Also known as “pulling out”, withdrawal is when the man withdraws his penis before finishing the sex act and ejaculates away from the woman’s genital area. Practicing withdrawal requires full cooperation from the male partner.
Note: Condoms are the only contraceptive methods which also protect against sexually transmitted infections. To ensure protection from both pregnancy and infection, we recommend "dual protection". This means using a contraceptive method of your choice to prevent pregnancy in addition to a male or female condom.
How good is withdrawal at preventing a pregnancy?
- Withdrawal is one of the least effective methods of preventing pregnancy as it is difficult to practice correctly all the time. If one hundred couples used the withdrawal method and continued on with their normal sex life then about 27 women would become pregnant.
What are the advantages of withdrawal?
- Withdrawal does not require any supplies or any visit to a pharmacy, so it is available in any situation with no preparation needed.
- Practising withdrawal promotes male involvement and couple communication.
- There are no side effects or effect on long-term fertility of practising withdrawal.
What are the disadvantages of withdrawal?
- Not all men can accurately sense when they are about to ejaculate, and may not be able to practice withdrawal.
- Using withdrawal correctly with every sex act is very difficult, making this an unreliable method of contraception for many couples.
- Withdrawal interrupts sex as the man must pull out of the woman before he is finished.
- Withdrawal does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV.
- Even if withdrawal is used correctly, the woman can become pregnant due to pre-ejaculation discharge from the penis containing sperm.