Can Dried Semen Cause Pregnancy?

There are literally hundreds of forum threads online asking this very question, but little in terms of educated answers. Foreplay, masturbation and cuddling are all common ways to get semen on hands and penis, but what happens to sperm when semen dries? And if it comes into contact with the vagina, can she get pregnant?

CoupleSperm Love Warm, Wet Places
There is one common topic among all the questions I read – does sperm live in dried semen? The answer is no. Once semen dries sperm is dead, so there is no chance of pregnancy if you touch her vagina with dried semen on your hands, but the same cannot be said for the penis. While the dried semen on your penis does not contain any live sperm, clear liquid can seep out of the urethra while you’re playing around and that clear liquid can contain sperm. Pregnancy does NOT require complete ejaculation of semen to achieve pregnancy. As they say – it only takes one sperm to make a baby. 

The Bigger Problem May Not be Dried Semen
Most of the forum posts and questions were asked by teens scared to death of getting their girlfriends pregnant. Unplanned pregnancy, at any age, is avoidable. Teens who are sexually active should wear protection 100% of the time, even during foreplay. Teens may not have the emotional control or maturity to consider the long-term ramifications of unprotected intercourse in the heat of the moment. 

The American Pregnancy Association does a great job of breaking down pregnancy risk in simple, yet common situations. 

  • If the penis enters the vagina unprotected, there is a chance of pregnancy. 
  • Pre-ejaculate may contain sperm and thus could cause pregnancy. 
  • Pregnancy does not require the man or women to have an orgasm. 
  • Air does not kill sperm, but once dried, sperm is dead. 

The best way to protect against stress associated with “Could She Be Pregnant” is to practice protected sex.