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Miss Conception

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Calvin: Dad, how do people make babies?
Dad: Most people just go to Sears, buy the kit, and follow the assembly instructions.
Calvin: I came from Sears?!
Dad: No, you were a blue light special at K-Mart. Almost as good, and a lot cheaper.
[Calvin screams]
Mom: [to Dad] Dear, what are you telling Calvin now?!

A character has received information that is rather inaccurate regarding where babies come from. This occurs in two forms.

Type I

A character, typically young, or a bit of a ditz if older, worries they are or might be pregnant or that they have or might have gotten someone else pregnant. The only problem is that they haven't actually engaged in sex. Perhaps they failed their biology class (or never took one, or at least haven't gotten to that unit yet) and did not know that what they did could not result in anything more than a salty after-taste. Maybe they were raised very puritanically and think you can get babies from kissing, or maybe they just believe that anything with what sounds like "sex" (like "saxophone") in the title is equally likely to get you pregnant. For comedic effect, it could be a little girl whose parents chose their metaphors poorly during The Talk and thinks you can get pregnant from bee stings or flower pollen. Such a girl is likely to experience a severe case of First Period Panic.

Type II

A character actually is pregnant or got someone pregnant but is surprised or shocked because they believe they couldn't have because of some Old Wives' Tale (well, more like a Young Maiden's tale; the Old Wives tend to be more knowledgeable in these matters) such as "You're OK if you do it standing up" or "You won't get pregnant your first time" or "Do some jumping jacks and take some aspirin." Sometimes played for comedy, sometimes played for drama, sometimes played for angst, sometimes the Old Wives themselves might show up in the script casting looks of disapproval about her lack of knowledge about one of the most basic points of womanhood. This Old Wife/Miss Conception dynamic could be part of a larger Closer to Earth/Virginity Makes You Stupid comparison. Aside from this angle, guys in this mess don't get much in the way of a Double Standard, but more focus may be made on the fact that they "got a girl in trouble."

Not to be confused with But I Can't Be Pregnant!, where there is normally a really good reason they shouldn't get pregnant (vasectomy, hostile uterus, slow sperm, being male), while But We Used a Condom! can be related in two ways: either the users didn't know the basics of how to use a condom, or didn't know about the lack of 100% effectiveness of condoms (although in truth this is normally due to the former). The trope can also be used to justify the Law of Inverse Fertility. Compare Sex Miseducation Class, which is about bad or incompetent sex ed classes at school — the two can overlap if the sex ed class gives straight-up wrong information. Also not to be confused with "Miss X" Pun, though this trope's name is an example.


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Type I

  • In a Super Bowl ad, a father is explaining to the young son that there is a planet where all babies come from and their journey takes nine months to get to Earth. When the boy starts saying that one of his friends told him that babies are made when mommies and daddies get... PLAY "Wheels on the Bus!"

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Aria the Scarlet Ammo, Aria's father apparently told her that she would get pregnant if she kissed, which leads to this in episode 6:
    Aria: We did kiss but it's okay, I didn't get pregnant!
    Aria: ... daddy said I would get pregnant if I kissed.
  • One of the more bizarre examples of this trope in anime is Iyo from Big Order. When introduced to Eiji she warns him not to touch the rabbit ear-like things on her head because she'll get pregnant. Pretty far-fetched, right? Well, a short time later Eiji does just that, by accident, and Iyo immediately develops a huge baby bump and goes into labor. Though it turns out she wasn't actually pregnant; Iyo's power is Divination, meaning the whole mess was a prediction of things to come and not actually happening. However, it does bring up some interesting implications regarding her and Eiji.
  • A series of official Code Geass Yonkoma spoofs Suzaku and Euphemia's innocent natures by having them debate whether babies come from cabbage patches or the stork; in the end, they set off in the Lancelot to find out. Throughout all of this, Lelouch's reaction is a non-verbal Flat "What".
  • In I Couldn't Become a Hero, So I Reluctantly Decided to Get a Job, Fino's father told her that women get pregnant if they sleep in the same room as a man, so she briefly panics and thinks she's pregnant after waking up in Raul's room (she went to his room half asleep in the middle of the night because he has a fan and she was hot) and Raul has to explain to her that she's not pregnant.
  • A rather rare example of the father not understanding how conception works occurs in Ōoku: The Inner Chambers: because his childhood was spent in a Buddhist monastery and the rest of his life in the all male harem, Gyokuei never learned that a woman has a limited amount of time to be able to bear children, hence him pushing his daughter Tsunayoshi into promiscuity to produce an heir to the shogunate - even after she reached menopause.
  • Luvelia in Peter Grill and the Philosopher's Time. She is completely ignorant of sex and still believes babies are delivered by storks. Peter attempted to give her The Talk, but she wouldn't believe private parts are used for anything besides expelling waste.
  • The Rising of the Shield Hero: While bathing in a hotspring said to grant luck to couples, Raphtalia fantasizes about kissing Naofumi and then protests that "If we kiss I'll get pregnant!" — emphasizing that while she has the body of an adult she still has the mind of a young teenager completely lacking in sex-ed.
  • Why the Hell Are You Here, Teacher!?: Kana has a comically poor understanding of sex. In one of the omake chapters, she believes she's gotten herself pregnant after an incident with Satou, despite the fact that no actual intercourse was involved.
  • Yakitate!! Japan has a rare example of the first use involving a male: Kai Suwabara, a genius when it comes to swordsmanship and bread-making, is apparently a complete dunce when it comes to biology, as he was easily led to believe that he had impregnated his girlfriend just by hugging her. He then yells at her to stop hugging him so that she will not get MORE pregnant. He really is absolutely clueless.

