The Pull Out Method of Contraception

Posted by on Nov 30, 2017 in Birth Control |

Many people disparage the pull out method as a method of birth control, citing the incidence of parenthood among those who practice it—but generally this is the case only when the method has not properly been practiced.
More formally known as Coitus interruptus (a Latin phrase which translates literally to mean “interrupted intercourse”), the pull out method consists of a man withdrawing his penis from his partner’s vagina before ejaculating. The idea behind this method is that the ejaculate liquid contains the sperm which could result in the fertilization of an egg, and therefore a pregnancy. If the ejaculation doesn’t occur while in contact with the woman’s reproductive organs, the risk of pregnancy is theoretically avoided.

There are some potential pitfalls to this approach, not least of which is the fact that it must be practiced with strict and consistent discipline. It must not be overlooked that it takes a great deal of forbearance and discipline for a man to withdraw just as he approaches orgasm. His instincts certainly tend in the opposite direction, and the temptation to “take the risk” can be overwhelming at times.

Another potential drawback (if you can excuse the pun) to the pull out method is the fact that the penis often secretes a lubricant liquid upon arousal, and this liquid can contain some viable sperm. Even though the male partner withdraws before the moment of actual ejaculation, his genital contact with his partner during intercourse may still have delivered viable sperm that may result in pregnancy. This fact raises the possibility that even a perfectly practiced pull out method may result in an unintended pregnancy. The chances of this are admittedly low, but a couple must be aware of the possibility before making the choice to use this method.

The most effective pull out practice is that combined with attention to the calendar, and the woman’s cycle. Making observations about the timing of her cycle, if it is regular and predictable, can give the couple additional information about the highest-risk times of the month—namely, the days when she is most fertile and most likely to conceive. With this information in hand, the couple can choose to abstain entirely during those days, practicing the pull out method during the remainder of the month as an added precaution.

Alternatively, the couple might incorporate additional observation into their information gathering, and employ the cervical mucus method of monitoring the woman’s fertility. This can be particularly useful if a woman’s cycle is not regular enough to be predictable with the mere use of the calendar. Observing the consistency and appearance of cervical mucus can provide solid clues as to the fertile days of her cycle, allowing the couple to practice abstention—or at the very least, a strict observation of the pull out method—during those days of high fertility.
In fact, if the couple is entirely certain of their fertility monitoring with the cervical mucus method, they may even choose to engage in unprotected sex without pulling out for several weeks of every month, resorting to the pull out method (or outright abstinence) only during the days of fertility. This choice may actually have the effect of increasing the effectiveness of the pull out method, due to the fact that it will not take quite so much discipline and forbearance to pull out on those occasions, knowing that the intercourse will not need to be interrupted in the near future.

If a couple absolutely cannot risk pregnancy, they may wish to resort to a more certain form of birth control, but if there is some room for error, the pull out method is often effective when practiced properly.