Pull Out Method Pros and Cons

The feet of a couple in bed together

Essentially, the pull out method involves the man stopping intercourse right before the moment of ejaculation. Also known as withdrawal or coitus interruptus, the pull out method is one birth control option that women may consider. Like all forms of contraception, this method has both advantages and disadvantages.

Three Key Advantages

When compared to hormonal forms of birth control, the pull out method offers a few unique advantages.

1. Cost

Obviously, there is no cost associated with the withdrawal method. You do not need a prescription and you don't have to purchase anything in order to practice this method of contraception. This can be an advantage for couples who have little or no insurance coverage and no access to clinics offering other forms of free birth control.

2. No Side Effects

Since the withdrawal method is completely natural, there is no risk of side effects. This can be a significant advantage for women who are bothered by the weight gain, mood swings, or nausea that can be a side effect of hormonal birth control. Women who should not take hormonal contraceptives, such as those who are over 35 or those who smoke, may also find the withdrawal method appealing.

3. Compatibility with Religious Beliefs

If your religious beliefs prevent you from using artificial contraception, but you're not quite ready to begin or expand your family, the withdrawal method may be an appealing option. To make the pull out form of birth control more effective, however, you may wish to combine it with natural family planning techniques such as the calendar rhythm method or monitoring ovulation factors.

Three Key Disadvantages

Every method of birth control has drawbacks. Understanding the potential risks of using the withdrawal method as a form of birth control is key to making sure you've chosen the best contraceptive for you.

1. Hard to Perform Correctly

The pull out form of birth control is very popular among teens and young adults, especially those who do not wish to have their parents discover that they are sexually active. However, it is not recommended as a reliable form of contraception for these groups. It takes a lot of experience and self-control for a man to be able to accurately predict when he is going to ejaculate. In addition, the effectiveness of the withdrawal method decreases drastically for men who suffer from premature ejaculation.

2. Higher Failure Rate

Compared to other forms of birth control, the withdrawal method is slightly less effective even if it is performed correctly. For this reason, healthcare providers often recommend using this as a backup form of birth control. If you are going to use withdrawal as your primary form of birth control, it's a good idea to talk to your partner about what you would do in the event of an unplanned pregnancy.

3. No Protection Against STDs

This method of birth control offers no protection against sexually transmitted diseases. If you are not in a monogamous relationship, it is very important to use a condom every time you have intercourse. If you are concerned about cost, the LoveToKnow Save article Get Free Condoms for Teenagers Online offers suggestions for obtaining free condoms that you can use regardless of your age.


The pull out method is the world's oldest form of birth control. Today, it is estimated that about 35 million couples worldwide rely on this method of contraception. In the United States, however, only about 2 percent of women use this as their primary form of birth control.

For every 100 women who use the withdrawal method, 4 will become pregnant each year if their partner always does it correctly. However, if the method isn't always performed correctly, 27 will become pregnant each year. In comparison, birth control pills are 99.9 percent effective and condoms are 98 percent effective with perfect use.

Making the Right Choice

Obviously, decisions regarding contraceptive use are highly personal. While one woman may find birth control pills to be the most convenient and effective, another may discover that an IUD works best for her situation. In the case of the withdrawal method, this form of birth control usually works best for mature women who are in committed relationships with supportive partners who would be able to accept the consequences of an unplanned pregnancy.

Pull Out Method Pros and Cons