Raise your hand if you've ever asked the following question: Can you get pregnant without having sex?
More specifically, can you get pregnant from activities other than unprotected p-in-the-v sex, like dry humping, oral, anal, or other sex play?
While it's highly unlikely, it's possible to get pregnant without having vaginal sex, experts say. Yep, let that sink in.
"Unfortunately, there are a lot of crazy myths out there just to scare people, so it's important to understand the real scenarios where it's possible to get pregnant without having sex, and why," Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at Yale School of Medicine, tells BuzzFeed Health.
First, there are millions of sperm in just a tiny bit of ejaculate — we're talking 20 million sperm per 1 mL of semen, and the average male ejaculates 3.5 mL each time.
Sperm are literally designed to swim their way up the vaginal canal and find an egg, so they can travel from the vulva to inside the vagina if they're close enough to the vaginal opening.
And depending on where the sperm land, they can survive for several minutes after being exposed to air.
Now that you're up to speed on how plentiful and resilient sperm is, let's go over the different ways it can get into the vagina and potentially cause a pregnancy.
If someone ejaculates on or near the vulva during naked dry-humping, oral sex, or any other kind of sex play.
If there is semen from a recent ejaculate on any fingers, toys, or other objects that get inserted into the vagina.
If someone ejaculates in the rectum during unprotected anal sex, then semen comes out and gets on or near the vulva.
So think of it this way: The closer semen gets to the vulva in any situation, the more likely it is for sperm to sneak into the vagina and maybe cause a pregnancy.
All that being said, just because it's possible to get pregnant in these ways doesn't mean it's likely — it's still very rare.
Context is important. Yes, some people have gotten pregnant from these activities, but statistically it's still highly unlikely. Just because it can happen doesn't mean you should be paranoid that it will happen, especially when there's a bunch of ways you can protect yourself.
If you're worried about getting pregnant, you might want to consider a reliable birth control method, such as the pill, ring, or IUD.
Condoms are important too, because you can spread sexually transmitted infections (STIs) through unprotected oral or anal sex and even genital skin-to-skin contact.
No matter what kind of sexual encounter you're having, protection is key.
Fertilization of the egg most often happens in the fallopian tubes, but can also happen in the uterus. A previous version of this article only mentioned fertilization occurring in the uterus.