What is the withdrawal method?
The withdrawal method also known as coitus interruptus or pull out method, is a contraceptive method in which the male partner withdraws the penis from the vagina of the female partner before ejaculation. The purpose of this act is to avoid pregnancy. The sperm present in the seminal fluid is prevented from entering the reproductive system of the female partner. Ultimately fertilization of the ovum (egg cell) by the sperm is prevented.
Until the development of modern contraception the withdrawal method was considered to be one of the most practiced means of contraception. Appropriate use of the withdrawal method requires control by the male partner. Even if performed correctly the withdrawal method is not a very effective means of contraception as in many cases the pre-ejaculation fluid may contain sperm. This method also does not give any protection against sexually transmitted diseases like HIV/AIDS and herpes.
Pros And Cons
There are certain advantages associated with withdrawal method which other contraceptive methods lack. First is the fact that it can be practiced without bearing any cost (cost effective) which is a major consideration for lower economic groups. Secondly, there are no side-effects associated with using the withdrawal method as may occur with allergic reactions to latex (condom use) or the birth control pill. Furthermore, the withdrawal method does not require the fitting of any devices or a regular prescription from a doctor.
Many couples use withdrawal method as contraceptive method as choose not to use other methods of contraception. It may be due to religious or cultural beliefs that detract from other contraceptive methods. Lastly, and possibly most importantly, the withdrawal method offer some protection against pregnancy. It is better than no contraception where pregnancy could adversely affect the life of the parents or other children in the family, particularly when teen pregnancy and finances are an issue.
The main disadvantage of the withdrawal method is that it is not the most effective means of contraception. Pregnancy can still occur and when compared to other forms of contraception these days, the withdrawal method is one of the least effective. It also does not offer any protection against sexually transmitted disease (STDs). Some males may find intercourse less satisfying due to the withdrawal method and having to practice self control at the time of ejaculation. However, beyond these points, the withdrawal method has no significant disadvantages of note.
How to practice the withdrawal method?
The male partner has to ensure that he ejaculates outside the female partner’s vagina. In order to do so, he needs to withdraw the penis from the vaginal canal of the female partner just before he feels he is about to ejaculate. However, the seminal fluid that may be secreted even just prior to ejaculation may contain sperm which is capable of fertilizing the egg cell.
If the couple plans to have sex again within a short period after intercourse and the withdrawal method is to be used, then the male partner is required to urinate and clean the tip of the penis thoroughly to make sure that sperm from the previous ejaculation are completely removed. As such there are no risks associated with practicing withdrawal method apart from the high rate of failure as an effective contraceptive method.
One of the drawbacks associated with practicing withdrawal method is that it requires high level of self control to remove the penis from the vagina at the height of sexual pleasure. Some men cannot predict the time of ejaculation during sexual intercourse. Even if used appropriately at every act of intercourse the chance of failure is about 4% per year, whereas failure rates for contraceptive pills when taken regularly is 0.3%, for intrauterine devices (IUDs) is 0.6% and in the case of appropriate condom use it is about 2%.