    Fan Works 
  • In Freedom's Limits, Smador, a teenage Orc, thinks that human women can only get pregnant when they go into heat, like the Orcesses he grew up around. Therefore, he thinks he and Madavi are in the clear when it comes to unprotected sex. No prizes for guessing what happens. When Smador insists Madavi can't be pregnant because he’d have known if she went into heat, Madavi is confused and explains human women don't do that.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Apocalypto has a background gag where, just before everything goes to hell, Jaguar Paw's brother is complaining that he still hasn't managed to impregnate his wife, even though they have sex constantly. Fed up with the complaints, his father gives him a "fertility herb" to rub on his privates just before the act. Thirty seconds later, the brother runs out of his tent in pain and dunks his burning genitals in water. His wife follows... and starts drinking water to quench her burning mouth.
  • Dumb and Dumber To: Harry and Lloyd both believed that they got their old flame, Fraida Fletcher, pregnant years ago simply by motorboating her boobs in a hot tub.
  • Holmes & Watson: After sharing his first kiss with Millie, Holmes tells her to get plenty of bed rest on the voyage home, as she is most probably pregnant; much to Watson's confusion:
    Watson: Pregnant? From a kiss?
    Holmes: Exactly.
  • The movie Jenny Juno has a brief implication of this for the guy. At the start of the movie, when Jenny reveals to Juno that she's pregnant, Juno is confused and asks if what they did really could cause pregnancy. An annoyed Jenny assures him that yes, it can.
  • In Melody (S.W.A.L.K.), while discussing the finer points of snogging with boys with her friends, the 10-or-11-year-old Muriel gets a big laugh out of them by telling them "I always thought kissing would bring babies!"
  • Mermaids, a 1990 film starring Cher. The older daughter Charlotte thought she could get pregnant just by kissing a guy. She went to a gynecologist. Embarrassment in spades ensued.
  • Now and Then plays with this in a conversation between the four protagonists.
    Teeny: Have you ever been French kissed?
    Chrissy: Are you kidding? I don't want to get pregnant.
    Roberta: You can't get pregnant from kissing.
    Chrissy: I know that, beetle brain. But, it's common knowledge, if you tongue kiss a boy, he automatically thinks you'll do the deed with him. It's the male curse.
  • In Real Women Have Curves, Carmen mistakes menopause for a new pregnancy. While a simple misdiagnosis like this wouldn't usually fit the trope, Carmen is sufficiently ignorant of her own biology that she needs her (male) doctor to explain what menopause is.

  • An urban legend that varies from region to region describes a couple who went to their doctor because they were having trouble conceiving. The misunderstanding often comes down to them doing it wrong, or even not at all. This is invariably the result of a prudish religious and/or political environment which has left them (hilariously) ignorant.

