Non-Hormonal Birth Control: When in Doubt, Pull-Out. Hold Up, What?


As a Northern Californian, I’ve got some hippie tendencies and never wanted THE MAN fiddling with my vagina through chemical birth control. So when I saw Refinery29‘s breakdown of non-hormonal birth control, I got excited. And then I got worried. Apparently, the pull-out method is all the rage these days?

This old-school, less-than-scientific method — in which pregnancy is potentially averted by the man “pulling out” before ejaculating — is gaining in popularity. One recent study found that one in three young women aged 15 to 25 rely on withdrawal as their primary form of birth control, and that about 21% of them became unintentionally pregnant (compared with just 13% of women using different B.C. methods). Dr. Cullins notes that though using withdrawal as one’s primary birth control method is “much better than no method at all,” it isn’t as effective as other forms, and it should only be considered an option when you have “nothing else to use.”

I love how they explained what “pull-out” means. So, if you’re doing this method with a partner you trust to be monogamous who’s also been tested for the 4 million sexually transmitted diseases you can contract out there, OK? But I still feel like that’s how women get caught up. Pre-cum, anyone? But, Dr. Cullins is supportive.

In typical use, she says, about 27 out of 100 women will become pregnant each year using withdrawal, though if your partner is super experienced at it, withdrawal “can be [up to 90%] effective for prevention of pregnancy.”

I still vote no, or at least not always, but this list of other non-hormonal birth control options might help someone who is now wary of the NuvaRing or doesn’t want to “feel pregnant,” a side effect of some other traditional forms of birth control pills. Plus, these sperm illustrations are pretty great.

Colin Cramm/Shuttterstock

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