The Birth Control Method We Won't Talk About

The "pull-and-pray" method of birth control - a.k.a. coitus interruptus - has a serious image problem. So much so, few people over the age of 15 even feel comfortable admitting they use it.

If they do, they feel compelled to add something like "yeah, I know, we're being really stupid. We're not dumb teenagers."

But it turns out that pulling out isn't just "better than nothing," nor is it strictly the provenance of kids too embarrassed to buy condoms.

In fact, it's super common: 60% of women reported using the pull-out method at least once in their life. It could also be almost as effective as a condom. 18% of couples will get pregnant in the run of a year using withdrawal, versus 17.1% of couples using condoms, a.k.a. a negligible difference. Since most couples use condoms and pulling out simultaneously, both the effectiveness of withdrawal, and the real number of people using it, could be greater than we realize.

One thing limiting reliable info is the stigma. Since pulling out is still seen as strictly for the young and ill-informed, people still feel foolish about 'fessing up - either that, or they don't report using it because they don't think it even counts as contraception. Birth control research also tends to focus on methods that reduce the risk of STIs, which of course pulling out doesn't.

The bottom line is that while critics are correct about withdrawal being tricky to use perfectly, so are other birth control methods.

Considering it's free, accessible, non-chemical, and obviously feels amazing: why aren't more monogamous couples opening up about pulling out?

h/t Popular Science


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