When is it Safe to Have Unprotected Sex?

safe-time-to-have-unprotected-sexIn the comment board for my article, “What Does Your Vagina Discharge Tell You,” one question was asked more than once: “If I have unprotected sex on x and y days, can I get pregnant?”

Having unprotected sex can be quite enjoyable. But it does come with a consequence – a potentially significant one, if you’re not prepared to have and raise a child.

So if you choose the Fertility Awareness Method for natural birth control, you need to become familiar with your menstrual cycles and be diligent in determining when are the safest days for unprotected sex.

Generally, there are four safe windows:

1. First 5 Days

You’re safe the first 5 days of your menstrual cycle if you ovulated during the previous cycle, which can be identified by observing clear and slippery egg white-like vaginal discharge, or by an obvious temperature shift 12 to 16 days before you bleed.

Ovulation in the previous cycle helps to confirm that your bleeding is true menstruation, not ovulatory spotting or abnormal bleeding unrelated to menses.

Note that this rule may not be reliable for women approaching menopause, because premenopausal hormone changes can result in dramatically early ovulation.

2. Dry Days

You’re highly unlikely to be fertile during your dry days.

Assume that you have a 28-day cycle. If you finish your period on day 5, and ovulate between day 12 and day 16, your dry days are likely to be from day 5 to day 10.

Of course, not everyone fits perfectly into this pattern.

Regardless, the most reliable way to identify your dry days is by paying close attention to your cervical fluid/vaginal discharge.

As the name suggests, your dry days are those days when you observe no cervical fluid or wetness at any point during the day. 

Note that semen can mask the presence of cervical fluid. But if you’re dry all day the day after intercourse, you’re safe to have unprotected sex again that evening.

For an enhanced sexual experience during your dry days, check out Passion Lubes, the best selling lubricant on Amazon. 

3. The 3rd Consecutive Day Your Temperature Remains High

If you track your body temperature, you may notice a rise in temperature 12-16 days before your menstruation by 0.4 to 1 degrees. The rise of temperature usually occurs immediately following your ovulation. Check out my basal temperature chart and how you can chart your own. 

If your temperature continues to remain high for 3 days or more, you’re considered safe to have unprotected sex after the 3rd day.

However, if your thermal shift is not obvious, or if your temperature falls below your baseline temperature after its peak, you should use a more conservative method.

Start tracking your body temperature, you'll learn a lot about your menstrual cycles. And it will be an eye opening experience! All you need is a digital basal themometer.

4. The 4th Day after Your Peak Day (Ovulation)

Once you see your vertical fluid changing from wet, clear and egg white-like to dry, you’ll know that your peak day (ovulation) has occurred.

And once you’ve seen 4 dry days after your peak day, you can assume you are no longer fertile.

Whether you want to get pregnant or avoid it, it's important to know when you're ovulating. And the easilest way to know is to take an ovulation test. 

Additional Notes:

1. When you notice a rise in body temperature and it remains higher for 3 days or more, you can assume that you have already ovulated.

2. For this reason, cervical fluid is the most reliable fertility sign to observe before ovulation, because it reflects higher estrogen levels, indicating the impending release of the egg.

3. After ovulation though, temperature is the most reliable fertility sign, because it confirms that ovulation has indeed occurred.

4. Take charge of your fertility with our free Period Calendar and Ovulation Tracker. It’s a great tool to track your body temperature, vaginal discharge, menstruation, ovulation, and more...

5. It may take a couple of months to get familiar with your menstruation/ovulation cycle and the signs to watch for. It’s well worth it though, considering the potential consequence – and the worry and fear of an unexpected pregnancy. 

6. Just in case you're wondering if you may be pregnant, don't worry. You can take an early pregnancy test. 

7. To learn more about your menstrual cycles and fertility, I highly recommend Toni Weschler's Taking Charge of Your Fertility, The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health. It's the best book I've read on this subject. 

Personally, I use the Fertility Awareness Method for birth control. I like its naturalness. I also find it a wonderful method to help me stay in tune with my body’s rhythms.


Jing Jin, Chief Harmony Officer
At CycleHarmony.com, our mission is to empower women to honor their menstrual cycles, improve their reproductive and overall health, and become the very best version of themselves.

Get started today with our FREE tools and resources!

