A new study on the tried and what we used to think, unproven, method of pulling out, or withdrawal, showed that it is a commonly used method of birth control, and may be comparable to the condom in preventing pregnancy.
One In Five Women
Using data from The Kinsey Institute’s Women’s Wellbeing and Sexuality survey, researchers found that one in five women used withdrawal within the last year. More surprising is that many of them reported using it along with a condom.
Just As Effective As Condoms…
Surprisingly, with ‘typical use,’ withdrawal is just as effective as condoms in preventing pregnancy (18% failure rate versus 17% with condoms), IF there’s committed cooperation from both parties.
But Not Against Sexually Transmitted Infections
Of course this method will not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STI), but for some in committed relationships, it does offer an alternative. And when used WITH condoms, you are certainly improving the odds for an effective method for avoiding pregnancy and disease.
If you are not ready to become pregnant, or interested in becoming pregnant, we recommend you and your partner choose highly reliable forms of birth control. Examples of these include IUDs, the birth control implant, hormonal birth control pills (“the pill”), among others. And as mentioned above, using two forms of birth control – for example, IUDs and condoms OR the pill plus withdrawal – is one strategy that people use to even further reduce their risk of pregnancy. But condoms are the only method of birth control that also greatly reduce the risk of STI transmission, so consider using condoms in at least the first few months of a new sexual relationship, with new partners, or if you and your partner are not sexually exclusive (“monogamous”).
The report comes from the journal Contraception, June, 2009.
Reviewed and updated April 29, 2017.