Unwanted pregnancy and STIs: These are the real risks of the pull-out method

Published on:21 December 2019, 19:00pm IST
Surely, this is a widely-used method of contraception, but is it really effective? Find out here.
Sonakshi Kohli
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Knowing the consequences of unprotected sex. Image courtesy: GIPHY

It’s funny how out of all the areas of life, we prefer to channel our inner adventurer in bed–during sex. I mean, a huge round of applause for the daredevils, who would rather have unprotected sex increasing a woman’s chance of getting pregnant when she’s not even planning a baby instead of maybe, going for bungee jumping off a cliff for an adrenaline rush.

There’s no comparison between the pleasures from these two activities. That said, there is also no comparison between their repercussions. While the latter can free you of your fears, the former can actually induce fears and bind you with some unwanted responsibility (of raising an unplanned child, of course). 

So, let’s clear the air before it’s too late
Ladies, if you’re under the impression that the pull-out or the penis-withdrawal method will let you enjoy pleasure without giving you the pain of an unwanted pregnancy–you’re highly, highly mistaken.

Yes, a study conducted at the University of Washington, Seattle found that in comparison to the two per cent failure rate of a condom in preventing pregnancy, the failure rate from the pull-out method is only four per cent. However, there’s a catch here—a big one.

The timing of the pull-out has to be absolutely perfect and prompt so as to avoid sperm from getting inside the vagina and making it to the ovaries for fertilisation. Which means, your partner has to overcome all temptation, be very aware of his timing, and obviously, care enough about your reproductive health in order to withdraw his penis before ejaculation. 

Unfortunately though, in life, there are no perfect scenarios and no perfect humans either, which is exactly why this study clearly mentions that in actuality, the failure rate from this method is as high as 20-30%. 

Basically, out of 100 women relying solely on the pull-out method for a year during sex, 20 to 30 are likely to conceive. 

Backing this fact, Dr Vikrant Sharma, consultant gynaecologist at MGM Hospital, Delhi, says, “The pull-out method is a rudimentary form of birth control with a very high failure rate.”

birth control pill
You might have a hate-hate relationship with the “The Pill”, but the pull-out method still ain’t your best bud. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Unwanted pregnancy is not the only downside of the pull-out method
Apart from its failure to provide fool-proof protection against pregnancy, the pull-out method also doesn’t protect you from sexually transmitted diseases like HIV and herpes–according to Dr Anju Hajari, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, Surya Hospitals.

In fact, she even warns about the pregnancy-causing potential of a man’s pre-ejaculation fluids, the ones released before he climaxes in order to create lubrication for the semen to travel up a woman’s ovaries easily. Sadly, these fluids have sperms too, she quips.

Relax! There are other expert-approved contraception methods too
Now that you know that the pull-out method isn’t as trustworthy as you thought, you might want to consider other methods of avoiding pregnancy from sex recommended by these experts:

1. Barrier contraceptives (condoms):
If used every time in the right manner, it prevents pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. The failure rate is only three per cent during the first year of use. However, if you consider usage error, the failure rate can go up to 14%.

2. The emergency after-pill:
If consumed within 72 hours of having unprotected sex, taking the emergency contraceptive pill can reduce the chances of pregnancy as well. However, you should avoid using it on a regular basis as it can cause a hormonal imbalance in your body. 

3. Regular oral contraceptive pills:
The use of the contraceptive pill with regulated doses of hormones don’t have an adverse effect on the body. They also have a failure rate of only seven per cent and can be used effectively for birth control. However, one must consult a gynecologist before starting these pills in order to ensure safety.

Also read: 8 things that happen to your body when you stop taking birth control pills

4. Intrauterine Device (IUD):
In this method, a T-shaped device is fitted inside the uterus by a gynecologist and can stay intact for up to 10 years with a failure rate as low as 0.1-4%.

So, keep the above-mentioned pointers in mind and get going!

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Sonakshi Kohli Sonakshi Kohli

Twenty kilos down and struggling to maintain the weight loss by preaching healthy eating, while eating unhealthy every now and then.