If I say screw condoms, will I get pregnant?

By Debby Herbenick, Ph.D., MPH

Some women get pregnant the very first time that they have sex without a condom or other birth control method. It's like an after-school special.

Other women, of course, find that they or their partner have fertility problems and they end up taking a very long time to become pregnant or else never become pregnant together.

Condoms don't change a couple's fertility; neither, by the way, do birth control pills, despite of what some people think.

If you want to become pregnant, this is great news! Condoms are a reversible method of birth control that you can stop at any time and start trying to become pregnant immediately.

If you do not want to become pregnant just yet (or ever), then you may not want to say "screw it" as you stop using condoms. At the very least, you may want to use some other method of birth control such as birth control pills, the patch, the shot or the ring.

You might also try the withdrawal method (pulling out) which works very well for couples in which the man has excellent control over the timing of his ejaculation; the withdrawal method is not perfect but it has been found to be about as effective as condom use. (Of interest: Research has found that there is no sperm in pre-ejaculate, in spite of common myths to the contrary; however, some men don't pull out in time, and thus it would not work well as a reliable method of birth control for those couples).

To learn more about enhancing your fertility or, on the flip slide, birth control options other than condoms, check in with your health-care provider.

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