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# musk 2015-03-02 13:02
hiee i jst want to ask that if we are planing for baby and is it safe to do intercourse after the 20th day of period? if not from which day is it safe? should i wait for till my next period
# tinuola 2015-01-02 14:41
How do u knw if u ar 28 or 26 dayz mentral circle
# Roseanne 2014-11-03 06:58
Thanks for finally talking about >When is it Safe to Have Unprotected Sex?
# pine 2014-11-02 05:34
I had sex 3 days before my period... Am I not pregnant.. I have a regular cycle
# Blisyme 2014-01-11 02:54
i saw my period on the 6th of january dis year and had unprotected sex immediately after my period thats on the 11th and my cycle period is usually 25 to 26days. am i gonna get pregnant??? pls help
Veronica C
# Veronica C 2013-12-18 15:31
Hi, dear. If you menstrual cycle is regular and is 27 days, this means that you ovulation period - the fertile time, when you can get pregnant - is somewhere between the 12th day and the 15th day of your cycle. So, on the 20th of December you will be on your 22nd day of the cycle, which means that you're in the safe period. Hugs!
# imimi 2013-12-17 07:20
Hi.My first day of last menses was the night of 29th Nov. Is it safe to have sex as from 20th Dec.My menses are regular 27days.
# gen 2013-12-15 11:06
Hi, my period started on Dec. 1, i had an unprotected sex on the 15th of dec. Is it possible i can get pregnant? I had a 28 -30days cycle.pls help..asap..
# Judith 2013-12-15 22:07
Dear Gen,
it is indeed possible for you to be pregnant, since the ovulation occurs between the 12th and 16th day of the cycle... Right on time on your case.
Good luck and lots of love.
# Teco 2013-11-28 05:22
Hi jing
I had my period on d 21st and finished on d 24th of dis month,wen are my likely to expect my ovulation?I normally ve a 28days circle.
# Jing 2013-11-28 08:13
Hi Teco, if you have a 28 day menstrual cycle, you're likely to ovulate on day 12-16, starting from the first day of your period. So if you had your period on Nov 21, you are likely to ovulate on Dec 3-7. Have you tried our free period tracker? It forecasts ovulation and period days for you in the next 12 months. Great for planning! Simple click on the sign up bottom at the top of the page and you'll get instant access :)
honey shubs
# honey shubs 2013-11-09 12:42
hi,i got my period on 4th nov and had unprotected sex on 9th nov,r there chances of getting pregnant
# Jing 2013-11-23 20:55
Women usually ovulate mid-cycle between day 12 and 16. So it's unlikely you'll get pregnant on day 5.
# Judith 2013-11-02 16:28
Hi Abby,
It's highly improbable for you to be pregnant since the ovulation normally occurs between the 12th & 16th day of your cycle.
I'm inviting you to subscribe to the free Period Tracker http://www.cycleharmony.com/registration-page-sign-up?view=article
That way, you can clearly know when your next ovulation will occurred :)
Be well my dear!
# Abi 2013-10-30 11:38
I have a 31 day cycle. I had unprotected sex on day 29, is there a chance I can get pregnant?
# Jing 2013-11-23 21:09
Abi, it's unlikely for you to get pregnant when you have unprotected sex 2 days before your period ;)
Veronica C.
# Veronica C. 2013-10-13 13:53
Hi, Bernice! How long is usually your menstrual cycle? The ovulation moment occurs usually around the half of the cycle (days 14, 15, for a 28 days cycle or on days 12, 13, if the cycle is shorter than 28 days).
If you had your menstruation on 19th of September, this means that the 8th and 9th of October (when you had unprotected sex) were the 20th and 21st days of your cycle, which usually are not included in the fertile period of the middle of cycle. So I think there are more chances that you're not pregnant. Be well and take care!
# Bernice 2013-10-13 13:01
Hi, I menstrated on the 19th of September n I had unprotected sex on the 8 &9 of this month, is ther a way I can be pregnant?
Veronica Cristea
# Veronica Cristea 2013-07-20 01:42
Dear, Kelly, how long is you menstrual cycle? Are your periods regular? Usually, the days before menstruation are safe. So,in your case, the probability for pregnancy is pretty pretty low. Try to track your cycles and you will discover more about your body and the safe days for sex. :)Be well!
# kelly 2013-07-19 18:15
I had unprotected sex on July 15th and July 16th on the 18th I got my period.is there a chance I could be pregnant.
