Mon | Sep 25, 2017

Doctor's Advice | Can a virgin get pregnant?

Published:Saturday | October 22, 2016 | 10:00 AM

Q Doctor, am I right in thinking that if I make sure that I remain a virgin, I cannot get pregnant?

I am 19 years old and I have a loving boyfriend. Before I met him, I had various kinds of sexual relations with other guys, like petting and so on, but I have never allowed any of them to enter the vagina. Therefore, I know that my hymen is in intact, especially since I do not use tampons.

When I am with my present boyfriend, we do a lot of fooling around. My parents do not know about this. Basically, we do a lot of hand-petting and stuff, plus a little oral. I would usually make him orgasm. I have not orgasmed yet, but I have strong feelings and I think it might happen soon.

So what I want to know is this: Am I totally safe from pregnancy if I make sure that I avoid actual intercourse? I do not go with any other boys.

A Well, I applaud your resolve to avoid pregnancy at your young age. If I understand you correctly, you have permitted guys to do some things with you, but you have never had vaginal intercourse.

If you continue like that, then it is unlikely that you will accidentally get pregnant. The odds are thousands to one against.

But is it possible for a young woman to become pregnant even though she is still a virgin? Yes, very rarely it does occur. I have seen just one case in my entire medical career. It happened when a nervous young bridegroom managed to 'deposit' his seminal fluid just outside the bride's vagina. He did not break the hymen (or virgin's veil), but nine months later, she turned up at our hospital in labour - and still a virgin.

How do such cases happen? How can a guy's 'man-fluid' get through an intact hymen?

Well, the answer is quite simple. Nearly always, a woman's hymen has a small gap in it. Why is that? Well, there has to be an aperture through which the menstrual flow can pass each month. So in almost all females, this small hole exists.

Now, I am not quite sure what you have been doing while 'fooling around' with your boyfriend, but the important thing is that if he discharges, you should not allow his seminal fluid anywhere near the opening of your vagina.

One little word of warning to young women who allow this kind of fooling around is that although that type of 'petting' will not get you pregnant, it can sometimes pass on sexually transmitted infections. So please, young ladies, be careful.

Q Hi, Doc. I am a guy of 18 with a terrible problem. I went to bed with a girl last week. This was the third time in my life.

I thought it was all going well until she looked at my organ and said: 'Oh, I'm not having that inside me!'

I asked her what was wrong, and she said, 'The end of it looks funny!' Doctor, I was so upset and embarrassed. Eventually, I worked out that what she meant was that the skin at the end is too tight so that it is not 'going back' properly.

I think this must be a recent thing, Doc. When I was younger, I am sure that when I got an erection, the dark, smooth part of my organ was completely visible. But now, only part of it is visible. The rest is covered by the foreskin.

So what can I do, Doc? Please do not tell me to get a circumcision operation! I am terrified of having a knife anywhere near my organ.

A The problem of tight foreskin is an extremely common one. Many young guys (probably around five per cent) find that when they have an erection, the skin will not 'go back' properly. That condition is called 'phimosis'.

That is not a very hygienic situation because germs can breed under a foreskin that won't go back. Also, a tight foreskin is likely to interfere with sexual function, for instance, by impairing sensation, and it can be very painful.

Now you are scared of 'the knife'. That is quite understandable, but I have some good news for you. It is not always necessary to do a circumcision operation.

Indeed, one of the world's leading medical journals recently announced that the first-line treatment for use by doctors who are treating phimosis should be just a steroid cream. Steroids are cortisone-like medications, which damp down inflammation, and tend to shrink swollen tissues.

So you really should go and see a doctor right away. He will examine you, and tell you if such a cream would help shrink the foreskin. I imagine he will prescribe something like betamethasone cream twice a day for four weeks.

But if that doesn't work out, you should definitely consult a urologist. She will tell you whether a little trimming of your foreskin would be a good idea.

Q My friends and I have been offered the morning-after pill on Twitter. To be honest, Doc, there are times when this medication would be useful to have.

Should I go ahead and buy it?

A No way! The so-called morning-after pill', which is more accurately referred to as 'the emergency contraceptive', is quite a powerful drug.

To sell it through Twitter, or any other form of social media, is actually illegal under the Pharmacy Act. These things are only supposed to be dispensed by a qualified pharmacist.

Also, when you buy stuff in this way, you do not know exactly what you are getting! It could be real Postinor, or it might be something else.

I am not quite sure why you and your friends would find this medication useful, at times. But if you are having sex with guys, then I strongly recommend that you use some regular and reliable form of contraception.

Q Stupidly, I allowed a guy to have sex with me last week on the second day of my menses. I do not know why I did such a thing.

Doc, do you think I will get pregnant?

A As this was on the second day of your period, I feel it is unlikely that you will get pregnant. Not impossible, but unlikely.

Q Doc, can you answer a

difficult question for a group of young people? How did venereal disease (VD) start?

We know that in order to catch a VD, you have to have sex with someone who has it, and they must have caught it from someone else who had the infection.

But how did it all start? Some people think it is something to do with dogs.

A No, it is nothing to do with dogs. The important thing to realise is that germs change their nature over the years. They can lie around harmlessly for centuries, not causing any problems for humans.

Then they suddenly go crazy and start attacking people and causing serious diseases. That was what happened with the HIV virus back in the 20th century.

Similarly, germs like gonorrhoea and syphilis seem to have been living on Earth thousands of years ago, not doing any particular harm. Then they somehow got into the human reproductive tract and, BANG! People started getting sick with VD.

So be careful and practice safe sex!

- Email questions to Doc at

saturdaylife@gleanerjm.com and read more in the 'Outlook Magazine' tomorrow.