Withdrawal | Find My Method
  • Withdrawal is free and does not require a visit to the health care provider
  • Effectiveness: somewhat effective. But only if the guy pulls out every single time. With common use, only 78 out of every 100 individuals will manage to prevent pregnancy.
  • Side effects: no hormones, no devices, no side effects
  • Effort: high. The man has to pull out every time you have sex
  • Doesn’t protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).


Withdrawal is one of the oldest forms of contraception. It is very simple – the man pulls out of the woman before he ejaculates. With this method, you need to do it right every single time.


You would not mind getting pregnant. The failure rate for withdrawal is high. If you do not want to get pregnant, then you should use another method.

The male is aware of when he will ejaculate. Withdrawal requires a high level of awareness and the ability to predict ejaculation (and pull out before it happens). Keep in mind that pre-cum can also contain sperm. So even if he pulls out before ejaculation, the woman is still at risk of getting pregnant.

You can use it with another method. You can use withdrawal as a back-up with another method.

It is very inexpensive. Withdrawal is better than nothing and it is completely free.

No prescription is necessary.


How To Use

The withdrawal method is dependent on the male and his self-control. He needs to pull out before he ejaculates AND he needs to keep his semen away from the woman’s vulva when he does. So it is really important that the male understands his sexual response patterns.

Withdrawal is always better than nothing – but it is fairly risky if you are serious about not getting pregnant.

Side Effects

Everyone is different. What you experience may not be the same thing as another person.

The Positive:

  • One of the most inexpensive methods
  • No prescription necessary

The Negative:

  • The only side effect of withdrawal is the possibility of getting pregnant before you are ready
  • Difficult to perform perfectly every single time
  • Hard to remember to do if you are drunk

You might want to use a spermicide along with pulling out to make withdrawal more effective.



  • We are here to help you. If it still does not feel right, we have ideas for other methods. Just remember: If you decide to change methods, make sure to stay protected while you switch. Condoms offer good protection while you find a method that suits your needs.What if I want a method that is more effective but I do not want to visit a health care provider?

    What if I want a method that is more effective and can visit a health care provider?

    • Visit your health care provider or community health worker and talk to him or her about the different options available. Be sure to be realistic about what you can and cannot do – if you cannot take a pill at the same time every day, make sure the provider knows that.
    • Still not working? If you do not mind visiting your health care provider for a prescription or procedure, you might want to check out one of these more effective methods: IUD,  implant,   injectable, the ring, the patch, or the pill.
    • Try a different method: implant; IUD; patchpill; ring;  injectable

    What if a woman cannot tell when her partner is about to ejaculate?

    • Everyone is different, and there are no universal signals to look out for. Communicating with the partner will help. If you want to use withdrawal for contraception but you are unsure what the signals are, practice with a condom first.
    • Still not working? If you do not want to get pregnant now and pulling out is not as easy as you thought, you may want to use a more effective method. A few that do not require action while you are having sex are the IUD, the implant, and the injectable. Consider using condoms for STI protection.
    • Try a different method: implant; IUD; injectable; condoms