Bedsider • Bedsider makes birth control easier by giving you everything you need to find it, get it, and use it well!

Withdrawal is the oldest form of birth control on the planet. There's not much to explain, really. The guy pulls out before he ejaculates. End of story. Some people call withdrawal the "pull out method." Or you may hear people call it "coitus interruptus." The key thing to remember is this: You've got to do it right--every single time--for withdrawal to be effective. And how many guys do you know with that kind of total control?

The Gist

It's free with no side effects, but your partner needs to be able to reliably predict when he'll come for it to work.

Quick Facts

  • Effectiveness - Somewhat effective, but depends on your guy always pulling out in time. Always.
  • Side effects - No hormones, no devices, no side effects.
  • Effort - Has to happen every single time you have sex.
  • How to get it - Nothing to get--except your guy's cooperation.
  • Cost - Free!
  • STI Risk - Even when done correctly, withdrawal does not prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections :( Consider using a condom to stay safe!


  • Your partner has super control - Your man needs to be a pro in bed for withdrawal to work. Really. He's got to be totally in tune with his body and able to predict when he'll come.
  • You wouldn't mind getting pregnant if it happened - The "typical use" failure rate for withdrawal is around 22%. That's pretty darn high.
  • At least it's cheap - Withdrawal is certainly better than nothing, and it has the distinct advantage of being completely free.
  • No prescription necessary - Enough said, eh?

How To Use It

The withdrawal method is totally dependent on your partner and his self-control. He's got to make sure he pulls out before he ejaculates AND he's got to keep his semen away from your vulva when he does. So it's really important that your partner understands his own sexual response patterns.

But let's be real for a minute. What if he's had a few drinks? Or you're both just totally lost in the moment? Or what if he miscalculates his, uh, excitement?

Withdrawal is always better than nothing--but it's pretty darn risky if you're serious about not getting pregnant. You might want to use a spermicide along with pulling out to make withdrawal more effective.

Learn more about Withdrawal