Physical Health Reproductive and Sexual Health Wellness & Lifestyle

Safer Sex, the “Pulling Out” Method

The right form of birth control varies from person to person and from couple to couple. Choosing which method to adopt should always be based on its effectiveness and accessibility. For men, this usually entails carrying a condom in their wallets (which may actually damage the condom), and sexually active women should carry them as well. Well-prepared women also know not to leave the contraception entirely to men and take birth control pills on their own. The combination of a condom and birth control pills reduces the likelihood of pregnancy to almost zero. However, despite their effectiveness, these options may not be available in the heat of the moment, leaving the couple with just one option—pulling out.

The “pull-out” or “withdrawal” method is based on an entirely logical argument. To become pregnant, a man’s sperm must find its way to the woman’s egg. Therefore, if the man pulls out and dumps the sperm elsewhere, pregnancy, by definition, cannot occur. However, in every 100 women whose partners use withdrawal, 4 will become pregnant each year even if their partners always do it correctly, and 27 will become pregnant every year if their partners don’t always do it correctly. So where do these statistics come from?

The obstacles of pulling out lie in the unpredictability of the human body. Doing it “correctly” requires the man to know exactly when he will ejaculate and to withdraw with enough time to be certain the ejaculation does not start while he is still in contact with the woman. This window of time is usually guesswork at best, varying from man to man and from time to time. Suppose, by some miracle, a man has this timing perfected. What he still has no control over, however, is pre-cum. While pre-cum itself does not have the means to get a woman pregnant, it can pick up enough sperm left in the urethra from previous ejaculations to impregnate his partner.

While this method may seem like a good idea in the heat of the moment when you have no other options, it really shouldn’t be considered an option at all. Ladies, you are putting a huge risk entirely in the hands of the man. Hopefully, the man deserves this trust and can control himself, but it isn’t always predictable or in his control. And men, even though you think you can meticulously follow through with the method, at least think about the fact that it won’t protect against STDs.

Article by Polina Babina

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