There are so many different forms of birth control in the marketplace. These typically include hormonal and barrier protection. But there some types of birth control that are not available on any drug store shelves. One of those is coitus interruptus. Most folks simply refer to it as pulling out or the withdrawal method. Most health care providers say it’s an unreliable method of birth control.
Planned Parenthood defined coitus interruptus as when a man pulls his penis out of the vagina before ejaculation. That is the moment when semen spurts out of the penis.
It makes sense that this method may be considered the oldest form of birth control across the globe. Planned Parenthood said about 35 million couples worldwide rely on it. A NetDoctor article from 2008 reported that the Family Planning Association estimated that about four percent of couples use it.
That all being said, the withdrawal method is not considered a reliable form of birth control. If it’s done properly, it can be effective. In those rare cases, statistics show four in 100 women can get pregnant. But that's not typical; more often than not, it’s done incorrectly. Then those stats changes to 27 in 100 women getting pregnant.
Here’s another reason it’s not considered reliable: even in instances when it is done right, it is not a guaranteed way to prevent pregnancy. Some experts say pre-ejaculate from a previous ejaculation can leave enough sperm in the urethra to cause pregnancy. Pregnancy is also possible if semen gets on the vulva. Sperm can still swim up inside the vagina.
There are a few advantages to coitus interruptus. It is instantly available, needs no prescription, costs nothing and has no side effects.
On the flip side, the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. Doctors rarely recommend it because it requires that men have enough sexual experience and will power to know when they are ready to ejaculate and then pull out. Sexually inexperienced men and teenagers usually do not have this necessary knowledge – no matter what they tell a female. This birth control method is also not for men who have premature ejaculation problems.
There is another important thing to keep in mind about the withdrawal method. It does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). That is because most STDs are not transmitted by semen. Using a condom is the best way to prevent STDs.
The withdrawal method is better than nothing for spur-of-the moment sexual intercourse. However, a better option is to use something that has been proven much more effective. To determine the best birth control method for you, make sure to talk with your health care provider.
Reviewed June 14, 2011
Edited by Alison Stanton