Other names: pull out method
what is the withdrawal method?
This method (also known as the pull-out method) involves removing the penis from inside the vagina before ejaculation to minimize the risk of sperm entering the vagina and reaching the egg.
The withdrawal method is a type of natural method of contraception
The withdrawal method belongs to a group of contraception called natural methods. Natural methods of contraception include fertility awareness methods, the lactational amenorrhoea method and the withdrawal (pull out) method. They are natural because they do not involve hormones, chemicals or manmade substances.
How does the withdrawal method work?
The withdrawal method involves taking the penis out of the vagina before the man's climax (ejaculation).
This reduces the amount of sperm entering the vagina and attempts to minimize the risk of sperm reaching the egg.
How effective is the withdrawal method?
Not all sperm are released during ejaculation. Pre-ejaculate, or 'pre-cum', contains some sperm so even if the pull out-method is used correctly, you could still get pregnant. It can also require a lot of self-control and trust, and therefore it can be an unreliable method of contraception. As such, your doctor or nurse are not likely to recommend it as a method of contraception.
Typically, the withdrawal method is 78% effective at preventing pregnancy but can be up to 96% effective if done perfectly.
PP-UN-WHC-GB-0085 September 2023