Could I get pregnant from oral sex?

Good news! You cannot get pregnant from oral sex. Swallowing semen (the fluid that comes out of someone’s penis when they ejaculate, also called ejaculate or come/cum), or having semen touch other parts of your body like your mouth, chest, face, hands or legs, can NOT start a pregnancy.

However, if semen gets on your vulva (external genitalia) or in your vagina, it is possible to get pregnant. This could happen during oral sex if your partner ejaculated (came) on your vulva, or you or your partner touched the semen and then immediately touched your vulva or vagina.

To explain why, let’s take a step back.

For those who aren’t sure, oral sex is any contact between a mouth and someone else’s genitalia. The terms blow job, going down on, giving head and eating out all refer to oral sex.

For a pregnancy to begin, microscopic cells called sperm (found in semen) have to travel through the vagina and uterus and into the fallopian tube. There, a sperm might fertilize an egg. Then, that fertilized egg may embed in the uterine lining (or endometrium). This is when someone is considered pregnant. We go into more detail about this process here.

This all means that for you to accidentally get pregnant, sperm have to first get inside your vagina. And as we’ve said before, sperm aren’t magical. They may manage to get inside the vagina from the vulva, but they cannot travel from other parts of your body (including your throat or stomach).

If semen DID get on your vulva, you can still take action.

If it happened less than five days ago, you can still take emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy. Plan B One Step is available without a prescription at drugstores and many community health clinics (including at the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center at no cost). Plan B is more effective the sooner you take it (ideally within the first three days or 72 hours after sex), so don’t put off this super important errand! Learn more about emergency contraception.

Even though oral sex can’t make you pregnant, it can spread sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

For this reason, we recommend always using condoms (or dental dams for oral sex performed on a vulva or anus). Try using flavored condoms to help with the taste—just don’t use them for other kinds of sex, since they can lead to infections. It’s also a good idea to get regularly tested for STIs. Talk to your health care provider about how often might be best for you.

It sounds like it might be time to start thinking about birth control.

Even if you’re not having penis-in-vagina (PIV) sex, it’s a good idea to always be prepared in case you change your mind in the future. An effective method of birth control can also help ease your worries about an unwanted pregnancy. Talk to your health care provider about what method might be right for you. In many states, you can get birth control confidentially (aka without your parents knowing) even if you’re under 18 years old. With insurance, it’s often free or low-cost.

If you’re having or thinking about having sex (of any kind, including oral sex) make sure you and your partner understand how to practice enthusiastic consent.

If you’re 10-22 years old in NYC and have more questions about sexual health, or are interested in birth control or STI stop by the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center for confidential, comprehensive health care at no cost to you.