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Playing it safe with the pull out method during sex? Here’s what you must know

The pull-out method is a common form of contraception used by couples who want to avoid a pregnancy. But is it completely safe?
is pull out method effective
Awareness about all contraception methods is important. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Team Health Shots Updated: 24 Jun 2022, 11:25 am IST
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Even in the age of a variety of condoms, contraceptive pills, birth control patches and intrauterine devices, there are some couples who prefer to prevent pregnancy with the classic pull out method. If you’re one of them, no we’re not judging you. But there are things you must know before choosing this method of contraception.

In simple terms, pull out method or withdrawal is a form of birth control in which a man pulls out his penis out from a woman’s vagina before ejaculation. By doing this, the sperms do not go inside, thereby averting the chance of a pregnancy.

While the importance of using condoms has been emphasized enough over the years to avoid sexually transmitted diseases or infections, a lot of people still go for the pull out.

birth control options
There is a variety of contraception techniques. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

There’s nothing wrong with ‘pulling out’ morally or scientifically, but as sexual health educator Artika Singh points out in her Instagram post, it’s not an accurate birth control tactic.

“Scientifically, it’s not a method of contraception. It rests on ‘random chance’. So, yes, it can work sometimes and fail at other times – and there’s no way to accurately predict the outcome of pulling out and chances of pregnancy,” informs Singh.

Is pull out method effective for avoiding pregnancy?

Singh points out the following:

* It provides no protection from acquiring and giving STIs, and other infections.

* The person pulling out does so right before ejaculation, but sometimes the pre-cum or secretions that come before semen may also contain sperm which can lead to a pregnancy (if it comes in contact with an ova).

how to get pregnant
Contraception is to avoid the sperm and egg from getting fertilized. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

How to choose a birth control technique

According to Singh, contraceptive choices must be made after having all the right information.

“Lots of people use only the pull-out method during sex, and that’s a personal choice. You can follow it up with safety practices afterwards if you think there’s high risk of pregnancy based on your experience,” she adds.

Also, the decision whether to use pull out method as contraception should be based on informed consent of all partners involved.

As per the World Health Organization (WHO), only condoms can prevent both a pregnancy and the transmission of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.

Still, some people go for the pull-out technique, followed by contraceptive pills in case of a faux pas, as it offers complete sensation to both partners. Some men also complain of a lack in ability to sustain an erection with a condom. But remember that timing and having a sense of control play an important role in making this work. Ensure proper intimate hygiene since your private parts will be in direct contact in  case you choose this ‘coitus interruptus’ way.

Also, read: #RightToPleasure: 7 condom checks you must do for safe sex

female condom
Women can take charge of their own sexual health with female condoms. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Other common contraception methods

Contraception should not just be viewed as a mechanism for family planning. But it also needs to be seen as a way to practice safe sex.

Here are some of the common ways other than pull out method that people use to avoid pregnancy:

1. Combined oral contraceptives
2. Progestogen-only pills
3. Implants
4. Birth control patch
5. Vaginal ring
6. Intrauterine device (IUD)
7. Male condoms
8. Female condoms
9. Standard Days Method where people avoid unprotected vaginal sex during most fertile days in the ovulation calendar.
10. Emergency contraception pills, which prevents or delays the release of eggs from the ovaries.

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