Withdrawal is the oldest form of birth control on the planet. There’s not much to explain, really. The guy pulls out before he ejaculates. End of story. Some people call withdrawal the “pull out method.” Or you may hear people call it “coitus interruptus.” The key thing to remember is this: You’ve got to do it right—every single time—for withdrawal to be effective. And how many guys do you know with that kind of total control?

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You wouldn’t mind getting pregnant

The “typical use” failure rate for withdrawal is around 20%. That’s pretty darn high. So if getting pregnant would be disastrous for you, think about another method.

Your partner has super control

Your partner needs to be a pro in bed for withdrawal to work. Really. Withdrawal requires extreme body awareness and the ability to predict ejaculation (and pull-out before it happens).

You can use it with another method

You can use withdrawal to double-up with another method.

At least it’s cheap

Withdrawal is certainly better than nothing, and it has the distinct advantage of being completely free.

No prescription necessary

Enough said, eh?

Don’t take our word for it. Check out the videos above to hear people talk about their experiences with withdrawal.

Withdrawal is a method that is totally free, but risky. While you won’t have to spend anything to use it, you have to do it correctly every single time for it to work.

The withdrawal method is totally dependent on your partner and his self-control. He’s got to make sure he pulls out before he ejaculates AND he’s got to keep his semen away from your vulva when he does. So it’s really important that your partner understands his own sexual response patterns.

But let’s be real for a minute. What if he’s had a few drinks? Or you’re both just totally lost in the moment? Or what if he miscalculates his, uh, excitement?

Withdrawal is always better than nothing—but it’s pretty darn risky if you’re serious about not getting pregnant.

There are positive and negative things to say about each and every method. And everyone’s different—so what you experience may not be the same as what your friend experiences.

The Positive

The Negative

  • As inexpensive as it gets
  • No prescription necessary.
  • The only side effect of withdrawal is very real possibility of having a baby before you’re ready
  • Difficult to perform perfectly every single time
  • Hard to remember to do if you’re drunk

You might want to use a spermicide along with pulling out to make withdrawal more effective.

We’re here to get this method working better for you. And if it still doesn’t feel right, we’ve got ideas for other methods. Just remember: If you change methods, make sure you’re protected while you switch.


Perfect use
96 %
Typical use
80 %
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quick facts /

  • Withdrawal doesn’t cost a dime or require a visit to the doctor.

  • Somewhat effective, but depends on your guy always pulling out in time. Always.

  • No hormones, no devices, no side effects.

  • Has to happen every single time you have sex.