- 80-96 % Effective
- No STI Protection
- Single use
On this page
- What is withdrawal (pulling out)?
- How effective is withdrawal?
- How does withdrawal work?
- How to use withdrawal
- What stops withdrawal from working?
- What is good about withdrawal?
- Are there any side effects from using withdrawal?
- Can withdrawal cause any serious health problems?
- Reasons why withdrawal might not be a good option
- What if I had sex without using withdrawal?
- What if pregnancy happens while using withdrawal?
- Can I use withdrawal after I have had a baby?
- What else should I know about withdrawal?
- Where to get more information and support
What is withdrawal (pulling out)?
Withdrawal is when the penis is withdrawn (pulled out) of the vagina before ejaculation (cumming). It is not recommended as a method of contraception, especially for young people (who are most fertile) but is more effective than using no contraception.
How effective is withdrawal?
If withdrawal is used correctly, every time you have sex, it is 96% effective at preventing pregnancy. Given it can be difficult to withdraw the penis during sex and sperm may be in the pre-ejaculate (pre-cum), which is usually not felt when it leaves the penis, withdrawal might only be 80% effective.
How does withdrawal work?
The withdrawal method works by lowering the chance of sperm entering the vagina when ejaculation (cumming) occurs outside of the vagina.
How to use withdrawal
Withdraw (pull out) the penis from the vagina before ejaculation (cumming). It is important that the ejaculate (cum) is not near the vaginal opening.
If you are going to have sex a second time, there could be sperm left inside the penis, on the penis or on the hands. Before having sex again, sperm can be cleared from the penis by passing urine (pee) and washing the penis and cleared from the hands by washing them thoroughly with soap and water.
What stops withdrawal from working?
- If there is sperm in the pre-ejaculate (pre-cum).
- Not withdrawing (pulling out) in time.
What is good about withdrawal?
- No cost.
- Always available.
- Does not use devices or medications.
- No side effects.
Are there any side effects from using withdrawal?
There are no side effects from using withdrawal.
Can withdrawal cause any serious health problems?
There are no serious health risks from using withdrawal.
Reasons why withdrawal might not be a good option
- There could be a health risk to you or the baby if pregnancy occurred. This is because the risk of pregnancy when using withdrawal is higher than with many other types of contraception.
- If ejaculation (cumming) happens quickly or without much warning.
- It is difficult to withdraw the penis during sex.
What if I had sex without using withdrawal?
If you or your partner do not want to be pregnant, you might need emergency contraception, if you had sex without using withdrawal or other contraception (check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist).
What if pregnancy happens while using withdrawal?
It is safe to continue the pregnancy or to have an abortion.
Can I use withdrawal after I have had a baby?
You can use withdrawal any time after giving birth.
What else should I know about withdrawal?
- Withdrawal does not protect from sexually transmissible infections (STIs).
- Withdrawal is one of many types of contraception. See other contraceptive options
Where to get more information and support
- Sexual Health Victoria
- A doctor or nurse
- Your local community health service
- An obstetrician or gynaecologist
- 1800 My Options phone line 1800 696 784 or website
- Better Health Channel
- Equinox – for transgender services
- Jean Hailes
- Marie Stopes Australia
- Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health
- The Women’s (The Royal Women’s Hospital)