Why Pulling Out Isn’t The Same As Using Protection: Here’s Why

Practicing safe sex is crucial for long-term health and happiness. Using unsafe methods of protection, like pulling out, isn’t as effective as it’s touted to be. Find out why pulling out is not ideal to prevent pregnancy and STIs.

By Aditi
09 Jun 2022

Physical intimacy for every individual differs, but the methods by which one can stay protected remain the same. Not everyone manages to practice safe sex all the time, especially when you don’t have the protection you need.


Pulling out is a method many sexual partners use, especially when looking for the easiest and most cost-effective method to prevent pregnancy. However, there are many reasons this isn’t as safe as it sounds. Not practicing safe sex doesn’t just put you at the risk of pregnancy but other problems too. The pull-out method isn’t as effective as you might think it is, and here’s what you should know about it.


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What Is The Pull Out Method?

The Office on Women’s Health (USA) defines pulling out as ‘’when a man takes his penis out of a women’s vagina before he ejaculates (orgasms).’’ Theoretically, pulling out will prevent the sperm from reaching the egg.

The male partner will ejaculate elsewhere, and the pulling out is complete. However, it must be stressed that the timing for this has to be perfect for it to work. Conception is still possible using the pull-out method.


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Can You Get Pregnant With This Method?

The Office on Women’s Health reports that around 22 women in every 100 that utilise withdrawal (pulling out) as their only form of birth control for a year will get pregnant. Planned Parenthood (USA) states that even when the method is executed perfectly, four out of 100 people can still conceive.


Compared to other methods of protection, the pull-out method is simply not as effective. The Office on Women’s Health further states that an IUD (intrauterine device) is 99 per cent effective, whereas a birth control pill is 91 per cent effective. Condoms, on the other hand, are 82 per cent effective.


Related Story: 5 Things You Should Check Before Using a Condom


Why Is It So Hard to Get Right?

When it comes to the pulling out method, one thing must be perfect each time: timing. When not timed right, ejaculation can still lead to some of the sperm reaching the egg and conception happening. When a person miscalculates or goes through premature ejaculation, it can be hard to prevent a pregnancy from happening.


Even when executed perfectly, the chances of precum impregnating an individual still remain. Pre-cum happens before ejaculation, and has the same potential for impregnation. It is also important to understand that pulling out is not a good method to protect an individual from STIs like HIV, HPV, chlamydia, and syphilis.


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If you are looking for effective practices that can help reduce the chances of pregnancy while practicing this method, here are some tips:

  • Perfect the timing: The time of withdrawal is crucial for pulling out. It can be practiced by using a condom during masturbation.
  • Open communication: Many times, sexual partners don’t discuss the potential risks of this method. You must have this conversation beforehand, so both of you are aware of the implications if the pull-out method doesn’t work.
  • Using spermicide: Using this chemical in jelly, cream, or any other form can immobilise and kill any sperm present. However, you shouldn’t rely on this as your sole form of birth control.


What Is An Alternative?

The pull-out method is ineffective and can lead to long-term consequences, including STIs and pregnancy. When you want to be safe during any sexual encounters you have, protection is crucial. Here are some alternatives you might want to consider the next time you’re having sexual intercourse:


  • Condoms: The most time-efficient way for protection during sex. They reduce the risk of STIs. According to the NHS (UK), when they are used correctly, they work 98 per cent of the time.
  • Intrauterine Devices: They are T-shaped devices that are inserted into the uterus. The hormonal IUD can last up to seven years, while the copper variant can last up to twelve years. Planned Parenthood states that they work 99 per cent of the time.
  • Birth control pills: These are pills taken every day (depending on which type you take) to prevent pregnancy. When taken consistently, they can reduce chances of pregnancy by 99 per cent, according to Planned Parenthood.
  • Sponge or cervical cap or diaphragm with spermicide: The chances of pregnancy using these methods are a bit higher, according to the Office on Women’s Health (roughly ten women for every 100).


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Practicing Safe Sex

The pull-out method is not the same as being protected during sexual intercourse. Not only does it not provide any protection against STIs, but the chances of getting pregnant also remain higher when using this form of control over any other. When you don’t want to take any chances, consider using alternatives that can give you peace of mind.


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