DOCTOR'S ADVICE - Can 'pre-cum' cause pregnancy?
Q Doc, I am a teenage guy, and very much in love with my girlfriend. We are both students of biology and zoology, so we know quite a lot about sex. But Doc, there is one thing we disagree on, and we cannot find an answer in our biology textbooks! So can you tell us which of us is right?
It is a question of the 'dew-drop' - the little bit of clear fluid which I produce at the beginning of sexual excitement - shortly after I get an erection. I think it is called 'pre-ejaculate'. I'd better explain to you, doctor, that we rely on being careful - that is, I pull out of her shortly before I orgasm. That works pretty well for us.
But she keeps pointing out that our method means that the little dew-drop always goes inside her when I enter her. She thinks that this could get her pregnant. But I am pretty sure that I read somewhere that a guy's 'pre-cum' contains no sperm - and, therefore is totally safe. Am I correct?
A Well, what you two are using is the traditional contraceptive method of withdrawal or coitus interruptus. It is a an old technique, and is actually mentioned in the Book of Genesis (Chapter 38), which explains how Onan pulled out and spilled his seed upon the ground.
As a method of contraception, it is certainly better than nothing. But I have seen cases in which young women got pregnant because their boyfriends failed to pull back in time.
Then, as you say, there is the question of the pre-ejaculate, which is the clear drop (or two) of fluid that most young men produce at the tip of the penis soon after they start getting excited.
For years, there was a debate among biologists about whether this little dew-drop could cause pregnancy or not. In the 1990s, there were several scientific studies which appeared to show that the dew-drop did not contain sperm. But these studies have been criticised because it seems like the scientists did not examine the liquid quickly enough.
However, there has now been a startling piece of research by a group of fertility experts, who collected pre-ejaculatory fluid from 27 men, and examined it under the microscope immediately - while it was still fresh. They found that over 40 per cent of these males had sperm swimming around in their dew-drops. That is quite alarming news! It means that a man's pre-ejaculate could get a woman pregnant. So it is up to your girlfriend and yourself to make your choice. But if I were you, I would switch to some more reliable form of birth control - like the condom, the Pill or the jab.
Q Doc, I am going on the Pill next month. But how would I know if I got one of them terrible thrombosis things?
A Thrombosis (clotting) is pretty rare in younger women, but the Pill does increase your chances of this serious illness. The commonest symptom of a thrombosis is pain in the calf of the leg. There can also be severe chest pain. Also, if the clot occurs in the brain, you can get confusion or paralysis. But please do not fret. Provided that you don't have any of the well-known risk factors for thrombosis (such as smoking), your chances of getting a clot while on the Pill are very low.
Q My fiancé and I are planning to get married next year, and then start a family. But what is making me fret, Doc, is this. Whenever we have sex, I find that his man-fluid immediately runs out of me. Does this mean I am sterile?
A No, it doesn't. So you can quit fretting! I have often had this question in my postbag. It seems to worry a lot of young women. But the fact is that it is normal for most of the liquid to run out after sex. It does not get absorbed into the body, as a lot of younger folks think.
Q Doctor, I am a young male teenager, and I do not know much about sex. In our town, there is a youth worker (male) who has been taking a great interest in me. I think he is around 40. He has given me a lot of good advice about my studies and my career. And he also gives me presents, and sometimes money. So I am grateful to him. But last month, something strange happened. While we were alone, he bent forward and kissed me on the lips. I was so surprised that I said nothing. I did not tell my parents. The same thing happened again last week. Only, this time he tried to put his hand down the front of my pants. I began to cry, and ran home. What should I do, Doc? Was this my fault?
A Of course, it was not your fault. You are quite blameless in this matter. What you do not realise is at all over the world, there are guys who have an unhealthy interest in young teenagers - male or female. Sadly, they often manage to get jobs as 'youth workers' of some kind. This gives them every chance to interfere with their victims.
This guy is clearly one of those weird men who uses the cover of youth work to kiss and fondle young teenagers. Therefore, I urge you never to go back to whatever organisation he is running. You should tell your father and mother immediately about exactly what he did. If they are wise, they will report him to the police.
Email questions to Doc at firstname.lastname@example.org and read more in the Outlook Magazine tomorrow.