About Withdrawal

About Withdrawal

Talking to your kids about sex can be daunting, no matter how close you are. But discussing issues like abstinence, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and birth control can help lower teens' risk of an unintended pregnancy or contracting an STD.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) supports sex education that includes information about both abstinence and birth control. Research has shown that this information doesn't increase kids' level of sexual activity, but actually promotes and increases the proper use of birth control methods among sexually active teens.

How and when you discuss sex and birth control is up to you. Providing the facts is vital, but it's also wise to tell your kids where you stand. Remember, by approaching these issues like any other health topics, not as something dirty or embarrassing, you increase the odds that your kids will feel comfortable coming to you with any questions and problems. As awkward as it might feel, answer questions honestly. And if you don't know the answers, it's OK to say so, then find out and report back.

If you have questions about how to talk with your son or daughter about sex, consider consulting your child's doctor. Lots of parents find this tough to tackle, and a doctor may offer some helpful perspective.

What Is Withdrawal?

Withdrawal, also called pulling out, is when a male removes his penis from the vagina before he ejaculates.

How Does Withdrawal Work?

Withdrawal is an attempt to keep sperm from entering the vagina by having the male ejaculate outside the vagina.

How Well Does Withdrawal Work?

Over the course of a year, about 27 out of 100 typical couples who rely on withdrawal to prevent pregnancy will have an accidental pregnancy. Of course, this is an average figure and the chance of getting pregnant depends on whether the couple uses this method correctly and every time they have sex.

Even for people who think they are doing it correctly, withdrawal is not an effective way to prevent pregnancy. Males leak a bit of sperm out of the penis even before ejaculation, which means that even if the male pulls out before he ejaculates, a girl can still become pregnant. Also, if the male ejaculates close to the outside of the vagina, the sperm can swim up into the vagina. However, withdrawal is considered a better method of contraception than none at all.

Protection Against STDs

Withdrawal does not protect against STDs. Couples having sex must always use condoms to protect against STDs even when using another method of birth control.

Abstinence (not having sex) is the only method that always prevents pregnancy and STDs.

More Information About Withdrawal

Withdrawal is not a reliable way to prevent pregnancy. And it can be difficult for males to know exactly when they should pull out or to have the willpower to do so. Even if they do, some sperm will leak out of the penis before ejaculation, which can then result in pregnancy.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: August 2013





Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

© 1995-2014 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. All rights reserved.





Bookmark and Share

Related Resources
OrganizationAmerican Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.
Web SitePlanned Parenthood Federation of America Planned Parenthood offers information on sexually transmitted diseases, birth control methods, and other issues of sexual health.
OrganizationAmerican College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) This site offers information on numerous health issues. The women's health section includes readings on pregnancy, labor, delivery, postpartum care, breast health, menopause, contraception, and more.
Related Articles
Sexual Development Changes become more dramatic and complex with the onset of puberty, and kids are likely to have lots of questions. These articles can help you become a trusted source of information, comfort, and support for your kids.
STDs In many ways teens today are growing up faster than ever. That's why it's important to talk to your child about sex, particularly sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Questions and Answers About Sex Answering kids' questions about sex is a responsibility many parents dread. But by answering these questions honestly, parents can help foster healthy feelings about sex.
About Birth Control: What Parents Need to Know Talking to your kids about sex can be daunting. But discussing issues like abstinence, STDs, and birth control can help lower teens' risk of unintended pregnancy or contracting an STD.
About Birth Control Before you consider having sex, you need to know how to protect yourself. Read this article to get the basics on birth control.
Condom Before you consider having sex, you need to know how to protect yourself. Read this article to find out how condoms work - and how well they protect against pregnancy and STDs.
Withdrawal Before you consider having sex, you need to know how to protect yourself. Learn about withdrawal - and whether it's effective at preventing pregnancy and STDs.
Your Daughter's First Gynecology Visit The idea of going to the gynecologist may make your daughter feel nervous. Here's how to make her feel more comfortable.
About Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) You've probably heard lots of discouraging news about sexually transmitted diseases. The good news is that STDs can be prevented. Find out how to protect yourself.
Fertility Awareness Before you consider having sex, you need to know how to protect yourself. Read this article to learn what the rhythm method of birth control is and how it works - and some of the reasons why it might not work for teens.
iGrow iGrow
Sign up for our parent enewsletter