  • The Bonesetter's Daughter. Eleven-year-old Ruth is unclear on many things relating to sex, including the specific bodily fluid necessary for conception. So when she sits down on a toilet seat immediately after her male neighbor used it and didn't aim well, she fears she's pregnant. note 
  • Carnal Crimes of Cremorne, a ribald Edwardian novel. Caroline's maid is terrified she might be pregnant after performing oral sex on a man. After a brief Author Filibuster on the need to provide decent sex education to the lower classes, Caroline informs the girl as to the truth of the matter. The girl is so grateful that she engages in lesbian sex with her mistress.
  • Catch-22. The doctor shows up with a black eye and explains it came from explaining something to a patient who demanded to know why his wife wasn't pregnant yet, claiming they'd been having sex every night. After some conversation, he got the man to show him with a pair of dolls just what, exactly, they were doing every night. And had to explain as tactfully as possible why that might not be getting her pregnant. (For rather unclear reasons, the husband later came back and hit the doctor in the face.)
  • The Duke and I. Daphne wants kids, but her new husband doesn't. He's pulling out before ejaculation, but as far as she knows (because her mother neglected to give her The Talk) they're trying to make a baby. Since pulling out isn't a reliable method of contraception (although recent studies rate it as only slightly less effective than normal, not perfect, condom use), there's a bit of crossover with the second type of this as well.
  • Discworld: In Equal Rites, Granny Weatherwax becomes worried she may have to have The Talk with Esk, as the young girl has grown up around livestock and knows how they are bred, yet appears to remain unaware that this could have anything to do with human behavior.
  • In The Eyes of The Dragon, the somewhat sex-phobic king Roland marries a much younger woman, Sasha; on their wedding night, he undresses and she asks what "that" is. The narration notes that she says it in just the right way to console Roland that she's even less experienced than he is, while a slightly different tone might have sounded mocking and made him self-conscious.
  • Gautrek's Saga: When Snotra realizes she is pregnant from Gauti, she makes her brother Gilling believe he (Gilling) impregnated her by accidentally touching her cheek with his hand. Neither Gilling nor any of the other hillbilly siblings see through this fib.
  • In Go Set a Watchman, a twelve-year-old Jean Louise "Scout" Finch believes herself to be pregnant after being unwillingly French-kissed by a boy at school.
  • The Joy Luck Club has one of the mothers, Lindo, revealing through a backstory that her first husband in China was unable to get her pregnant. While his mother, her mother-in-law, eager for a lot of grandchildren, accuses her of "spilling his seed," it's revealed that it's because they haven't actually had sex. This is because the husband is very young, the bare minimum to be having children, and isn't emotionally ready for it yet. Used further when Lindo uses the fact that the maid is pregnant to say that the maid is the proper wife for her husband: she's carrying their baby.
  • In Skippy Dies, 14-year-old Lori thinks she's pregnant after being forced to swallow while giving Carl a blow job.
  • The Thorn Birds: Meggie thinks she's dying because she's been "bleeding from her bottom" once a month for several months. Poor Father Ralph has to explain to her that she's having her period, all the while suppressing his anger at Fee, Meggie's mother, for being so neglectful of her daughter that she's failed to explain this to her. During that same conversation, he asks her if she knows where babies come from and she cheerfully declares, "You wish for them and they grow!". She's in for quite an unpleasant surprise on her wedding night...
    • The movie improves on this slightly by having her know about sex (having grown up on a farm, she's witnessed the animal behavior), but is still shocked at how painful her first experience is.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Anne with an E, a former foster mother of Anne's told her that men have a mouse in their trousers and if a woman touches it then she will have a baby.
    • In season 3, classmates Ruby Gillis and Tillie Boulter fear they're pregnant since held hands with boys while dancing.
  • A Bit of Fry and Laurie
    • A sketch has Fry as the headmaster of a school and Laurie as Mr. Smear, an ultra-strait-laced parent outraged that his young son had been taught "gutter language" and "lies" about human reproduction in biology class — specifically, that "sexual intercourse can bring about pregnancy in the adult female," which he claims is "nothing more than a disgusting rumor put about by trendy young people in The '60s." The baffled headmaster gently points out that Mr. Smear must have had sex with Mrs. Smear at some point to produce little Michael; Mr. Smear is mortally offended and says that Michael is his son "in the normal way," which, when pressed, he describes as getting married, buying a house and some furniture, and just waiting for a bit, making sure to eat three hot meals a day.
