Success rates: With typical use, 20 in 100 women who use the withdrawal method with their partners become pregnant. With perfect use, 4 in 100 women will become pregnant.
Pros and Cons
Pros: Readily available, stop at any time, and easily reversible, no health care provider needed, no prescriptions and no side effects. Free
Cons: Couples practising the withdrawal method have the highest rates of unplanned pregnancy (see success rates). Withdrawal is one of the least effective contraceptive methods.
- No protection against STDs
- Very tricky in practise - requires men to be aware of when to pull out
- Is not for men who don’t know when to pull out
- Is not recommended for men who are sexually inexperienced
- Is not recommended for men who ejaculate prematurely
How does withdrawal prevent pregnancy?
Withdrawal prevents pregnancy by keeping sperm out of the vagina.
How often do I have to use the withdrawal method to prevent pregnancy?
For it to prevent pregnancy, you and your partner need to practise it every time you have sexual intercourse.
How effective is withdrawal at preventing pregnancy?
- Based on typical withdrawal use, 20 out of 100 women become pregnant when using the withdrawal method with their partner. So failure rates are 20% in typical use and 4% in perfect use. Typical use means couples who don’t use the withdrawal method correctly, whereby sperm enters into the vagina.
- Based on perfect withdrawal use, where couples always withdraw correctly, 4 out every 100 women will become pregnant. Couples can make the withdrawal method more
effective when men (and, possibly, their female partners) know exactly when they are
reaching the point of sexual excitement when they can’t control, stop, or postpone
ejaculation. This is very tricky. It’s difficult to know exactly when this moment will happen. So semen can very easily spill into the vagina, and cause pregnancy.
- Also, the fluid that leaves a man’s penis before ejaculation, also known as pre-ejaculate or pre-cum, has been known to cause pregnancy. Some experts believe this happens because pre-ejaculate can pick up sperm left in a man’s urethra from previous ejaculations. So in order to improve the effectiveness of the withdrawal method, experts advice you to urinate and
wipe the tip of the penis is prior to the second round of sex.
All in all, the withdrawal method isn’t very reliable, so if getting pregnant is the worst thing in the world, this is not an ok option for you.
What can I do if sperm does enter my vagina?
If this happens to you, consider taking emergency contraception.
Emergency contraception can prevent pregnancy up to 5 days after having unprotected sex. The sooner you take it, the better it will work.
How safe is withdrawal?
There are no side effects from withdrawal, so anyone can use this as a birth control method.
Do I need a prescription?
What are the costs involved?
Nothing. It’s free!
Is it easily available?
The only factor involved with using the withdrawal method is that both you and your partner must agree on practising it within your relationship.
What are the benefits of withdrawal?
If there are no other birth control methods available, the withdrawal method is safe to do. It’s free, and always available – as long as both partners agree on practising it. If there are no other birth control methods available, the withdrawal method is better than not using contraception at all.
What are the disadvantages?
Withdrawal method doesn’t protect against any STDs. You’ve got to pull out each time you have sexual intercourse.
Some couples find that the withdrawal method increases anxiety and sexual frustration, which dampens their sexual pleasure.
If you’re a woman, your male partner must always be willing and able to pull out. As well, he needs to know when he’s going to ejaculate, which can be difficult if there are alcohol or drugs involved.
In general, the withdrawal method is very tricky. It requires that the man be aware of when to pull out. This requires lots of practise, so it’s not recommended for teenagers or men who are sexually inexperienced. Also, not for men who ejaculate prematurely.
If you’ve read the effectiveness section, you’ll also be aware that even if you’re sexually experienced, don’t ejaculate prematurely, and know when you’re going to ejaculate, you can still get someone pregnant. So if you don’t want to have children now, use another birth control method.
Does it provide protection against STDs?
No. Withdrawal method offers no protection against STDs. Use a male or female condom to reduce the risk of STDs.