Withdrawal (pulling out)

  • 80-96 % Effective
  • No STI Protection
  • Single use

What is withdrawal?

The withdrawal method is when the penis is withdrawn (pulled out) of the vagina before ejaculation (cumming).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, but is more effective than using no contraception.

How effective is withdrawal?

If you use withdrawal correctly, it is 96% effective at preventing pregnancy. It might only be 80% effective if you or your partner pre-ejaculate (pre-cum) or were unable to withdraw.

What stops withdrawal from working?

  • If there is sperm in the pre-ejaculate
  • Not withdrawing (pulling out) in time

How do I 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.

illustration of withdrawal (pulling out)

If you are going to have sex a second time there could be sperm left inside the penis or on the penis or your hands. To clear sperm, go to the toilet to pass urine and wash your penis and hands before having sex again.

How does withdrawal work?

The withdrawal method works by lowering the chance of sperm entering the vagina. But if the penis in not pulled out at the right time it is possible for some sperm to get into the vagina. Sperm might also be in the pre-ejaculate (pre-cum).

What is good about withdrawal?


  • Is cost free
  • Is always available
  • Does not use devices or medications
  • Has no side effects

Can withdrawal cause any serious health problems?

There are no known serious health risks from using withdrawal.

Reasons why withdrawal might not be a good option for you (or your partner):

  • Ejaculate quickly
  • Don’t have much warning about when you are going to ejaculate (cum)

What if I forget to use withdrawal?

If you forget to withdraw and did not use other contraception, you may need emergency contraception.

What happens if I get pregnant while I’m using withdrawal?

It is safe to continue the pregnancy or to have an abortion.

Can I use withdrawal after I’ve had a baby?

You can use withdrawal any time after giving birth.

What else should I know about withdrawal?

Where to get more information, support or advice

  • Contact your local doctor (GP)
  • Contact Family Planning Victoria's clinics

This is general information only, you should speak to your doctor for advice and further instruction.

Last updated: 27 June 2018