Withdrawal or Pull-Out Method

Young women's version of this guide

StopWhat is the withdrawal method?

The withdrawal method (also called coitus interruptus or “pulling out”) is a method of birth control in which a male completely withdraws his penis from a woman’s vagina before he ejaculates. The point of the withdrawal method is to attempt to keep sperm out of the vagina by having the male ejaculate elsewhere.

How well does withdrawal work towards preventing pregnancy?

The withdrawal method does not work well at preventing pregnancy. Withdrawal is not a good method of birth control, because it’s very hard to effectively prevent ejaculation in the vagina.

Each method of birth control has a different efficacy rate towards preventing pregnancy. These rates vary depending on “typical use” vs. “perfect use”. Keep in mind that perfect use hardly ever happens.

Out of 100 couples using the withdrawal method
Typical use: 22 women become pregnant in a year pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1pregnant_1
Perfect use: 4 women become pregnant in a year4 Pregnant Women

Keep in mind that even if you do withdraw or “pull out” before ejaculation, pre-ejaculate (or “pre-cum”) – the fluid that escapes from the penis before ejaculation may contain sperm from the last ejaculation.

Can pre-ejaculate cause pregnancy?

Possibly. Pre-ejaculate may contain sperm, which can get a woman pregnant.

What if I ejaculate outside of the vagina?

During ejaculation (even if it’s outside the vagina), the semen (which is full of live sperm) can spill near the vaginal opening. Millions of sperm are released in this fluid, and if it comes in close contact with the vagina, there is small chance that one sperm could find its way to an egg.

Does withdrawal protect against STIs?

No. Withdrawal does not protect against STIs. If you’re sexually active, use a condom every time you have sexual intercourse to protect yourself from getting an STI. Abstinence (not having sex) is the only method that guarantees pregnancy and STI prevention.