An image of a party popper

Withdrawal is the oldest form of birth control on the planet. There's not much to explain, really. The penis-owner pulls out before they ejaculate. End of story. Some people call withdrawal the “pull out method.” Or other people call it “coitus interruptus.” The key thing to remember is this: it must be done right—every single time—for withdrawal to be effective.


    You wouldn't mind getting pregnant

    The “typical use” failure rate for withdrawal is around 22%. So if getting pregnant would be disastrous, think about another method.

    Your partner has super control

    The person with a penis needs to be a pro for withdrawal to work. Withdrawal requires extreme body awareness and the ability to predict ejaculation (and pull-out before it happens).

    You can use it with another method

    Withdrawal can be used 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

    Withdrawal is a method that is totally free, but risky. While it doesn't cost anything to use it, a person has to do it correctly every single time for it to work.

    The withdrawal method is totally dependent on the self-control of the person with the penis who's got to make sure they pull out before ejaculation and has to keep semen away from the vulva in the process. So it's really important that your partner understands their own sexual response patterns.

    Withdrawal is always better than nothing—but it's pretty darn risky for those who are serious about not getting pregnant.

    Every method has its own positives and negatives, and because everyone's birth control is different what one person experiences may not be the same as another's experiences.

    The Positive

    • As inexpensive as it gets.
    • No prescription necessary..

    The Negative

    • The only side effect of withdrawal is very real possibility of having a baby before a person is ready.
    • Difficult to perform perfectly every single time.
    Do you have questions about Withdrawal? Visit Bedsider.org for answers to many of the most popular questions about this method of birth control.