'Withdrawal, 'pulling out,' 'pull and pray,' 'coitus interruptus' – there are many terms for this contraceptive method, but there are also many myths surrounding its use. Love Matters lays down facts about this most ancient form of contraception.
Myth 1: Withdrawal is a sure way of preventing pregnancy
Withdrawal method is withdrawing the penis from the vagina before orgasm so that ejaculation occurs outside instead of within the woman’s vagina. It can be an effective method of preventing unwanted pregnancy, but it is not 100 percent accurate 100 percent of the time.
When used correctly, the pulling out method still results in pregnancy for four out of every 100 women using it as a method of birth control. For those who haven’t yet mastered the art of pulling out just in time, 27 out of every 100 women become pregnant each year. And even if a man pulls out in time, pregnancy may still occur, as pre-ejaculate, or pre-cum, can pick up enough sperm left in the urethra from previous ejaculations to cause an unwanted pregnancy.
Myth 2: Withdrawal is easy
Withdrawal might sound like a simple maneuver, but in practice it is not so easy – especially for beginners. Using the withdrawal method takes practice and communication between partners. It’s always good to use an alternative, more reliable form of contraception so that you do not put yourself at risk of an unwanted pregnancy.
Myth 3: Men can be trusted to pull out in time
Couples who posses great self-control, experience and trust can use the withdrawal method effectively, but if any of these three elements is missing, it would be best to use an alternative method of birth control. Men using withdrawal must be able to tell exactly when they are about to orgasm, and to pull out in time before they cum inside their partner. Thus, withdrawal is not the best option for teens, sexually inexperienced men or those who ejaculate prematurely, as pulling out a moment too late may result in an unwanted pregnancy.
Myth 4: Pulling out is an ineffective method of birth control
Withdrawal is often perceived as an ineffective way to prevent unwanted pregnancy, despite the fact that 60 percent of couples have used the method at least once.
However, according to research done by the Guttmacher Institute in New York, when executed right (meaning the penis is pulled out before ejaculation and no semen enters the vulva) the withdrawal method is 96 percent effective for preventing pregnancy. Compare this with the effectiveness of ideal condom use, which is 98 percent.
Withdrawal, when done right, is an effective way to prevent pregnancy – it’s just not that easy to pull out at the right moment every time. Still, withdrawal is better than taking no precautions whatsoever, and in many cases is nearly as effective as using a condom.
Myth 5: Only irresponsible people use withdrawal
A recent US national survey found that five percent of couples in the US rely exclusively on withdrawal as a method of birth control, while 60 percent of women aged 15-44 have used it at some point in their lives. In short, people of all ages use withdrawal to prevent pregnancy. Additionally, coitus interruptus alongside other birth control methods will help decrease the likelihood of an unwanted pregnancy.
Myth 6: Pre-ejaculate doesn’t have any sperm in it
Pre-ejaculate, or pre-cum, is the liquid that comes out of the penis before a man actually ejaculates. All men pre-cum, whether they know it or not. A number of studies have shown that this pre-ejaculate does not contain any sperm, but it is able to pick up sperm from previous ejaculations as it moves up out of the urethra. To clear sperm from previous ejaculations out of the urethra, urinate before sex and wash the penis thoroughly to clean away any excess seminal fluid.
Myth 7: You won’t contract STDs if you use pull out method
Nope, the pulling out method in fact exposes you completely to the risk of sexually transmitted diseases or STDs. Wearing condoms – male or female – is the best way to protect yourself from STDs.
Myth 8: No preparation is required
In theory, nothing is really required prior to using the withdrawal method. But before each round of lovemaking, especially if you’ve already had intercourse on the same night, the man should urinate to flush unwanted sperm out of the urethra, and wash his penis thoroughly to clean off any remaining seminal fluid. If the man has ejaculated on the woman’s body, she should wash herself too, taking special care to wipe any fluid away from her vulva.