Birth control without any aids: Withdrawal method

What is withdrawal method?

 Withdrawal method of contraception (also called Pull out method or Coitus interruptus ) is the technique of pulling back the penis from the vagina and the women’s external genitals just before ejaculation. The motive of this method is to prevent the entry of sperm into the vagina and prevent pregnancy. It is one of the oldest and most common method of contraception used in the world.

The various advantages of withdrawal method include:

  • It is free and easy
  • Doesn’t require any prescription
  • Does not require any fitting
  • It need not be carried around
  • Not much planning needed and can be tried in emergency situations
  • Not much side effects
  • Has religious acceptance

Some couples try this method as they do not want to use other contraceptive methods.

Birth control without any aids: Withdrawal method


What are the disadvantages of practising withdrawal method?

  • It requires a great amount of self-control to pull out the penis at the time of impending orgasm while the natural desire is to thrust deeper during orgasm and ejaculation.
  • There is a risk of contraceptive failure due to the possibility of sperm being present in the pre-ejaculatory fluids (pre-cum) oozing out of the penis during sexual stimulation. There is a higher chance of sperms being in the pre-ejaculatory fluids if there has been a recent ejaculation.
  • The contraceptive failure in most cases is due to inadequately timed withdrawal and leak of semen in the vagina.
  • The ejaculation has to be done well away from the vagina and vulva (external genitals of the woman); therefore, the withdrawal must be timed in advance when the sensation of imminent orgasm is felt. This is because rare cases of pregnancy have been reported where after withdrawal from the vagina, the semen fell over the vulva (female external genitals).
  • To successfully time withdrawal, the ejaculation has to happen as a single climax in the man. However, some men ejaculate in short repeated spurts. Also, sometimes fatigue or alcohol may blunt the awareness of imminent ejaculation.
  • Withdrawal method does not protect against transmission of sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Some couples who practice this method feel that this method interrupts the sexual pleasure associated with orgasm and ejaculation.
  • Some men are physically or psychologically incapable of trying this method because they do not perceive the imminent ejaculation or mentally cannot choose to withdraw.
  • In some men, the psychological stress of withdrawal may cause impotence or premature ejaculation.
  • In women also, there can be a psychological impact if there is sexual arousal but repeated failure to achieve orgasm.

Birth control without any aids: Withdrawal method

How to practice withdrawal method effectively?

  • Time the withdrawal accurately: When the man feels that he is about to ejaculate, he should pull back the penis from the woman’s vagina and ensure that he ejaculates away from the vulva.
  • Multiple acts of sex: If you have sex again within a small interval of time, the man should urinate and clean the tip of the penis. This will ensure that any sperm ejaculated in the previous act is flushed away.

If there is a failure in timing the withdrawal and you are worried about pregnancy, consult your doctor immediately to discuss emergency contraception.

Consult a top Gynaecologist

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  • Free MJ, Alexander NJ. Male contraception without prescription. A reevaluation of the condom and coitus interruptus. Public Health Rep. 1976 Sep-Oct;91(5):437-45.
  • Canadian Contraception Consensus (Part 2 of 4). Withdrawal (Coitus Interruptus).  J Obstet Gynaecol Can 2015;37(11):S1–S39.
  • Association of Reproductive Health Professionals. Choosing a Birth Control Method -Coitus Interuptus. Accessed at https://www.arhp.org/Publications-and-Resources/Quick-Reference-Guide-for-Clinicians/choosing/Coitus-Interuptus



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