I just did a post on sexual education. One thing that they teach you in sex ed is that the pull-out method (pulling the penis out before ejaculation) is not a viable method to prevent pregnancies. I feel like many people, myself included, have, forgetting responsibility for a moment, used the pull-out method as a form of contraception. But is it at all effective?
Well, according to a study, it can in fact be almost as effective for pregnancy prevention as a condom:
“The take-away message from recent research on withdrawal is that it is almost as effective as condoms in preventing pregnancy. If used perfectly, two out of 100 couples who use condoms will get pregnant in the first year, compared to four who use withdrawal.”
The problem with the pull-out method is that it is difficult to control and is largely subjective. The ability of a man to pull out properly depends on his body as well as how much physical and mental control he has. In other words, the woman will be putting a lot of trust into the man to make sure he pulls out before ejaculating. This might be totally viable in a situation where two partners are comfortable with each other, have had a long-lasting sexual relationship and trust each other. On the other hand, it’s probably not advisable for a one-night stand.
So, if used properly, the pull-out method is apparently 96% effective and pregnancy prevention. Those are pretty good odds! The argument against the withdrawal method has always been two-pronged:
1) It relies too heavily on a man’s self-control, and revokes control from the woman
2) There is semen in a man’s pre-cum, which could still cause pregnancy
I’ve already discussed the first point (if you don’t trust the man, don’t use withdrawal!) but the second point is slightly more contentious. I was surprised to discover that there is no conclusive scientific evidence that all pre-cum contains semen. Scientists have moved back and forth on the subject, but the general consensus seems to be that some men’s pre-cum contains semen, and some men’s pre-cum doesn’t.
So basically, the pull-out method is an effective anti-pregnancy method as long as its used in a controlled environment. Ideally, it should be used in conjunction with other birth control to lessen the odds even further. If you trust your partner’s ability to pull-out effectively, and have both been tested, it can be used.
Good news! What do you think, do you trust the withdrawal method as a viable form of contraceptive?