Will Using The Withdrawal Method Stop Me From Getting Pregnant?

There are a variety of methods that a couple can use to avoid becoming pregnant. Some methods are much more effective than others as stopping you from getting pregnant. However, not every method of birth control is an option for everyone. Sometimes, health reasons may prevent someone from being able to take birth control pills, for example.

It is important to look first at the numbers to understand your chances of becoming pregnant. The fact of the matter is that methods of contraception involving medication (such as birth control pills) or a barrier method (such as using a male condom) have much higher rates of success than other methods. The birth control pill, for example, leaves less than a one percent chance of becoming pregnant. A condom, when used correctly, will prevent pregnancy over 98% of the time. These statistics are much higher than alternative methods of contraception.

Having said all of that, using the withdrawal method can stop you from getting pregnant. The withdrawal method involves removing the penis from the vagina before ejaculation occurs. Withdrawal can be as little as 73% effective at avoiding pregnancy, or can be as much as 96% effective. The success rate of withdrawal relies primarily on the male partner’s ability to know when he is going to ejaculate, and his self-control in being able to withdrawal.

The reason that withdrawal is not as effective as other methods is that sperm can sometimes be produced without ejaculating. It is possible for pre-seminal fluid (sometimes called precum) to have sperm in it. While pre-seminal fluid is not produced with sperm in it, if there is sperm in the man’s urethra from a previous ejaculation, the pre-seminal fluid may pick up the sperm and carry it along. If a man urinates after a previous ejaculation but before having sex, it is much less likely that his pre-seminal fluid will have sperm in it.

There are other factors that make the withdrawal a higher risk for becoming pregnant. Trying to avoid getting pregnant without ejaculation relies on the man’s ability to know his own body. He has to be able to tell right away when he is about to ejaculate so that he can withdrawal in time. In addition, using this method for birth control relies on the man’s self-control; he has to be able to stop himself at the very height of passion to make sure that he does not ejaculate.

While using the withdrawal method can stop you from getting pregnant, it is important to understand the risks as described above.


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