Are You ‘Pulling Out’ as a Form of Contraception? Here’s Why That Might Be a Problem

Here's what you need to know about this common birth control method

Alisa Hrustic |

Condoms are still the most popular form of contraception for the last 4 years. The second place method was a bit more surprising: 60 percent of teen women relied on “pulling out” during sex, while 56 percent went with a birth control pill.

Young couples aren’t the only ones relying on this method. After interviewing more than 22,000 men and women aged 15 to 44 between 2006 and 2010, CDC researchers found that 60 percent of those women also reported using withdrawal as a form of contraception.

Related: 15 Condom Mistakes You Might Be Making

In both cases, this means that 60 percent of women probably trusted their partner to use withdrawal perfectly, meaning they pulled out during sex before ejaculating so no semen got anywhere near her vagina. Done right, this method can actually be super effective in preventing pregnancy.

In fact, couples who use the pull out method perfectly have only a 4 percent chance of becoming pregnant within a year, according to Princeton University research.

Related: This Guy Had A Vasectomy, And Then Got His Wife Pregnant TWICE

But pulling out at exactly the right moment every single time isn’t always easy for the average guy—let alone an inexperienced teen. More commonly, guys fall back on the “typical use” withdrawal method, or pulling out too late. Doing it this way raises your pregnancy risk to 22 percent.

Plus, even if all goes smoothly, you still release pre-ejaculate during sex, which can hold a small amount of sperm—and all you need is one eager swimmer to make its way up there to spike your fatherhood risk significantly. Both condoms and birth control pills have lower failure rates, according to the CDC.

Related: Did You Know There’s A Morning-After Pill For HIV?

Just keep in mind that pulling out doesn’t protect you from sexually transmitted diseases—and STD rates are higher than ever. You still need to wrap it up if you want to protect yourself on that front.

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READ MORE ON: contraceptives Sex sexual health STDs women

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