Withdrawal – Pulling Out

Withdrawal is when the man pulls his penis out of the vagina before he ejaculates (i.e., before he “cums”). Semen does not go into the vagina, so sperm cannot get to the egg.

How effective is it in preventing pregnancy?
27 out of 100 couples typically experience a pregnancy in the first year. Sometimes there are sperm in the “pre-cum”, the fluid that comes out of the penis before ejaculation—this means a pregnancy could theoretically happen, even if the male pulls out in time. Sometimes the male does not pull out in time, even though he meant to.

How effective is it in preventing STDs?
NOT effective at all! There is nothing in this method that reduces the risk of any of the STDs, or HIV.

Other Things to Know about WITHDRAWAL:


  • It is free, and it does not require a prescription


  • It takes lots of self-control on the part of the male
  • It means doing something during sex, which can be a hassle
  • The man, not the woman, is in control. (This could be seen as a disadvantage for the woman.)

Acknowledgement: This fact sheet was adapted from, and, websites that provide education about reproductive and sexual health.  

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