7 Things You Need To Know Before You Use The Pull-Out Method

When it was widely reported a few years back that the pull-out method–the most controversial safe-sex technique–was actually a pretty damn effective way of preventing pregnancy, it was hard to be too amped. At least, it was for me. Why? Because I kind of saw it as a victory for every d-bag who always came up with some excuse not to use a condom. “Condoms reduce the sensation!” “I can never find a condom that fits!” “Condoms ruin the mood!” Blah, blah, blah. Dudes were willing to risk it all, and too often pressured their partners into pitying their plight. So to find out that these self-described “pull-out kings” might have actually been on to something? I couldn’t take it!

But, hey, facts are facts, and the facts are as follows: When done perfectly, the pull-out method has a 96 percent success rate; that means that only four out of 100 people will become pregnant. For comparison’s sake, condoms have a 98 percent success rate when used perfectly. So, a couple of percentage points off, but the numbers speak for themselves. Before you and your partner decide that pull-out will be a go-to option for your romps from here on out, you need to be more informed. Don’t let that 96 percent effectiveness rate fool you, because there are still risks to take into consideration. Check out these seven things you need to know before trying the pull-out method. Good luck!

It's Really Hard To Accomplish The Pull-Out Method Perfectly With Someone Who Is Inexperienced

Be real, guys: How experienced are your hookups? Are you having sex with someone who has an orgasm in a couple of minutes because they're so overwhelmed by the sensations of their penis in a vagina? BE. REAL. If your partner can't handle more than a few--for lack of a better phrase--pumps without losing control, they are not the right candidate for the pull-out method. Period. It's way too risky. If you two really want to get to a point in which the pull-out method is more feasible for you two, then your partner should practice their technique with condoms first. Then, after a while, they can figure out how to have a better sense of control without putting you at such a high risk of pregnancy.


Your Pregnancy Risk Isn't As Low As You'd Like It To Be

Speaking of high risk of pregnancy...Look, it's imperative that you know that the pull-out method is only effective if it is done perfectly. I know, I know, I've already said that a few times, but you NEED to drill that into your head. Why? Because here's its effectiveness when it is done imperfectly: 73 percent. Guys, that's a nearly one in four chance of pregnancy! I don't know about you, but that is not a number I'd want to mess around with. For comparison's sake, an improperly used condom has an 82 percent effectiveness rate. That's still scary, but not nearly as bad as the results for an improper pull-out method.

Sarah Wintner Illustration

Pull-Out Method Works Best Alongside Birth Control

Accidents happen, folks. If you want to use the pull-out method and not worry so much about an accidental pregnancy, use the pull-out method in conjunction with other birth control methods, like the pill, the patch, the shot, or an IUD. That way, you'll have an extra layer of protection in case something doesn't go quite as planned.


Pull-Out Method Still Puts You At Risk For STDs/STIs

Okay, so if the pull-out method is done perfectly, you probably won't get pregnant. But does that mean you won't get an STD or STI? LOL, nope! Sure, condoms aren't the perfect deterrent either, but they're a hell of a lot more effective when it comes to keeping STDs/STIs at bay than going in bare and pulling out in the nick of time. If you're with a new partner or you aren't monogamous, you should probably avoid the pull-out method entirely.

American Pie

You Might Want To Consider Having Emergency Contraception On Hand

Emergency contraceptives like Plan-B are good to have on hand no matter what; even the safest of sex can go wrong. But if you and your partner engage in the pull-out method regularly, it would give you some peace of mind to know that you can take it if need be. Just beware of the side effects and price; that along could put you off engaging in slightly riskier safe sex practices like this one.


Despite Its Effectiveness, Don't Feel Pressured To Use The Pull-Out Method

It's really easy for someone to just read all of this and think, "Sweet, don't have to wear a condom as long as I just finish off elsewhere." But if you don't feel comfortable with the prospect of the pull-out method, don't let these stats deter you from choosing alternative safe sex methods, like condoms. Trust, if you're too paranoid about something going wrong, you'll be a lot less stressed and have a way better time if you take the safer route.

The To Do List

To Avoid Paranoia, Just Use A Condom

If you're someone who just wants to have a good time without worrying about STDs/STIs or pregnancy, please, have sex with a condom and don't even attempt the pull-out method. That could definitely be the preferred way of getting it on if you're very new to sex or you're with a new partner. Pull-out is truly best for people who use birth control, are monogamous, and have easy access to emergency contraception. If that doesn't describe you right now, you're better off forgetting about the pull-out method for now.


What do you think of the popularity of the pull out method? Do you think that people should learn to do it more safely or avoid it all together? Tell us in the comments!

You can follow the author, Ashley Reese, on Twitter or Instagram. Don’t worry, she doesn’t bite!

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