Safe Period Calculator
# Safe Period Calculator 2013-07-21 20:22
No. Absolutely not. :-)
# anjalu 2013-07-17 06:53
My period started on 12.on 15 i had sex that was 4th day of ma period and on 16n17 at nun i bleeded a little we had unprotected sex am little nervous coz v had sex on 4th day of ma periodi think i din completed ma period tat time so i have bleeded next day will this unsafe sex make anyproblm or any disease to me n ma hubby??????need ur rply....
# Judith 2013-07-20 19:29
Dear Anjalu,
I'm inviting you to have a look at the discussion on having sex during period. http://www.cycleharmony.com/pms-symptoms/sex-during-period-the-potential-side-effects?view=article
Don't worry my dear; the blood that came out the next day you had sex was probably residual blood from your period.
Take a deep breath, relax and be well :)
Safe Period Calculator
# Safe Period Calculator 2013-07-08 20:03
You can calculate it by using the website http://www.safe-period.com/
# Judith 2013-07-08 20:53
Thank you so much for this addition :)
You should also try the community's very own period tracker! It's a great tool to foresee your periods and ovulations for the rest of the year, take notes of your moods and symptoms, understand your unique cycle...
How great is it to be a woman? :)
# anna 2013-07-08 13:13
my husband came into me during te day 8 of my cycle. i fibised my period during day6. i usually have a 28-30 day cycle, today is my day13 and i notice quite a lot of egg white disharge. doea rhia mean i am ovulation now? or ovulation is appraching? i read that seprm can last for a few days int eh fallopian tube. does this that its possible for me to get prefnant because of te intercourse durig day8? ipls help. thanks
# anna 2013-07-08 12:53
help please. my husabn came into me on day8 of my cycle. i finised my period during day 6. i usually have a 28-30day cycle. today is my day 13 and i notice a lot of egg whte discharge. does this mean i am ovulating now or ovilating is approachig? i read that sperm can lat for a few days insidethe fallopian tubes, would it be pssible that ii can be pregnant?
# Hiranya 2013-07-08 14:25
Hi Anna, it seems likely that you had sex on a "dry day". Moreover, the egg white discharge is an indicator of ovulation around the mid point of your period. It's true that sperm can live inside the body upto around 5 days, but as i say it seems unlikely that you are pregnant. The best thing to do if you're worried is to do a pregnancy test, and put your mind at rest. You might also want to check out this article: http://www.cycleharmony.com/fertility-pregnancy-birth-control/how-do-you-know-if-you-re-pregnant
# francisca 2013-06-25 08:59
I have sumfin of a 29 day cycle and is sometimes irregular.my menses started on the 5th of june and ended on the 8th of june. I had unprotected sex on the 20th day of my cycle using 29 days plsss is it possible I'm pregnant
# Judith 2013-07-06 17:25
Dear Francisca,
if you have an usual 29 days cycle, you shouldn't have been fertile the 20th day. However, if your cycle is sometimes irregular, it's hard to tell... What kind of irregularity is occurring? Is it like a day or two... more? If you haven't already, I invite you to subscribe to the free period tracker. It is a great tool to keep track of your cycle...
Until then, relax, take care of yourself and be well :)
# farry 2013-06-11 08:07
Hi.. I had unsafe sex with my bf bt he discharged outat firs and second tym and after tht we used a condom, the next day there was some fluids like very light mucus discharge,can i possibly be pregnant??...
# namsey 2013-05-20 00:06
i have a 21cycle n i had unprotected sex the first day after my menses... is the 1st day safe
# Felix 2013-05-17 01:50
I had sex 16th 10 days after my galfrind's ovalution has ended, could she be pregnant?
# me 2013-05-12 00:34
i had unprotected sex with my bf from 1may till 8may. I have 30-31days cycle. my last date was 12april. previous to that was 12march. this month i havn't got periods yet. i m very tensed. what should i do???
# doll 2013-05-07 21:04
My period strtd on 5 n ended on 7 morng...n i hv unprotected sex vid my bf on 7th night ...is it safe!!! My periods cums 28-30 days aftr d previous one....so ll gt prgnt or not?? Plz tell me!!
# Janeth 2013-05-07 17:28
my last menstrual period was April 16th and I had sex on may 2nd. My menstrual cycle takes 30 days. Am I pregnant?
