Withdrawal method (coitus interruptus)

The withdrawal method of contraception, also known as coitus interruptus, is the practice of withdrawing the penis from the vagina and away from a woman's external genitals before ejaculation to prevent pregnancy. The withdrawal method helps prevent sperm from entering the vagina.

Using the withdrawal method for birth control requires self-control. Even then, the withdrawal method as typically used isn't an especially effective form of birth control. Sperm may enter the vagina if withdrawal isn't properly timed or if pre-ejaculation fluid contains sperm. The withdrawal method doesn't offer protection from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Why it's done Risks What you can expect

The withdrawal method of contraception to prevent pregnancy has several benefits:

  • It's free and readily available
  • Has no side effects
  • Doesn't require a fitting or prescription

Some couples choose to use the withdrawal method because they don't want to use other contraceptive methods.

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