Skip to main content
Go to homepage

Print Page

About Withdrawal

What Is Withdrawal?

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

How Does Withdrawal Work?

By trying to keep sperm from entering the vagina, a person using withdrawal hopes to prevent pregnancy.

How Well Does Withdrawal Work to Prevent Pregnancy?

Over the course of a year, about 22 out of 100 typical couples who use withdrawal alone to prevent pregnancy will have an accidental pregnancy.

Even for people who think they are doing it correctly, withdrawal is not an effective way to prevent pregnancy. Some sperm leak out of the penis even before ejaculation. So even by pulling out before ejaculation, pregnancy can still happen. Also, if the guy ejaculates close to the outside of the vagina, the sperm can swim up into the vagina. Still, withdrawal is considered a better method of contraception than none at all.

Does Withdrawal Help Prevent STDs?

No. 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.

When Should I Call the Doctor?

A girl who uses withdrawal should call the doctor if she:

  • might be pregnant
  • has a change in the smell or color of vaginal discharge
  • has unexplained fever or chills
  • has belly or pelvic pain
  • has pain during sex

Reviewed by: Lonna P. Gordon, MD
Date Reviewed: 10-01-2022

Lea este articulo en Español

What next?