What Is Withdrawal?
Also known as the pull-out method, withdrawal involves removing the penis from the vagina before ejaculation occurs. This is done in order to prevent insemination from taking place. Considering withdrawal to be a legitimate form of birth control is the subject of some debate. However, it does function in lowering the likelihood of impregnation to some extent.
How Does Withdrawal Prevent Pregnancy?
Removing the penis from the vagina before ejaculation removes the source of sperm from the site of impregnation. The sperm can instead be deposited virtually anywhere else without the risk of pregnancy.
What Are the Benefits Of withdrawal (pull out method)?
Withdrawal has several benefits:
In addition to these benefits, the reasons why people prefer withdrawal (pull out method) are:
No side effects (hormonal or medical)
Can reduce risk of pregnancy when no alternatives are available
Does not require a prescription
Can be used to enhance the effectiveness of another birth control method (eg. condoms, pills, sponge, diaphragm)
What are the Disadvantages of Withdrawal?
There are several drawbacks to withdrawal as well.
First, it is not as effective as many other birth control options available. The pull out method will result in 4 pregnant women for every 100 who use it through the course of a year. Compare this to the birth control pill, which brings this number down to 1 in 100. And that’s only to speak of people who use the pull out method with absolutely perfect technique. When used with imperfect technique, 27 out of every 100 women who use withdrawal will become pregnant.
Furthermore, withdrawal leaves both partners completely exposed to sexually transmitted infections. It also requires expert self-control, especially on the part of the male. Therefore, withdrawal is not recommended as a sole form of birth control for teenagers, the sexually inexperienced, or those who commonly experience pre-mature ejaculation.
How Effective is Withdrawal?
Withdrawal will result in pregnancy in 4 out of 100 women who use this as their only form of birth control for one year. This is assuming perfect technique is employed.
Assuming the technique is sometimes poorly employed, it will result in pregnancy in 27 out of 100 women who use this as their only form of birth control for one year.
The pull out method may fail for a number of reasons. Some sources believe that it is possible to impregnate a woman from pre-ejaculation or pre-cum. This can happen during sex or if there is leftover semen on the shaft of the penis from an earlier orgasm. It is also possible to impregnate a woman if semen lands on the vulva (opening of the vagina).
How safe is Withdrawal?
Disregarding risk of pregnancy and infection, withdrawal is a comparatively safe form of birth control. It does not cause any disturbances in hormone levels, nor does it have medical side effects like some other birth control drugs do.
Tips for Using the Withdrawal Method
If you are a woman, make sure you trust that the man you are with is fully willing and able to use this method responsibly.
If you are a man, be honest with yourself in terms of your level of self-control and ability to know when you’re past the point of no return.
A best practice would be to use withdrawal in conjunction with another birth control method. For example, combining it with a condom will protect against STIs and further reduce your risk of pregnancy.
You should also check out other Birth Control Methods before making any decisions.