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  • Writer's pictureGrace Health

Does The Pull Out/Withdrawal Method Really Work?

Chances are you are here because you know far too well what we are referring to. You probably have tried it a couple of times and perhaps you’ve asked yourself, “ How safe am I?” Like on a scale of 1-10 how effective is this method and can it be trusted? If you are not sure of the answer or you have asked similar questions before, we got you! In this post, we will unpack just how much protection the pull-out method offers, the benefits, risks and everything else you need to know.

What is the withdrawal method(pulling out)?

Withdrawal is when the penis is withdrawn (pulled out) of the vagina before ejaculation (cumming). The goal is to keep the sperm outside the vagina to avoid fertilisation. That’s why ejaculation happens away from the vagina. It is one of the oldest methods of birth control recorded, and while contraceptive technology has advanced this method still remains.

How does withdrawal work?

Just from the name, the withdrawal method works by lowering the chance of sperm entering the vagina when ejaculation (cumming) occurs outside of the vagina. People use the withdrawal method to try to prevent pregnancy. Here are other reasons:

  • It is free and readily available

  • It has no side effects

  • Doesn't require a fitting or prescription

How to use the withdrawal method?

The main idea is to withdraw (pull out) the penis from the vagina before ejaculation (cumming). This means that all the ejaculation should not be in the vagina not even a little of it. It’s a game of reflexes and speed all working together. It is important that the ejaculate (cum) is not near the vaginal opening. This is to avoid sperm making its way to the vagina.

If you are going to have sex a second time, there could be sperm left inside the penis, on the penis or on the hands. This is why, before having sex again, make sure to clear all sperm from the penis by passing urine and washing the penis and hands thoroughly.

How effective is withdrawal?

Now to the question, you have been waiting for, How effective is it? If the withdrawal method is used correctly, every time you have sex, it is 96% effective at preventing pregnancy. Don’t get excited just yet! It can be difficult to withdraw the penis during sex and sperm may also be in the pre-ejaculation (pre-cum), which is usually not felt when it leaves the penis. For this reason, the withdrawal method might only be 80% effective.

So, what stops withdrawal from working?

Two main things get in the way of this method:

  • If there is mobile sperm in the pre-ejaculate (pre-cum).

  • Not withdrawing (pulling out) in time.

Is there a way to make it more effective?

Even though it is not the most reliable there are a few things you could do to make it slightly more reliable. For instance:

Tracking ovulation can lower the risk of pregnancy. However, keep in mind that depending on your cycle it is possible to get pregnant before or after you ovulate. The best part is, that the Grace app can help predict your ovulation for you.

Use a backup method of birth control

Due to its high failure rate, withdrawal isn’t recommended as a primary method of birth control but it makes a great secondary method. Using a backup method along with withdrawal can significantly reduce the risk of pregnancy.

Reasons why withdrawal might not be a good option

  • The risk of pregnancy when using withdrawal is higher than with many other types of contraception.

  • It is difficult to withdraw the penis during sex

  • Ejaculation can (cumming) happens quickly or without much warning.

  • It does not protect from sexually transmissible infections (STIs).

Is there anything good about it?

Well, there are a few positives but whether or not there are advantages depends on you. For example:

  • Always available.

  • No cost.

  • Does not use devices or medications.

  • No side effects.

What if he did not pull out in time?

First of all, don’t panic! You have a few options at your disposable:

  1. Go to the bathroom and while seating on the toilet use your vaginal muscles to forcefully push out any ejaculate that may be inside

  2. Urinate to help remove semen that may be on the outside of your vaginal opening

  3. Thoroughly wash your genitals

  4. Consider taking emergency contraception as soon as possible

In summary

Generally, the pull-out method isn’t very reliable unless the ejaculating partner has extreme self-control. Even still, it’s no guarantee and things could still go wrong. If you’re worried your partner didn’t pull out properly, then you should take a pregnancy test. But you’ll need to wait until the first day of your missed period to get a reliable result. Should you still prefer the withdrawal method, consider doubling up with other methods.

Stay informed, stay in control Was that insightful?

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May 27, 2023

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Oct 19, 2023
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