      Fry: Mmm. And Michael just sort of... popped up, did he?
      Laurie: Yes, well, of course, it's a few years ago now, but I think one day he was... just there.
      Fry: And at no stage did you and Mrs. Smear engage in any act of sexual intimacy?
      Laurie: Yes, it's very hard for you to believe, isn't it? It's very hard for you to believe that there are still some of us who can bring a child into this world without recourse to cannabis and government handouts!
    • Inverted in a sketch with a stuffy father (Fry) asking his son (Laurie) if he was aware of the facts of life before his impending marriage.
      Fry: Now, I haven't raised this subject with you before, Rufus, but, erm... have you ever wondered how you came to be born?
      Laurie: Well, I just sort of assumed, pater, you know, that one day you put your penis inside Mama's vagina and inseminated her ovaries.
      Fry: Yes, that is what we told you, isn't it...
    It turns out that the real process has a lot to do with Tidyman's Carpets.
    • In one of the Vox Pops, a man indignantly reports that he and his wife had their first child on the NHS and had to wait nine months.
  • Bridgerton: Prior to her relationship with Simon, Duke of Hastings, Lady Daphne Bridgerton has no idea whatsoever what sex entails. It's he who suggests she try masturbating for the first time. Even when her mother tries to explain things to her on her wedding day, she's so vague that Daphne doesn't learn anything. Ultimately her ladies' maid has to explain things to her properly, several weeks after the ceremony—including that it doesn't work if the male pulls out, as Simon has been doing and lying to her that he's sterile (he's actually exercising a grudge against his abusive father by refusing to continue his line).
  • Played for Drama in the TV adaptation of Emily of New Moon. Rhoda makes out with her crush, (encouraged by her mother because the boy's family is well-off,) and fully believes she's pregnant afterwards. Too ashamed to tell anyone, she nearly poisons herself by drinking a bottle of an abortifacient.
  • Glee:
    • Finn believes his girlfriend when she claims he got her pregnant when he ejaculated in a hot tub while they were both clothed (and not touching genitalia).
    • In a later episode, Brittany believes she is definitely pregnant. Her boyfriend, Artie, worries because they have had sex. However, the reason Brittany believes she is pregnant is that she saw a stork build a nest outside her window. All was well, for Brittany is a known fool.
  • Good Times. A girl in Penny's 6th grade class is pregnant. When Penny asks Wilona what is wrong with her friend (said friend is hugely showing), Wilona tells her that her friend has stomach mumps and that Penny should not play with her anymore because it's contagious. Florida is upset by this and implores Wilona to have The Talk with Penny so that she won't be misinformed about sex and possibly become pregnant like her friend.
  • Happy Days. One episode features a girl who thought she was pregnant after necking with her boyfriend while wearing a bikini.
  • Gimme a Break!: Youngest daughter Samantha thinks she's pregnant after she gets her first kiss from a boy.
  • Masters of Sex: In a close variant, Dr. Masters at one point counsels a couple who come to him for infertility treatments that they need to actually have sex in order to have a child: the two are ultra-conservative Christians and apparently thought praying for a child was all it took.
  • The Nanny. Youngest child Grace thought she was pregnant due to Fran describing a soap opera character who was pregnant: they "slept together" (Grace and her male friend both took a nap in the same room), Grace was "late" (they had missed a playdate because of the nap).
  • Played for laughs in a The Two Ronnies sketch, in which a father (played by Barker) is giving The Talk to his son (Corbett), and it becomes obvious that the father is so clueless about sex that he cannot, in fact, be the son’s biological father.
  • Victoria Wood As Seen On TV. A gag similar to the "Fry and Laurie" one, (although not taken to the same level of surreality) appears in a Mockumentary set at a hospital interviews a couple who were asking a doctor about having a child.
    Wife: We didn't get one. Said it'd take nine months or somethin'. And the things they wanted us to do!
    Husband: Sections of intercost, or something.
    Wife: Sounds 'orrible.
    Interviewer: Well, everybody does it, you know.
    Wife: They don't!
Although earlier in the same sketch, when told test tube babies are conceived in a test tube, her reaction was "We'd never both fit in." Ping Pong Naïveté, but a fairly consistent level of stupidity.
  • The Waltons, set in the 1930s has Grandma Walton admit to John-Boy in a private conversation that she was so sheltered in her youth that the first time she was kissed, she thought she was going to get pregnant.
  • The Young Ones two Vyvyen's punk medical student friends:
    Punk #1: That's nothing. I kissed two girls on the lips last week!
    Punk #2: Lying toerag.
    Punk #1: Eh?
    Punk #2: Why aren't you pregnant, then?
    Punk #1: I might be. But I don't care if I am. I don't care if I live or die, mate.

