, being patient and slowly building up the amount of penetration is crucial. 

Remember not to push your limits. As with all sex, feeling relaxed and comfortable often makes for a more pleasurable experience. There is no right or wrong approach - if you decide to try something new, remember to be kind to yourself.

There are lots of products and drugs out there that claim to help with anal sex by numbing or relaxing, but use these with caution. Pain and discomfort can be your body’s natural way of saying ‘this isn’t right for me right now’ so try and listen to what you’re feeling and remove any pressure.

Communication around sex is very important, so remember to tell your partner what does and doesn’t feel good, and remember it’s OK to ask them to stop at any time. Having sex you don’t enjoy can cause pain during sex, and can impact our relationship with sex in the long run.

Sexually transmitted infections are also easily past on through anal sex, as the wall of the anus is thin. Using condoms is useful, both for keeping things clean, and for protecting from STIs at the same time.

Anal sex is still sex!

While we often think of penetrative vaginal sex as being ‘real’ sex, there are many types of sex and they are not assigned to sexuality or gender. Anal sex is popular among all genders, sexualities and identities and should be celebrated as one of the many types of sex! So let’s lose the stigma around it and appreciate what makes us feel good.

Preventing pregnancy with Natural Cycles

Thanks for reading ‘Can you get Pregnant from Anal Sex’! Here at Natural Cycles, we’re passionate about closing the knowledge gap when it comes to reproductive health one topic at a time. 

Natural Cycles is a certified medical device that can be used to prevent pregnancy by finding your fertile window. You can then either choose to abstain from sex or use condoms on days when pregnancy is possible. 

A popular feature of the Natural Cycles app is our trackers, as well as logging how you feel throughout your cycle you can also now track different types of sex, including oral, anal and masturbation! Learn more about how Natural Cycles works today!

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