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Is Withdrawal Effective as Birth Control?

Withdrawal is the process of removing the penis from the vagina prior to ejaculation. It works by having the male partner remove his penis before he ejaculates. Ejaculation occurs outside the vagina, reducing the likelihood that semen will reach the uterus.

How do you use withdrawal?

The responsibility belongs to the man. He pays attention to stimulation and seeks to withdraw his penis prior to ejaculation.

How effective is it?

The typical use of withdrawal, which is how most people use it, has a failure rate of approximately 18-19%. You should take a pregnancy test if you are experiencing any pregnancy symptoms.

What are the side effects or health risks of withdrawal?

Outside of the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, it does not possess any side effects or health risks as a means 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 (STD’s)?

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.

What are the pros & cons for withdrawal as an effective method of 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

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