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The chances of getting pregnant while using fingers during sex (“fingering”) are very low. Fingering itself can’t cause pregnancy. But it’s possible for a pregnancy to happen if sperm gets on a finger that goes into the vagina, even if there hasn't been vaginal sex.

The sperm could be in the fluid that comes out of the penis during ejaculation, sometimes called “cum.” Or the sperm could be in pre-ejaculate (“pre-cum”). This is the bit of fluid that comes out of the penis before ejaculation.

How Can I Avoid Getting Pregnant?

The only way to fully prevent pregnancy is to not have sex. If you do have sex, keep ejaculate and pre-ejaculate away from anything that goes in the vagina, including fingers.

You also should use a reliable method of birth control, like the birth control pill.

Are There Other Risks With Fingering?

With fingering, a bigger risk than an unplanned pregnancy is getting a sexually transmitted disease (STD). These can spread can through vaginal, oral, or anal sex; by using fingers; or with other sexual contact.

To help prevent STDs with fingering, use a finger condom or gloves made of latex or nitrile. Also, wash hands before and after. For other types of sex, use protection like latex condoms or dental dams each time.

Keep in mind that STDs don’t always cause symptoms, so people might not know they have one. That’s why you and your partner should get tested for STDs (also called sexually transmitted infections or STIs) before you have sex.

What Else Should I Know?

If you think you might be pregnant, have an infection, or want to get tested for STDs, visit your doctor or a health clinic like Planned Parenthood.

Medically reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: February 2024