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Safe sex without a contraceptive?

By April 21, 2009 - 11:00am
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I am newly married & my husband and I don't use any contraceptives. He pulls it out just in time before ejaculating. Although he does this on the nick of time everytime, I wonder about the potential failure rate of this method. Any comments?

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EmpowHER Guest

My mother and her first husband used the "pull out method" and 9 months later, my oldest brother was born. So, your husband probably leaves somewhat of a puddle on the bed after he "pulls out in the nick of time" right? Have you ever accidently laid in it? Because the sperm is still alive in that puddle until the puddle dries up. You can definatly still get pregnant using the pull out method.

August 10, 2010 - 10:45am
EmpowHER Guest

i am a little curious about this method. I don't know if anyone will ever respond to this, but I was googling this information myself. My husband and I have practiced the withdraw method for almost 7 years, no children. I personally want this method to be ineffective, he on the other hand is confident and has been confident with this method for 7 years now. I am ready to have children, financially I don't think we ever will be...but...when we had this conversation 7 years ago we agreed that if we have a children than we will have a child. I have studied this and read that if used correctly there is only really an 18 percent chance. Has anyone heard of this statistics...or am I reading false information, because i have always thought this method really doesn't work, but so far it is and I have been actually wondering if one of is really infertile. Has anyone else practiced this method for years and not become pregnant?

August 21, 2009 - 1:29pm
(reply to Anonymous)

If you check on one of the comments just around a couple of users above you plus all the people around the world (try asking the couples you know personally if you want) who have used the withdrawal method and failed, you will know that you or your hubby might need to seek professional help.

In my case, I have used that method for a couple of years too until I found out I had polycistic ovaries which is what probably saved us from an unplanned baby. After I took some medications for such a condition, I then used a fertility monitor called Lady-Comp and a few months later, I have a new born angel with me an my hubby.

Again, seek professional attention just to be sure there is nothing wrong with you or your partner that's preventing pregnancy.

August 23, 2009 - 1:10am
EmpowHER Guest

Thanks everyone for your inputs & opinions. Most of your posts have been very helpful.

If there is a way to do so, I would like to close this thread.


April 30, 2009 - 8:44am
EmpowHER Guest

I know I'm a bit late on this topic (I just Stumbled on this site), but I felt I just had to make a little comment.

My Mum and Dad used the rhythm method (or pulling out), until about 25 years into their marriage when they discovered condoms. I have 8, yes 8 brothers and sisters, and my Mum was breastfeeding or pregnant for 20 years solid. Do you think it's successful? :P

April 30, 2009 - 6:25am
Expert HERWriter

Hello Ikam!

Thank you so much for visiting the website and for your question. Congratulations on your recent wedding--that is great!

I can see where if a couple does not want to use birth control for whatever reason (and I'm assuming this is the case here, but please correct me if I'm wrong), you would look to other methods and this one in theory seems to make sense. But as the statistics quotes in the replies above show, in real life it's not the best method of birth control.

If you are ready to become parents sooner rather than later, and the pull out method works for your husband (in that he can still enjoy intercourse and not stress out about pulling out in the nick of time), and if you like it too, then I personally think you're fine. But if pregnancy is not a good outcome for you right now, and/or if it's causing you to feel stressed out during sex, then maybe it's time to revisit the topic with your husband and see if one or both of you can use contraceptives. That's what it boils down to for me. Please post again if you feel comfortable and give us a little more information as to why you chose this form of birth control, and please also let me know if we can improve the website in any way.

Thank you again for your post! Best in health, Michelle

April 21, 2009 - 10:20pm

I don't mean this to be unkind, but I have a different question to ask you: do you feel stressed or pressured, rather than totally spontaneous, during sex? As the "old married lady" here (over 30 years), I'd be as concerned about the long term health of your relationship as you are about withdrawal timing.

And, it's not really safe sex, if you're having it without protection. "Safe sex" is as much about STDs as not getting pregnant.

Congratulations on being newlyweds. Here's wishing you a long life together.

April 21, 2009 - 6:24pm


Planned Parenthood has a great website regarding the withdrawal (or pull out method) for birth control that you can read here.

Effectiveness rate
* Of every 100 women whose partners use withdrawal, 4 will become pregnant each year if they always do it correctly.
* Of every 100 women whose partners use withdrawal, 27 will become pregnant each year if they don't always do it correctly.

Information on "correctly" using this method:
The effectiveness rate for the withdrawal method depends on how well this method is done ("men who use the pull out method must be able to know when they are reaching the point in sexual excitement when ejaculation can no longer be stopped or postponed. If he cannot predict this moment accurately, withdrawal will not be as effective."), if your husband has pre-ejaculate fluid on his penis (most of the time, there is some present), or if he ejaculates accidentally on your vulva...then this is not the "correct" way (and the effectiveness rate drops down to only 73%, compared to 96% when used the correct way each time).

If you choose to use the withdrawal method, you probably also want to combine it with the "fertility awareness method" (you can read about this here, which is just keeping track of when you ovulate, and avoiding sex on your most fertile days). The fertility awareness method also does not have the best effectiveness rate, as "between 12 and 25 out of every 100 couples each year will have a pregnancy if they don't always use the method correctly or consistently".

How do you feel about the effectiveness rates of these birth control options? Do you feel that you and your spouse are able to use the withdrawal method consistently and correctly each and every time? Some couples are able to, but it is a difficult method! :)

Why have you and your spouse chosen not to use any type of hormonal or barrier method contraception? If you are curious about the other options available, and would like to look at their effectiveness rates as a comparison (many are 99% effective), you can read about them here.

April 21, 2009 - 11:44am

Hi, Ikam, and thank you for your question?

I have one for you: how would you feel about a pregnancy? Is it something that you would really like to avoid right now, or is something that would be fine if it happened?

Your description of "the nick of time" honestly doesn't bode well for long term pregnancy prevention. And there is sperm in a man's pre-ejaculate, which may be happening before your husband pulls out.

Contraception information says that 27% of adults who use this method of birth control will fail, which means that 1 out of every 4 women using this method get pregnant in a year.

Here's a chart of contraceptive failure rates. Please look down to the line that says "Withdrawal" for the statistics on this kind of birth control. That 27% failure rate is high when compared to the numbers for oral contraceptives, for instance.

Is there a reason that the two of you don't want to use any other method of birth control?

April 21, 2009 - 11:34am
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