  • L'École des femmes (The School for Wives) by the 17th century playwright Molière. The old Arnolphe plans to marry his ward Agnès, whom he brought up to be too innocent to make him a cuckold. As a result, the seventeen-year-old future bride is: innocent and so sincere
    She asks if women have babies by the ear.

    Visual Novels 
  • CLANNAD: Kappei refuses to go through with a life-saving operation, so his girlfriend Ryou tries to coerce him by claiming that she's pregnant with his child... until Kappei points out that they haven't fulfilled the necessary prerequisites.

  • Achewood: An early story arc involves Phillipe getting "married" to a flower after Lie Bot tricks him into thinking he made it pregnant by touching it (and everyone else apparently goes along with it For the Lulz). Possibly a Shout-Out to the King of the Hill episode mentioned below.
  • In Better Days, Jessica gets pregnant soon after she and Robert get married. When her friends ask how she managed that, she proudly says it happened pretty quickly when they stopped doing anal.
  • Girls with Slingshots: Hazel's babysitting charge, Tyler, is approaching adolescence, and she informs his mother it might be time to have The Talk with him. To her shock, Tyler's mom is a hyper-religious Ditz who has no idea how sex works and believes she was divinely impregnated by an angel. Hazel and Jamie then uncomfortably have The Talk with this adult woman. This is at first Played for Laughs, but takes a dark turn when they consider the likelihood that she was impregnated by a charlatan under Questionable Consent.
  • Questionable Content: Hannelore worries that she might be pregnant and suffering from morning sickness, despite being disgusted by the idea of sex. She's paranoid enough to believe that someone may have artificially inseminated her without her knowledge.
  • Does Not Play Well With Others: As a child, Fran believed that you got pregnant by performing oral sex on a guy, since her mom's over-enthusiastic version of The Talk just left her with the impression that "penises were involved somehow" and she later saw a girl doing the deed on a guy in the woods. She did eventually ask the girl she saw about it, but being told that "that's not how you make babies, moron, that's just how you get a new cell phone" just left her even more confused.

    Web Original 
  • At least one Darwin Awards Honorable Mention has gone to a young couple who didn't know the proper mechanics and had to have them explained by a fertility doctor. They'd been having plenty of sex, just not the sort that leads to pregnancy.

    Web Videos 
  • In Noob: La Quête Légendaire, the first words that Sparadrap utters after getting his first kiss is asking his brother if he's going to become a father. His brother tells him not to worry because not only it was a just a kiss, it was a kiss via Digital Avatar. The woman is physically in a different town and the technology of the setting is nowhere near advanced enough to turn this into an Accidental Truth.

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad!. The episode "Deacon Stan, Jesus Man" played with this. Steve gets caught holding hands with his crush, Betsy, by her parents who tell her "hand-holding leads to kissing which can get you pregnant". Later in the episode, Steve gives Roger CPR and wakes up the next morning pregnant. Roger, being an alien, as well as one of Ambiguous Gender, reveals that his species reproduces through mouth-to-mouth contact, and he accidentally put his spawn into Steve. Later, Steve kisses his crush, Betsy, the daughter of Stan's rival, Chuck White. The next morning he wakes up no longer pregnant. It turns out he transferred the spawn to her, and she's now pregnant (and convinced that kissing is how people normally get pregnant).
  • Drawn Together: Conniving bitch Toot convinces Princess Clara she's fallen pregnant because the next thing after True Love's Kiss is children. Clara submits to a tumble or three down the stairs of the "M.C. Escher room" before Foxxy Love explains to her how human biology works. Even worse, Clara had been kissed by another woman. Talk about Virginity Makes You Stupid.
  • King of the Hill: In season 3 episode 14, "The Wedding of Bobby Hill", Bobby and Luanne have an Escalating War of pranks that culminates in Bobby replacing Luanne's birth control pills with candy, and Luanne then tricking him into believing that this alone made her pregnant and that he must now marry her. Hank and Peggy apparently go along with this to teach Bobby a lesson... and then trick Luanne into thinking the marriage is actually legally valid, to teach her a lesson too. They can be quite sneaky sometimes.
  • The Oh Yeah! Cartoons short "Ask Edward: All About Babies" had Edward give his little brother Emo a completely inaccurate account of where babies come from, claiming that parents have to deliver a request form to Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy and that the Delivery Stork has to concentrate in order to lay an egg that will hatch into a baby after it is delivered. Shortly after Edward makes this claim, Emo finds an egg in a tree near their house and ends up believing that the egg is their new little brother. Their mother unintentionally upsets them by cooking the egg for them to eat, then tries to set her boys straight by having their father give them The Talk, only for them to reach the conclusion that eggs will only have babies in them if they've been pollinated by bees.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In one episode, Bart thinks he has gotten a girl pregnant by kissing and holding her hand at the same time, a case of Ping Pong Naïveté.
      Darcy: Wow, you really are ten. I thought you were just kind of stupid.
      Bart: I'm ten and stupid.
    • A deleted scene from an episode where Lisa gets a crush on Nelson has her daydreaming about them being married with a baby. Nelson presents it to her and says, "Our love created it somehow."
    • In a Lady and the Tramp parody within the episode "Love, Springfieldian Style", Vamp (a cross of Marge and Lady from Lady and the Tramp), alone with Shady (Homer/Tramp) after a romantic dinner at Luigi's, tells Shady "I am in heat. That's the safe time, right?", to which Shady (presumably despite better knowledge) replies "Oh, the safest!" Predictably, Vamp gets pregnant.
  • South Park:
    • Ms. Choksondik tells the girls in her Sex Ed class that the boy must always wear a condom or else they'll get nasty diseases and/or pregnant. She neglects to inform them that the boy and the girl also have to have sex, so all the girls refuse to associate with the boys at all unless they're wearing condoms at all times.
    • In "Taming Strange", the Canadian Health Control Head believed queefing into a man's face results in having a baby because his wife told him that and he didn't know it was supposed to be sarcastic.

