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Does the Pull-out Method Really Work?

By HERWriter
 
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Will the Pull-out Method Really Work? rocketclips/Fotolia

“So what?!” you say, “I don't need to use a barrier method to protect myself. I am very careful about NOT letting anyone ejaculate inside of me. No sperm, no foul, right?”

Wrong.

A penis does not go from zero to orgasm immediately — although it sometimes may feel like it does — but instead is erect and secreting pre-ejaculate long before the big release.

So even if you believe a person removes their penis before orgasm, if he has been inside of you for any amount of time, he has still deposited plenty of pre-ejaculate fluid — sperm, STI and all.

Therefore, even practiced “correctly,” the pull-out method only prevents SOME semen from reaching an egg to fertilize, or your bloodstream to colonize an infection. You are still at risk of pregnancy or STI.

OK, so you didn’t use a condom, and your partner used the withdrawal method. What do you do now?

GET TESTED for STIs. If you are concerned about pregnancy, and the intercourse happened within the last 72 hours, you may consider using Plan B.

Investigate options for safer sex practices. If your partner is reluctant to use a condom, there are many other options to prevent pregnancy and several alternative barrier methods as well.

Check out the Planned Parenthood website for more information on your MANY options. Feel free to post questions below as well! But take it from me — it’s worth the conversation and the consideration.

Reviewed March 1, 2016
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Read more in Being HER

1) “Withdrawal (Pull-Out Method.)” Planned Parenthood.Accessed February 26, 2016.
https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/withdrawal-pull-out-method

2) "What Is In Semen." New Health Guide. Accessed  February 25, 2016.  
http://www.newhealthguide.org/What-Is-In-Semen.html

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Add a Comment7 Comments

EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

If you're practicing the pull-out method with a teenage boy who's still learning how to maneuver his equipment and who has only recently gone through puberty, I'd say those risk percentages would likely be much higher. On the flip side, if a woman is aware of how her menstrual cycle works and familiar with her own body and how it presents at different times during her cycle--most efficiently and effectively understood by maintaining a regular practice of charting your cycle--then she's already likely aware of exactly when she's *likely* to be fertile and can thus make educated decisions about which level of contraception would be the most responsible one for her body at any given time. When charting over a long term, we start to see signs and notice symptoms that tip us off to what is happening in our bodies during different parts of our cycles... for example, learning about the consistency of your discharge, different moods you have at different stages of your cycle.. I found I was often getting mild back pain and cramping mid-cycle and after I'd been charting consistently for about a year, I realized that was always happening on or within a couple days of when I was likely to be ovulating.. and that's because I was! I've since learned that is a common sign of ovulation, called "mittelschmerz," and there are SO many other signs we can learn about to empower us to know when we're fertile. Also, if we are practicing the pull out method with a long term partner whom we know and trust, that would also lower that odds too, I would think.

Just an FYI for any nay-sayers...In the 20+ years I've been sexually active while ONLY practicing the pull out method of contraception, I've had exactly ZERO accidents. Not one.. and I've had a LOT of sex! I also became pregnant within 2 months when we did decide to conceive, so avoiding an unwanted pregnancy for 20 years with only my partner pulling out unlikely boils down to mere luck.

I can't recommend cycle charting enough, it's the most empowering thing a woman can do for herself health-wise. I bet cancer mortality rates among women in the US would bomb within a couple years if every woman began charting.. We are far more likely to detect something wrong much sooner if we are charting and paying attention to our bodies.

September 30, 2018 - 3:27am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

We never use condoms. Rubbing a bear penis to cervix feels amazing.

July 24, 2018 - 5:50pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Yeah, it has worked fine for me too. I lower the probability even more by keeping him drained. Can't do anything shooting blanks.

July 4, 2017 - 8:17pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

My husband and I have used the pull out method for 7 years and so far it's worked.

June 5, 2017 - 4:28pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Hi my name is Bree and I have a comment about the pull out method my partner and I have been using that method for about roughly two years my thoughts on that if your partner really knows his body then it can be a successful form of birth control

April 7, 2016 - 7:49am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

It's a million times more important that YOU know about YOUR body, HELLO!!! Your body would be the one getting pregnant, so what he does or doesn't "know" about his is irrelevant. You need to chart your cycles every month, girl.. there are a million apps for it and it doesn't have to take up any more than 1-2 minutes of your time each month if you keep it minimal.

September 30, 2018 - 3:35am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Lol. I guess you didn't read article and do not have common sense.
I'm sure it will work for you though. Just the way that method worked for all the teenage moms out there!

May 18, 2016 - 5:45am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.