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Withdrawal

In a nutshell:

  • The penis is removed before ejaculation to avoid sperm entering the vagina
  • 73% effective with typical use, 96% effective with perfect use
  • Difficult to do perfectly every time
  • Does not protect against STIs (sexually transmitted infections)
  • Does not include hormones or devices
  • Free

What is it?

The withdrawal method, or pull out method, is very commonly used by couples here in the Philippines given that many couples still don’t have access to some contraceptive methods and professional advice. During intercourse, a man will try to ejaculate out and away from a woman’s vagina. The sperm is presumably not in contact with the egg and fertilization is avoided.

This method is not very effective since when performed with typical use, 27 out of 100 couples will become pregnant each year. If withdrawal is done correctly every time (which is very hard to do), 4 out of 100 women become pregnant each year.

How does it work?

Withdrawal prevents pregnancy by keeping sperm out of the vagina. The goal is that absolutely no sperm was deposited in the vagina. Pregnancy cannot happen if there is no sperm to fertilize the egg cell.

Couples who have great self-control, experience, and trust may use the withdrawal method more effectively. Men who use the pull out method must be able to know when they are reaching the point in sexual excitement when ejaculation can no longer be stopped or postponed. If you cannot predict this moment accurately, withdrawal will not be as effective.

Even if a man pulls out in time, pregnancy can still happen. Some experts believe that pre-ejaculate, can pick up enough sperm left in the urethra from a previous ejaculation to cause pregnancy. If a man urinates between ejaculations before having sex again, it will help clear the urethra of sperm and may increase the effectiveness of withdrawal.

Keep in mind that the withdrawal method does not protect you from sexually transmitted infections. Use a latex condom or female condom to reduce the risk of infection and risk of pregnancy.

How do I use it?

Success of the withdrawal method, that is whether or not you’ll get pregnant, is totally dependent on a guy’s self-control. He’s got to make sure he pulls out before he ejaculates AND he’s got to keep his semen away from the vulva when he does. So it’s really important that a guy understands his own sexual response patterns.

But let’s be real. What if a guy miscalculates his reaction? What if both partners are lost in the moment? There are many “what ifs” when it comes to this method.

Withdrawal is always better than nothing—but it’s pretty risky if you’re serious about not getting pregnant. 

What’s good about it?

  • It’s free
  • Can be effective only if practiced perfectly

Reasons not to use it

  • Not reliable
  • Requires a lot of self-control
  • Does not protect against STIs
  • Difficult to perform perfectly every single time

Sources: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/withdrawal-method/about/pac-20395283

https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/withdrawal-pull-out-method

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