Lots of people use the pull out method at some point in their lives, but it’s not as effective as many other methods and it can be difficult to do it correctly.

It’s hard to pull out in time.

The number one reason why the pull out method fails is because the penis isn’t pulled out before ejaculation (cumming). Many people plan on pulling out, and end up forgetting or changing their minds in the heat of the moment. You have to pull out right around the time those pleasurable sex feelings are the most intense, which many people aren’t willing to do when it comes down to it.

If you ejaculate inside your partner’s vagina, pregnancy is possible. Even if semen (cum) only gets on the outer genitals (vulva), sperm cells might swim into the vagina and cause pregnancy.

Certain people can’t use withdrawal effectively.

The pull out method is not a good way to prevent pregnancy if you experience premature ejaculation. Premature ejaculation is when you ejaculate (cum) before you’re ready or realize it’s going to happen. It’s really, really common, especially for younger guys — but it also means it’ll probably be hard for you to use the withdrawal method successfully.

Withdrawal is also not the best method if you can’t predict when, exactly, you’re going to ejaculate, if you’re sexually inexperienced, or if you don’t trust yourself to pull out at the height of sexual pleasure.

You need lots of self-control and trust to use withdrawal.

Self-control and trust are absolute musts for the pull out method. You need to have a healthy relationship, where both partners are equally committed to preventing pregnancy, to use withdrawal correctly.

If you’re the person with the penis, you need to know for sure when you’re about to ejaculate, and then you need to pull out before it happens, every single time. You also have to be willing and able to stop having sex and get your penis away from your partner’s vagina, right when you’re at the height of sexual pleasure.  If you don’t do these things, your partner could get pregnant. That’s a LOT of responsibility, so make sure you’re totally on board before relying on withdrawal for birth control.

If you’re the person with the vagina, you need to trust that your partner will pull their penis out in time, every time. If your partner doesn’t usually cooperate with using birth control or doesn’t want to prevent pregnancy, they may not use the pull out method correctly — which puts you at risk for unintended pregnancy.

It’s not always easy to practice withdrawal perfectly. That’s why it’s a good idea to look into using more effective methods like the IUD and the implant. They’re the most effective kinds of birth control. You can take this quick quiz to find out the best methods for you.

And remember, emergency contraception (the morning-after pill) can help you avoid pregnancy in case there’s an accident and your partner doesn’t pull out in time.

Withdrawal

  • 73% effective

  • Cost is $0

  • Dedication and skill required

Pulling out doesn’t protect you from STDs. Use a condom and withdrawal to help stop pregnancy and STDs.
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