    Real Life 
  • Henry VIII based his divorce from his fourth wife partly on the grounds of non-consummation. She was confused by this because he did give her a kiss goodnight and she thought that was how it worked.
  • In her girlhood memoir "A Girl Named Zippy," Haven Kimmel's best male friend tells that babies are conceived by a method that can only be called by its initials; his information is hilariously inaccurate.
  • Alfred Kinsey's studies on human sexual behavior in the 1940s and 50s revealed a lot of young people had false beliefs about pregnancy. One woman's mother first told her that women get pregnant by touching pinky fingers with men while sharing a hymnal.
  • In his biography, Tom Sullivan reported being in the junior high and fearing he got a girl pregnant after dancing with her and "getting funny feelings". After talking it over during confession, the amused priest assured him that all he had felt was the perfectly normal sensation of getting an erection.

Type II

    Anime & Manga 
  • This happens with the main couple of Akkan Baby. As neither Shigeru or Yuki know what birth control is or what condoms are, nor did they learn what they are (their parents, we can guess, didn't tell them), so, unsurprisingly, Shigeru gets pregnant. There's a page where they wonder how to read a pregnancy test.

    Comic Books 
  • The Sandman (1989): In the story arc "A Game of You", Hazel gets pregnant after having sex standing up, though she thought she wouldn't. Somewhat justified in that she's a Butch Lesbian, and hadn't had sex with a man before.
  • The "you can't get pregnant your first time" myth came up in Troublemakers. After Christine discovers this isn't true, she goes to a doctor friend to get checked out and this ultimately leads to her discovering that she isn't human anymore.

    Educational Posters 
  • One of Jamaica's many Health Ministry charts advocating responsible sexual behavior shows two teenaged schoolkids, a boy and a girl, discussing having sex. The girl expresses concern that she could get pregnant, but the boy scoffs that that can't happen if they do the deed while standing up. One panel later, the girl informs the boy that she's pregnant, to which he callously answers, "For who? Not me!" (Charts of this nature are likely to be hung up in a high school guidance counselor's office, the better to help deter sexual activity among youngsters who ought to be abstaining from sex until they're old enough to handle the responsibility.)

    Fairy Tales 
  • In "Rapunzel" as found in the first edition of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales, Mother Gothel (the witch) gets wind of the fair prince visiting Rapunzel when Rapunzel wonders why her dress is seemingly getting tighter and tighter around the middle. Obviously, it does not occur to Rapunzel (who has been locked up in a tower from age twelve) that she could be pregnant. This version of events was sanitized by the Grimms from the second edition onwards, where Rapunzel simply blabs out that the prince visits her in a moment of thoughtlessness.

    Fan Works 
  • In The Scandal, Sir James Martin is almost completely clueless about marital relationships and completely clueless about pregnancy. He thinks only a woman is needed to beget a child and is amazed that his son looks like him.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Shrek the Third, when Shrek learns that his wife Fiona is pregnant, Puss in Boots (rather sarcastically) starts to give him The Talk. Shrek cuts him off, very annoyed, as he doesn't need to be told how it happens. The trope comes in after he walks away; Donkey, who has five children, turns to Puss and asks in all seriousness, "How does it happen?"

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Played for Laughs in the Spanish film Adiós, Cigüeña, Adiós, in which Arturo manages to get Paloma pregnant from Their First Time. Paloma's somewhat older and wiser friend Mamen is the one who breaks the news to him:
    Arturo: Pero, ¿cómo es posible? ["But how is that possible?"]
    Mamen: ¿Cómo es posible? Y cuando os quedasteis solos en la cabaña, ¿qué? ["How is it possible? When you two stayed out there alone with each other in the cabin, how else?"]
    Arturo: ¿Solo por aquello? ["Just because of that?"]
    Mamen: ¡Anda claro! ["Well, duh!"]
  • In Old, two 6 year old children rapidly age at a secluded beach, and after having sex, one of them, a girl named Kara gets pregnant, but she doesn't know about it (justified since she is still mentally 6 years old), she tells her mother that she got a "bit fat".
  • In the backstory of The Vast of Night, Mabel Blanche had no idea that the somewhat pleasant thing she was allowing her boyfriend to do to her was how babies were made.

  • There is an old joke about an old lady who house calls a veterinarian to inspect her female cat. She says that the cat suddenly became pregnant, despite never being allowed any contact with males. While the doctor inspects her, a large male cat suddenly enters the room. The doctor says "What are you surprised at, exactly? Here, you've got a tomcat living with you." The lady looks at him in horror and says: "You should be ashamed, doctor. That's her brother!"

