As a means of acting out and pushing (very literal) boundaries, it's not surprising that teenagers choose pulling out as their second-most common form of birth control. But 60% of ADULT WOMEN in the US have used the pullout method at least once. For the latter, what's more believable is that a lot of us get caught up in the heat of the moment and can't be bothered to think rationally. Except...
It's better than you think -- if you do it right
Here's one you didn't hear in sex ed: pulling out can be just about as effective at preventing pregnancy as condoms. But hang on -- for this statement to ring true, the practice has to be done perfectly (aka BEFORE ejaculation). So long as a man pulls out before his full arsenal of swimmers leaves the gate, only 4% of couples using this method will get pregnant within a year. If guys withdraw too late, the number jumps to 18%.
I don't know about you, but something that's only 82% effective doesn't feel sexy… and doesn't take into account the whole STD issue, because nothing rains on your sex-filled parade like an open sore.
It's easy to rationalize pulling out
"The pullout method becomes an easy way to rationalize that you are doing something to prevent pregnancy," says Dr. Madeleine M. Castellanos, a holistic psychiatrist who specializes in sex therapy and functional medical counseling. "If a person convinces themselves that the pullout method is enough for them, they don't have to have the more difficult conversation about using an effective barrier method, like a male or female condom, that prevents both pregnancy and transmission of STIs."
Dr. Castellanos calls this "a false sense of security," because "there's no perfect science to controlling orgasm and ejaculation. So there's a high chance of not being able to pull out in time every time, especially if you're trying to keep the action going to the last possible moment. Most people aren't aware that there can be live sperm present in pre-ejaculatory fluid that is present way before ejaculation, and is being secreted during sexual arousal and activity."
Women are going off birth control
Many women, present company included, initially got on birth control for reasons having nothing to do with the bedroom: skin problems, mood swings, ovarian issues… and while the pill still manages to be the leading form of contraception used by women in the US, a lot of women are now uneasy about being indefinitely on a synthetic birth control that messes with their bodies' natural cycles. That -- paired with changing relationship statuses, transitioning feelings about getting pregnant, and a host of other personal reasons -- means countless users are deciding every day to ditch the tablets in favor of alternative forms of protection. Or lack thereof.
"I was on the birth control pill for seven years before I decided to take myself off of it," says Mel, 26. "I had just gotten out of a relationship at the time and decided I wouldn't really need it anymore, or at least not for a while. It also made me moody and I didn't like it. I wasn't planning on jumping back into anything, so I stopped taking it."
Of course, this doesn't cover one-night stands
"I remember using the pullout method once," Mel says. "I never liked condoms and the guy wasn't exactly begging to put one on, so we had at it. I woke up the next day pretty freaked out and incredibly guilty. But when nothing happened -- I got my period on time and came out STD-free -- it was way easier for me to do it again."
Pulling out can help with sexual issues
The easiest solution to the age-old condom problem (you know the one: "I can't get hard with this damn thing strangling my penis!") is to ditch it altogether. In short: the pullout method is helping your sexual prowess when men need it most. Let's also not ignore the fact that condoms aren't women's favorite feel, either.