Using Withdrawal Or Pullout Method: The Risks

Withdrawal method also known as ‘coitus interruptus’, it refers to the act whereby a man withdraws his penis from the vagina right before he ejaculates. Withdrawal still is the world’s oldest form of birth control, as the main purpose of the practice is to prevent semen from entering the vagina and thus preventing an unwanted pregnancy.

The most common debate when it comes to withdrawal is to whether the method really is safe against pregnancy despite the fact that ejaculation does not take place in the vagina and pre-cum may contain a very small amount of sperm. There is a small chance that this small amount of sperm could lead to a pregnancy.

Withdrawal method takes practice and quite some experience. It takes self-awareness and control, but if used properly, the withdrawal method can reduce the risk of an unintended pregnancy. The good thing about withdrawal method is that can be coupled with other contraception methods such as spermicide.

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So how does the withdrawal work?

The basic working behind withdrawal is that once you feel that you are getting close to ejaculation, you withdraw your penis and ejaculate away from the vagina so that your sperm does not enter the vagina. This method requires a lot of self-control.

Withdrawal, just like any other form of birth control, is not a hundred percent effective. It is said that 20 in every 100 women practicing withdrawal will get pregnant [1] [2].

It’s unclear, however, what can be done to get closer to the perfect use rate for withdrawal. Part of the issue may be physiological and depend on a man knowing his body, sensations, and what it feels like when he’s about to ejaculate so that he can learn when he needs to pull out.

Some men might have better efficacy rates when they use withdrawal because they have the timing down pat. Efficacy is related to age, with younger, less experienced men having more failure than older men with more practice.

There are several risks associated with the withdrawal method such as:

The withdrawal method does not protect against sexually transmitted infections

Withdrawal may protect against pregnancy a tad bit but does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases and HIV. Withdrawal means that a couple is having unprotected sex and thus their body fluids are exposed to each other.

The only contraception method that protects against sexually transmitted diseases happens to be condoms. Before deciding to use withdrawal, it is key for a couple to get screened for any infections and diseases just to ensure that they are in the clear. Faithfulness is also important for couples using withdrawal as the primary method of birth control. It would be quite unfair to expose your partner to infections picked up outside of the relationship.

Withdrawal does not provide effective protection against pregnancy

As a primary means of pregnancy prevention, withdrawal has several disadvantages. First, there’s the pre-ejaculatory fluid with which the withdrawal method has no effect since it’s released well before you ejaculate.

Pre-ejaculate itself doesn’t contain sperm, however it may pick up sperm left in the urethra from a previous ejaculation, and thus, re-inserting your penis after ejaculation (outside of the vagina) does present a risk of pregnancy [3]. For withdrawal to be effective, it is best coupled with other forms of contraception such as spermicide.

Withdrawal method requires a lot of consistency and self –control which may be a problem for some

Next, and what may perhaps have even more of an impact on the effectiveness of the method, is the issue of consistency and self-control. Can you use the withdrawal method correctly and consistently (pulling out prior to ejaculation) each time you have sex? If not, then you might want to think about whether this method is right for you. Withdrawal takes a lot of self-control and requires mental discipline for one to withdraw just as they are about to ejaculate.

Withdrawal method is less effective with less sexual experience

Due to the mental discipline required for withdrawal, it may not be effective for those who have very little sexual experience. This is because they may be unable to withdraw in good timing before ejaculation takes place because the act itself may come as a surprise to them. Withdrawal method is therefore a reserve of those who have mastered their bodies and know how to discipline themselves.

Withdrawal method is ineffective if one is under the influence of alcohol or other drugs

Withdrawal as a method of contraception requires much discipline and a sober mind. The influence of alcohol makes one unable to make decisions that are sober. It therefore does not come as a surprise that withdrawal proves to be rocket science for those having sex while under the influence of alcohol.

The effectiveness of withdrawal depends on communication between partners before and during sex, as well as the male partner’s knowledge and experience with his own body. Withdrawal may not be effective if the male partner is unable to withdraw before his orgasm.

Nervousness may lessen sexual pleasure

For those who have not really mastered the art of withdrawal, it may cause nervousness and anxiety, which may make the whole sexual experience a blatant disaster. If you constantly have to worry as to whether you are about to cum since you do not want to get pregnant, sex ceases to become pleasurable which it should be and becomes more of a stressful situation. It also does no good for your partner since she is constantly worrying if you will ejaculate inside her and get her pregnant.

Partners who are less experienced with withdrawal may have a higher risk of pregnancy during their first attempts with this method.

Teens are the age group for which this method is the least effective. To increase effectiveness, new partners may also want to use spermicide or fertility awareness (learning when a female’s menstrual cycle is, pregnancy is more likely or less likely). If sperm comes near or inside the vagina, taking Emergency Contraception can still be an option for preventing pregnancy.



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