  • In Mona Simpson's Anywhere but Here, Ann's grandmother, Lillian, conceived her first child, Carol, when she was in her teens. When her boyfriend initiated sexual contact, she didn't know what it was.
    All the time I was growing up, I thought a soul lay in your chest, I even thought I knew what it looked like. It was a wide, horizontal triangle like a yoke, made out of white fog, like clouds. I thought married people had babies by somehow pressing their chests together so their souls touched. That's how dumb I was. That was as much as I knew. I was pretty sure it had something to do with kissing, and so I was careful we didn't kiss.
  • In A Dangerous Fortune by Ken Follett, this happens with Maisie Robinson: "It was just one f*ck!"
  • Discworld: Nanny Ogg knows a very nice couple who managed to have several children before figuring out how they happened.
  • Almost everybody in Earth's Children does not know about the sex/pregnancy connection. The Clan thinks that every month a totem from a female and a totem from a nearby male will fight, and if the female totem loses, the female will get pregnant. The Others believe the Earth Mother blesses females with babies. Ayla is the only person who connects sex with babies. More justified than, well, pretty much every other unique discovery or technological advancement Ayla is solely responsible for; she's the only female character we meet who's spent a prolonged period totally isolated from male company, or in fact any human or Neanderthal company at all for that matter, and eventually she starts to wonder why she hasn't become pregnant. More specifically, she was brought up by the Clan with the idea that periods are from a woman's totem being injured in fighting, but not having been defeated, and she wonders why she has them still despite not having a man nearby whose totem could fight hers. She also spends more time observing animals than anyone else did, and noticed that all the female animals who gave birth had had sex first.
  • Murdering Ministers by Alan Beechy. A thirteen-year-old girl whose highly religious parents never taught her about reproduction falls pregnant when she lets a close friend have sex with her since he seemed so keen on it. Having a vague notion that "babies are a gift from God to a man and a woman", she concludes that her pregnancy is God's way of telling her she should be with her youth minister whom she adores. A number of misunderstandings ensue when she tells him this.
  • In No Motive by Daphne du Maurier, a girl gets raped while being passed out drunk. Shortly afterwards, it is revealed she is pregnant, and she is more shocked than everyone else, since she thinks you can only get pregnant when married and she doesn't remember the experience. She arrives at the idea that she is the second Virgin Mary, and doesn't understand why her father, a Knight Templar vicar, is outraged.
  • The Sharing Knife: Sunny tells Fawn this. She doesn't know if he was lying to get in her pants or if he actually believed it, but either way, it's a costly mistake.
    Fawn: He did say a girl couldn't be got with child the first time.
    Dag: And you believed this? You, a country girl?
    Fawn: I said I was stupid about it. I thought maybe people were different than heifers. I thought maybe Sunny knew more than me. He could hardly know less. It's not as if anybody talked about it. To me, I mean.
  • Cara in the Sword of Truth, mentions a teen who believed that she became pregnant because Darken Rahl gave her a flower and did some magic on it.

    Live-Action TV 
  • All in the Family/Archie Bunker's Place. A Very Special Episode had one of Stephanie's friends get pregnant. She thought that she couldn't get pregnant because it was her first time.
  • Carnivàle. Libby tells Sophie that she can't get pregnant after her first time. She doesn't, but she certainly could have.
  • Clueless. There is an episode where the one-episode character, a tutor for the regulars, gets pregnant in such a situation. It's even brought up that while this girl was smart about school-things, she didn't have a clue about real life.
  • Degrassi Junior High:
  • Father Brown: In "The Kembleford Dragon", Pandora had been told be her aunt that she shouldn't kiss a man because she could 'get in the family way'. So she was very careful not to kiss Ben Webb while having sex with him. She returns to Kembleford pregnant.
  • Friends. Monica and Chandler are going to adopt from a woman who is still pregnant with the child. They inquire about the father, who she reveals is one of two choices: one golden boy and one jail-hound who murdered his own father with a shovel. They (especially Chandler) worry about the father-murderer choice until Monica discovers that the act she committed with him was not something that could get you pregnant.
    Chandler: Was it the thing we rarely do or the the thing we NEVER do?
    Monica: The thing we NEVER do.
    Chandler: [with respect] Shovelly Joe...
  • A joke on Mock the Week's "Scenes We'd Like to See" segment, where the topic was "unlikely agony aunt letters" (a.k.a. advice column requests).
    Holly Walsh: [visibly pregnant] Dear Deirdre, why does semen make you fat?
  • In the first episode of Reba, after youngest child Jake revealed that oldest daughter Cheyenne was pregnant, Reba and Brock ask Cheyenne and Van what they were thinking. Cheyenne says that she thought a woman could only get pregnant one day of the month. Reba sets her straight.
    Reba: You can get pregnant most days of the month, sitting down, standing up, and in a motel hot tub!
  • That '70s Show:
    • Jackie discovers she is pregnant, but she thought you couldn't get pregnant for 8 days after your period. Though, as Donna points out, she's not actually sure whether it's eight days after the first day of the period or eight days after the last day. Subverted in that it turns out she's not actually pregnant anyway.
    • A similar scenario appears in a later season when Kelso gets Brooke pregnant, that uses the "If you do it standing up myth." However, rather than you can't get pregnant, it's that the baby won't be a girl, according to Kelso.
    • Kelso also points out in an early episode that he likes dating Catholic School girls because they haven't had sex ed so they don't know what not to do.
  • The first episode of The Vicar of Dibley's third series, where Alice is pregnant with her and husband Hugo Horton's first child, she mentions that she can't be pregnant because "the hamster didn't turn blue". To her credit, the title vicar lampshades it by saying, "I don't think I'm familiar with that particular pregnancy test."note 

