By Thomas Whitfield
I get a surprising amount of questions about pre-cum, and my YouTube video on it has the most hits of all my videos. You can check out my video series, “Shit They Won’t Tell You in Sex Ed,” at SexEdByThomas.com. Below I respond to two questions about pre-cum: Can it transmit HIV, and can you get pregnant from it?
My girlfriend and I both identify as bisexual, and sometimes have sex with guys. We recently had sex with a guy, and he tried to tell us that he didn’t need to use a condom until he was going to cum, because he said pre-cum can’t get us pregnant. I disagreed and made him use a condom anyways. Afterwards, my girlfriend and I Googled it and found a lot of different answers. So… can pre-cum get us pregnant? We don’t want to
get pregnant, but also don’t want to use the pill, because we don’t have sex with men that often. – Female, bi, 27
You’ve probably found conflicting information online, because the answer is a little bit complicated. Pre-cum comes from the Cowper’s glands, located at the base of the urethra and under the prostate. The purpose of pre-cum is to increase the mobility of sperm cells—lube up the urethra, so to speak. In pre-cum alone, there is not sperm. HOWEVER, semen consists of a few things, including 2-5% sperm from the testes, 65-75% fluids from the seminal vesicles and 25-30% fluids from the prostate, and this mixture all passes through the urethra, the same track as pre-cum. So, if a guy has recently cum, it’s possible that some sperm could be left over in the track and come out with pre-cum. The chances of getting pregnant in this scenario are very low, but not impossible. If you don’t want to get pregnant, absolutely use condoms.
I always make guys put on condoms before they actually cum, because I didn’t think you could get anything from pre-cum. Then my friends told me that you can actually get HIV from pre-cum. Is this true? And what are the chances? What about from oral sex? I really didn’t think it was that risky, but now I’m nervous. I want to be safe, but, like, condoms for oral sex? Ugh, no thank you. – Male, gay, 23
Your friends are correct: HIV can be found in pre-cum. The concentration of the virus is generally lower in pre-cum, but it is still there. For anal sex, this is important to know, because there are often small tears that could allow for easy transmission of the virus. In terms of oral sex, the chances of acquiring HIV from pre-cum, or even cum, are VERY low. You would pretty much have to have an open wound in your mouth. Further, undetectable = untransmittable, so if your partners are adhering to their medication, they shouldn’t be able to transmit the virus. Also, you’re likely a good candidate or PrEP, so check that out!