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revised Friday October 12 2007


What is Withdrawal?

During vaginal sex, withdrawal means pulling the penis out of the vagina and away from the vaginal area before ejaculation, so the sperm and egg will not meet. This is a method that requires trust and communication between partners, you need to talk to your partner before hand and agree that you will both interrupt or stop sexual intercourse before ejaculation.

How effective is it?

The withdrawal method is about 73% effective if used correctly. However it is not reliable because:

  • Males cannot always control when they are going to ejaculate
  • judgement may be impaired due to drugs or alcohol, which can effect self control
  • some males may wish to get a partner pregnant without her consent
  • there may be a small number of sperm in the pre-ejaculate.

Withdrawal is more effective if you use it with another kind of birth control, like condoms and spermicidal foam/film


  • It is better than using no birth control at all.
  • It's not expensive.
  • You don't need to see a medical person to use it.
  • Requires no chemicals or hormones
  • It can be used at anytime


  • Does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV.
  • You might get pregnant.
  • You will have to stop sexual intercourse suddenly.
  • The female does not have any control.

If you have used withdrawal and are concerned about pregnancy you can take the Emergency Contraceptive Pill (ECP) as soon as possible for up to 72 hours after unprotected intercourse.

For more information, call 905-799-7700 and ask for Sexual Health Information.

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Revised: Friday October 12 2007

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