How effective is the pull-out method?

How effective is the pull-out method?

By Janna, 24.06.2024

This method is used by many people, to avoid all the hassle with condoms, but is it really that safe?

What is the pull-out method?

The pull-out method is one of the oldest forms of birth control. The man withdraws his penis from the vagina before ejaculation. Sounds simple, right? But don’t be mistaken, it takes quite some self-control and timing and is actually not entirely safe either.

Does it really work?

To make it work well, five aspects are really important. But they don’t come easy (no pun intended). 

  1. Timing is everything: always withdraw the penis in time, before the man climaxes. Yes, always!
  2. Preparation is crucial: make sure that the male partner pees first to remove any remaining sperm.
  3. Work clean: clean your hands and sex toys before they come near the vagina, because sperm can enter in various ways.
  4. Double protection: use the pull-out method combined with another birth control method, like the pill, for extra protection.
  5. Know your fertile window: avoid sex during the fertile days of your cycle. This is usually a window of six days: the day of ovulation and the five days before.

Why things go wrong

Accidents happen, and the pull-out method can fail in several ways:

  • The man doesn’t pull out in time and ejaculates in (or close to) the vagina.
  • Precum, which can also contain sperm, ends up in the vagina.
  • Sperm ends up in the vagina via hands or sex toys.

What if things go wrong?

If you are worried about a possible pregnancy after using the pull-out method, you can use emergency contraception, like the morning-after-pill. But watch out! This is an emergency last-resort solution. It’s much wiser to consider safer birth control methods before the deed, like condoms, the contraceptive pill or injection, IUD or sterilization. So no, we are not fans of ‘leaving before the fat lady sings’!

And does it protect against STDs?

Rhetorical question, right? You only wish, but no, alas! Pulling out doesn’t offer protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) like HIV, chlamydia and gonorrhea. Condoms are the best way to protect you from STDs, as they create a barrier that prevents mixing of sexual fluids.

Cycle app

Tracking your cycle can help you to get a better understanding of when you are fertile. Modern technology, like a Cycle app, can help to keep track of your fertile days without the hassle of temperature and mucus checks. This makes it easier to know when you should be extra careful.

But all-in all, pulling out certainly isn’t safe! So, we advise to go for safety and use more reliable contraceptive methods!

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