Attention 'Glee' Fans: A Hot Tub Cannot Get You Pregnant

Ok, Gleeks: we need to clear something up about last night's episode (everyone else may want to jump ahead a few paragraphs). The most preposterous thing in last night's episode of Glee, Fox's new hit musidey (comical? song-and-dancedy?) was not the football team dancing to "Single Ladies" during the big game. It was not Sandy Ryerson's shortie kimono. No, it was sweet, hot, dumb jock Finn believing that he got his girlfriend pregnant by kissing in a hot tub.

They didn't even take off their swimsuits! Finn sputters, though in fairness there was some premature ejaculation. No matter, cheerleader Quinn shrugs. "A hot tub is the perfect temperature for sperm," she says. "It helps them swim faster."

Of course, it's later shown that Quinn, president of the chastity club, got a little action on the side and was just trying to protect her rep and her relationship. It's true that Finn—who also learned this episode that libraries let you borrow books—probably slept through biology. But his misconception is not all that uncommon. After the show, teachers posting on online chat boards wrote that their students often had similar questions, and the Internet is full of real-life Finns trying to get the facts straight.

We think Finn is adorable, so we want to help. To do so, we turned to myth-busting expert Dr. Aaron E. Carroll, coauthor ofDon't Swallow Your Gum: Myths, Half-Truths, and Outright Lies About Your Body And Health and associate professor of pediatrics, director of the Center for HealthPolicy and Professionalism Research at the Indiana University School ofMedicine. (Listed in said book's index: "water, having sex in.")

Here's the truth about hot-tub sex (or lack thereof):

You cannot get pregnant from kissing in a hot tub.

A woman cannot get pregnant in a hot tub if she is not having sex, even if some uninvited swimmers find their way into the water. "The hot water would kill the sperm," says Carroll. "Even just cold water would kill them. And it would take days." It takes sperm hours to swim from the cervix to the uterus, only inches away, and even then nature commissions millions of sperm to get the job done. Even then, they're funneled them through a pretty straightforward tunnel, so fraught is the journey and so bad are sperm at swimming in a straight line. It's not going to happen.*

You CAN get pregnant from unprotected sex in the hot tub.

The water is not hot enough to kill sperm inside the testes, rendering a man temporarily sterile, nor will the chlorine somehow sterilize the cervix. If you have unprotected sex in the hot tub, you can get pregnant, just as if you had unprotected sex anywhere else. As for protected sex: Carroll says there's no evidence that condoms are less effective in hot water. Moisture could hypothetically wash away any water-based lubricants, which have been shown to slightly reduce breakage compared to condoms without. This doesn't make the condom unsafe—it makes them just as reliable as any traditional condom without the water-based lube.

You cannot get chlamydia or another STD from a hot tub.

"The only thing I could find was a single case in May of a guy who had acute prostatitis," says Carroll, who scoured the literature for any known cases of sexually transmitted disease being spread in a hot tub. This poor fellow's inflamed prostate (which is not really an STD, but did affect the general area) happened after he filled his hot tub with dirty stream water.

Contrary to popular belief, the steaming waters full of strangers—no matter how strange—will never be herpes soup. Chlorine should be enough to kill whatever prostate-inflaming bacteria may be in the water, and the microbes that make up most STDs are classified as STDs because you need to have sexual contact with an infected person to contract them, and sometimes even that means of transmission doesn't work. "STDs are not transferred by casual contact," says Carroll. "You cannot get chlamydiafrom the side of the hot tub the same way you can't get it from a toilet seat."

* Dr. Carroll would be very upset if I did not add this disclaimer: anything is possible. There is, I believe he said, a "one in a bazillion chance" that a supersperm could brave the chlorinated waters, swirling currents, and Lycra swimsuit; survive the arduous journey up the birth canal and fertilize an egg. There is always a chance. But it's an unlikely one.