  • Weekly World News. A story from that escaped into the wild as an Urban Legend: a woman sues the maker of spermicidal jelly after she gets pregnant. Then it turns out that she had used the product by putting it on crackers and eating it. Referenced (but inverted) in an episode of House. A woman comes to him complaining of itching and smelling bad "down there." It turns out she had been using jelly... but not spermicidal jelly, which gave her a bacterial infection.
  • An article on Urban Myths on Fertility in Chile: "I use the Chinese calendar: You won't get pregnant if you only have sex when you are 'Closed'." "Open" was when she was likely to be bleeding.

  • Spring Awakening. 14-year-old Wendla's mother tells her that, in order to have a child, she must simply love her husband with her whole heart. She is later shocked to find herself pregnant as a result of having sex with her friend, Melchior. After all, Melchior is not her husband!

    Visual Novels 
  • In CLANNAD, Akio frantically denies that Nagisa is pregnant when the men catch her with morning sickness, claiming some usual excuses to avoid The Talk. His wife and daughter correct him that Nagisa and Tomoya had conceived through regular means.
  • Played for Drama in Umineko: When They Cry: By the time Rosa (then a middle-schooler) and Beatrice Ushiromiya (an older teen) met, Beatrice had already given birth to a child but had clearly no idea of the implications or why it happened. The reality is very grim: the very sheltered and oblivious Beatrice was sexually abused by her (and Rosa's) crazy father Kinzo, who had deluded himself into thinking she was her mother's reincarnation.


    Web Original 
  • Not Always Right has this story, about a girl who claims the doctor must be mistaken about her being pregnant because she's a lesbian. Fair enough, right? She once overheard her mother saying she wished her daughter was a lesbian so she wouldn't get pregnant, and despite not knowing what it meant, "My boyfriend and I decided that I was a lesbian so mom wouldn't have to worry."

    Web Videos 
  • Episode 56 of Dragon Ball Z Abridged: After Goku confesses to Chi Chi that their week of near-nonstop sexnote  has left him "boned dry", Chi Chi tells him it's fine, because she already confirmed she was pregnant. Goku's response: A shocked "HOW!" Seconds later, he teleports into Bulma's lab at Capsule Corp.
    Bulma: (As baby Trunks coos in the background) ...I'm well aware.
  • Parodied and inverted in the SMOSH episode "I HAVE A SECRET SON". Ian's ex-girlfriend Antoinette shows up with another man and tells Ian that he got Antoinette pregnant and the man with her is their son. Ian believes her because Ian and Antoinette had held hands (specifically their right hands, because that's how sweat from their excited hands mingles and travels into the woman's body to grow into a baby) on many occasions. Anthony protests, pointing out that their thirteen-year-old "son" looks like a thirty-year-old black man. Ian realizes that he couldn't have possibly gotten Antoinette pregnant because he had always held her left hand, and their "son" reveals that he was Ian's father all along because he had held Antoinette's right hand. Anthony protests that no one can get pregnant by holding hands, and holds up Stevie's right hand to prove it... only to jump cut to a hospital bed, where a pregnant Anthony lies with a pissed-off expression.

    Real Life 
  • Throughout the 1960s, India's Health Ministry attempted a number of campaigns to promote birth control to its burgeoning population, complete with seminars and home demonstrations on how to use the new technology. There was no discernible decline in the birth rate, however. A survey taken a year into one of these campaigns revealed a likely explanation: some 80% of Indian men surveyed were revealed to have been taking the pill. It also revealed that 98% of them were using condoms — on their fingers, just as the home demonstrators had shown them how to do.


Video Example(s):


How Sin Thinks Babies Are Made

Give Dizzy some credit, it's more creative than the stork story.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (14 votes)

Example of:

Main / MissConception

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