# BlueWaffle 2013-05-06 07:06
when you F...king yourself...
# Olivia 2013-05-02 02:26
I have a 30 day cycle and had sex 10 days before my period is due and now I'm 3 days late. Could I be pregnant? I thought it was a safe day.
# ekta 2013-04-29 05:42
i had my period 15 march and end 19 march. i had sex with my partner on 29 april i m safe for being pregnant
# Mine 2013-04-28 10:44
hi i had unprotected sex 3-4 days after my period.. is it okay?
# Hey 2013-04-27 12:47
I had unprotected sex on d fourth day of my period tat is 1st April and took iPil , thn again I had unprotected sex on April 5 took I pill .. I missed my dates now.. Preg test was negative.. Am I pregnant?
Need help
# Need help 2013-04-27 02:07
Hi i had unprotected sex on the day my period ended & the second & third day after could i be pregnant?
# Mayor 2013-04-22 03:53
I have something of a 28 day cycle (my period comes 24-29 days after the previous one). I had sex on the fourth day after my last period. Am I safe?
# Jing 2013-04-24 16:36
Mayor, this depends on how long is your menstruation. Generally the first 7 days starting from your menstruation is considered safe to have unprotected sex.
# Mayor 2013-04-22 03:48
I have a 28 day cycle I guess (my period comes btw 24 and 29 days after the last one) I had unprotected sex 4 days after my period. Am I safe?
# cindy 2013-04-20 01:18
My period started on 16 and I had unprotected sex on 20th am I goin to be. Pregnant?
# Jing 2013-04-24 16:51
It seems to fall within the safe period for unprotected sex.
# alexandra 2013-04-14 05:57
I just got my period this april 2 to 9 and I had a sex on april 10 and 11. Do you think I might get pregnant? Really need your help asap!
# alexandra 2013-04-14 05:55
Pls. Help I just had my period april 2-9 and I had a sex april 10
And 11. Is it possible I might get pregnant? I need your helllpppp.
# Myself 2013-03-29 22:43
I had an unprotected sex 2days after my period,kindly tell me if i could be pregnant.
# honey 2013-03-29 12:01
hi i had a 30day cycle. my period came the 15th and had unprotected sex on the 20th and 22nd..i also had unprotected sex on the 11th and 18th day the following month..is it possible to get pregnant?thanks
# Worried 2013-03-26 15:47
My period is one week late. I have had unprotected sex with my partner twice in the last few days, am I at a safe point in my cycle, to not fall pregnant because of it?
# anon 2013-03-24 22:27
Anon: I had my period on da 9 March and ended 13 March which days can u ovulate
# monica 2013-03-24 08:57
my last menstruation is march 2,2013 ..
i had sex w/ my husband ..
ndi pa aqu ngkakaroon ng mens. ngaun
march 24 maari bang buntis aqu
tnx ..
# shanquie 2013-03-23 22:56
i av a 29 day cycle,my period came the 14th and ended the 5th day and i had sex on the 3rd day after my period. is it possible i might be pregnant?
# Randi 2013-03-21 06:31
I had sex 23 days after my cycle started. Could I be pregnant??
anamarie petra
# anamarie petra 2013-03-16 04:16
i had my first day menstruation last march 9 and finished march 15.my bf is coming tmrw march 17 until march 18. he likes to make me pregnant on his visit. do u think im still safe on march 17& march 18?...thank you. i need ur advise pls.
# Me 2013-03-14 02:15
i have average cycle of 29 days. I have regular period. Since i had unprotected sex with my husband right after my period had stopped. i took i-pill as contraceptive within 24hrs. My period begin last month on 10 feb. i have 3 days cycle. Still i had no period this month. i just wana know am i preganant or should i wait for long. Just wondering if u could help me to know is it safe to have sex after period and then to i had i pill too
# Jingtastic 2013-03-14 15:27
Hi, it's generally safe to have unprotected sex right after period. On top of that you took I-pill. The chance of your getting pregnant is slim. Stress can delay period too. Hope you have yours soon :)
Jen Priddy
# Jen Priddy 2013-04-16 01:36
Hello Jing! I am new here and happy to be here.I need your thoughts about a concern that i have.
My husband and i are in a long distance rel and we havent had sex for almost a year now. He came home after 8mos he got home March 30th. We had sex without a condom the next day i got my period. I usually get it the first of the month. We did not have sex until the 6th of April after period with a condom and every night sometimes with a condom on some nights we did the pull out method. The last time we had sex was april 13th. I have been experiencing sore breasts since Sunday i get sore breasts before but not like the one i have now also today i noticed a creamy white discharge like lotio and loeer back pain. We have a 9 month old and not ready to have another baby.
