The Pullout Method Still Isn't Any More Effective — and Yet It's on the Rise

If there's anything we took away from sex ed, it's that the pullout method is the riskiest form of birth control of them all. So, why has it almost doubled among unmarried couples over the years? We spoke with board certified urologic surgeon Dr. Jamin Brahmbhatt to find out.

According to a new study by the Centers For Disease Control, withdrawal has increased from 9.8 percent in 2002 to 18.8 percent between 2011 and 2015. Brahmbhatt attributes the incline to men "taking more initiative" in terms of birth control and a lack of awareness on how risky the pullout method really is.

Since all current forms of contraception are for women, the only other option out there for men other than a vasectomy is the use of condoms. "I love condoms," said no man ever.

"So from what they have, what is going to make them selfishly feel the best is withdrawal," Brahmbhatt told POPSUGAR.

Here's where the pullout method stands in comparison to other forms of birth control:

  • Withdrawal: 78 percent effective
  • Condoms: 85 percent effective
  • Birth control pills: 91 percent effective
  • IUD: 99 percent effective
  • Vasectomy: 99 percent effective

It's clear which one is the poorest in terms of pregnancy prevention, and yet withdrawal continues to become culturally accepted as a legitimate form of birth control, especially among younger couples. But let's be real: women are oftentimes pressured into unprotected sex by their partners.

On top of pregnancy, don't forget about STDs, either. "I think it just comes down to lack of awareness," Brahmbhatt said. "When you think all forms of birth control, you also have to think about, 'How is this going to protect me from STDs?' The withdrawal technique gives you zero protection against sexually transmitted diseases. But the problem out there is that we, as a population, only think about one thing, and we think of them separately. But when we take the whole picture into account, [withdrawal] is really not that great."

Brahmbhatt also mentioned that he doesn't see a male form of birth control hitting the market for at least the next five years. Though there was a large trial of injections for men, the study shut down after participants reported side effects including mood swings (LOL). This puts the burden of prevention and protection on us, ladies, which also means you have the power to say "no" when your man insists on just pulling out.