Withdrawal Method as Birth Control

The withdrawal method as a means of birth control requires removing the penis from the vagina prior to ejaculation. The goal of the withdrawal method — also called “pulling out” — is to keep sperm from entering the vagina. It’s estimated that one in five couples who use the withdrawal method for one year will get pregnant. You should take a pregnancy test if you are experiencing any pregnancy symptoms.

How effective is the withdrawal method as birth control?

  • The Pros:
    • Withdrawal can be used every time
    • Withdrawal may be added to other forms of birth control to increase the effectiveness
    • Withdrawal is free
    • Withdrawal does not require a prescription or manipulation of some mechanism
  • The Cons:
    • Withdrawal is not considered the most reliable form of birth control
    • The woman must have complete trust in the man’s ability to withdraw
    • Pre-ejaculation, which may contain sperm, occurs without the knowledge of the man
    • Some men have difficulty timing their withdrawal

What are the side effects or health risks of withdrawal?

Outside of the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, the withdrawal method does not possess any side effects or health risks as a means of birth control. The withdrawal method isn’t as effective at preventing pregnancy as other forms of birth control.

Is it reversible?

Yes. It does not have any effects on either the male or female reproductive function. It is possible to get pregnant immediately if withdrawal is no longer used.

How much does it cost?


What about withdrawal and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)?

It does not prevent the vagina from coming in contact with your partner’s skin. Also, because of pre-ejaculate excretions, withdrawal does not prevent the vagina from coming in contact with bodily fluids. As such, it should NOT be considered as a means for protection against the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases.

To use the withdrawal method, you need to:

  • Properly time withdrawal. When you feel like ejaculation is about to happen, withdraw the penis from the vagina. Make sure that ejaculation occurs away from the vagina.
  • Take precautions before having sex again. If you plan to have sex again soon, urinate and clean off the tip of the penis first. This will help remove any remaining sperm from the last ejaculation.


Want to Know More?


Mayo Clinic: Withdrawal Method (coitus interruptus)

Healthline: How effective is the pull-out method (withdrawal)?