Tell me if you've heard this one before: Things are getting hot and heavy, you're ready to do the deed, but, when you reach for the condom, he says, “Don't worry about it baby, I have mad self-control — I promise I'll pull out before I come.” Maybe you're reading this (in the light of day and totally sobes) and thinking, red flag! But add a few drinks and some incredibly hot making out, and suddenly it may start making sense. But wait, can you get pregnant if he pulls out? I mean, no semen = no baby, right? That's just math!
The short answer is: Yep you still can get preggers. No form of contraceptive is 100 percent effective 100 percent of the time. Plus, there's always that pesky pre-cum (aka pre-ejaculate) problem. Pre-cum is a small amount of fluid released by the Cowper's gland, which combats sperm-killing acidity in the urethra so his little swimmers can survive their epic journey. While according to Planned Parenthood pre-cum doesn't contain any sperm, it is possible for some men to leak sperm into it, and it can also pick up hitchhikers along the way from previous ejaculations.
OK, so pulling out clearly isn't a reliable form of birth control — even if he does have legendary self-control. But how does it stack up to other forms of pregnancy prevention? Let's break it down with the help of Planned Parenthood.
Topping out the effectiveness scale is our good friend the IUD, with a whopping 99 percent rate of pregnancy prevention. It also earns bonus points for convenience, as you only need to worry about it every three to 12 years when it's time to be replaced, depending on what kind you get. However, it loses points for not protecting against STDs.
The same can be said for the pill, which boasts a healthy 91 percent effectiveness rate. But, like the IUD, the pill doesn't protect against STDs on its own — so pair it with a condom. Condoms by themselves are still a fairly solid option at 82 percent effectiveness.
But what about the reason we came here (pun intended) in the first place? The withdrawal method, aka coitus interruptus, if you're fancy.
When the pull out method is practiced “perfectly” for a year, the odds of failure are four in 100. However, when practiced “typically” for a year, the odds jump to one in four! Ask yourself: When was the last time you practiced anything perfectly for a year? Now add cocktails. Accidents do happen.
Do you know what's even more unwelcome than an unplanned pregnancy? An STD. While the pull out method may reduce your chances of becoming an unexpected baby mama, it does nothing to prevent STD transmission.
Some STDs — like HPV, genital warts, and herpes — are spread via skin-to-skin contact, so the withdrawal method doesn't offer any protection from them. Not to mention that pre-cum can carry bacteria and viruses such as gonorrhea, Chlamydia, syphilis, and HIV. Yikes.
So no matter how much “self-control” he says he has, unless he seems like the fatherly type, make sure that before you get busy, you wrap it the eff up!