I want to know if as early as now i could get the pregnancy symptoms or this is a case of pms. I am due to get my period 2 wks from now. I am getting so stressed and paranoid here. I need thoughts. Thank you so much
# hira 2013-03-06 01:52
is it safe to have sex after your periods...means sfter periods 8 days r safe but after 8 .....20 days r dangerous ??????
# Jingtastic 2013-03-14 16:19
Hira, it depends on if your menstrual cycle is regular or not. It's more reliable to track your cervical fluids to see if you're during your fertile or dry days. Our free period tracker is great for that!
# HELP MEEEEEEE 2013-02-28 05:26
I have an average 31 days cycle and just after I had my menstruation, I have sex with my bf two days in a row. First, protected sex and second was not. On the forth day, I had some brown discharge. But on the fifth day, I had some red spotting. PLEASE HELPPPPPPPPPPPP P
# Jingtastic 2013-03-15 15:13
This could be your residual menstrual blood. Hope everything is all right now. Take care!
# Confuse 2013-02-20 04:29
My last period started on January 20 and ended on 23. I had unprotected sex last Feb 9. Is it possible for me to get pregnant? I have a 28 days cycle.
# Jingtastic 2013-03-20 18:45
Mimi, generally speaking this falls within the safe window for unprotected sex.
# Jingtastic 2013-03-20 18:44
Bori, it's generally safe 4-5 days after you ovulate. The most accurate way to know is by tracking your basal body temperature, and the second best way is to observe your vaginal discharge (i.e. you're dry with no discharge). Hope this is helpful.
# Jingtastic 2013-03-20 18:41
Looks like you had unprotected sex on day 20, 8 days before your period. This seems to be your safe days. However, to be sure you need to see that you have no wet, creamy vaginal discharge or it's been 4 days after you ovulate by tracking your basal body temperature. Our free online period tracker is great for this. Check it out! http://www.cycleharmony.com/registration-page-sign-up?view=article
# mike 2013-02-24 04:03
# Bori 2013-02-18 10:50
Im ovulating right now and I have an ovulation calendar thats been on track the past 4months, todays my last day of ovulating and I wanted to know if its safe to have unprotected sex this sunday night or early monday morning.
# mimi 2013-02-18 05:32
Please help me i had unprotected sex with my bf on d 8th day after my period is it possible i can be pregnant? Need answer ASAP
# saviour 2013-05-05 13:48
No.you won't be pregnant because an egg hasn't been planted yet in the endometrium of the uterus since it ruptured when u had ur periods
# Jingtastic 2013-02-14 19:17
I charted out my temperature during a menstrual cycle. Check it out. Hope it explains it well :) http://www.cycleharmony.com/menstrual-tracking/when-do-you-ovulate-exactly?view=article
# Curious 2013-02-06 18:57
I track my temperature and try and determine the mucus. What is considered the norm as far as temp goes. After 3 high days is it safe to have sex on day 4. Also does the temperature stay high or drop down to base until my next menstrual cycle. Im trying to figure this all out. I found that the ovulation strips returned positive about 4 days prior to my first high temp reading so i am a little confused, i am 45 years of age.
Thanks or your help.
# Precious 2013-01-15 21:34
My last period started on d 14 n ended on d 20th of Dec n i had sex on d 1st. Is it possible am pregnant
# Jing 2013-01-17 13:06
Depending on how long is your menstrual cycle, and how regular it is, you may be having sex on your wet days. I encourage you to track your menstrual cycles with our free period and ovulation tracker. You can also use ovulation strips to determine when you're ovulating. Check out this link here: http://store.yahoo.com/cgi-bin/clink?early-pregnancy-tests+7tLSy2+index.html+
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Jing Jin My name is Jing. I founded CycleHarmony.com to inspire and empower my sisters around the world to honor our menstrual cycles and embrace the vibrant, radiant women we were born to be.

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