Does The Pull Out Method Work? 8 People Explain Why They Pull And Pray Over Using Condoms

Ah, the good old pull and pray. That age-old promise that “I’ll pull out before, uuuggggghhhhhohmygod!” that has led to many a pregnancy scare. More formally called “withdrawal” or “the pull out method”, this form of birth control has very mixed results. Considering the fact that it, a) depends on the guy’s body awareness and self control and, b) relies on the fact that there aren’t as many swimmers in pre-come as there are in ejaculate, pull and pray can be between 96 percent (with perfect use) and 74 percent (with imperfect use) effective, according to Planned Parenthood. Pretty big differential there, considering the fact that you’re rolling the dice on whether or not you’re going to create a new life.

And yet, a lot of people still use it as a way to keep from getting pregnant. I myself have been in relationships where we were pulling and praying, although I must admit that I always felt super guilty about it afterward. I would chastise myself (“Emma, you know better than to mess around with this!”) and then feel terrible and guilty for days.

Pulling out also works better if you track your ovulation, which is something I think a lot of young women not only don’t do but aren’t even aware of. While you probably learned in sex ed that you can get pregnant any time of the month, the reality is that most women are only fertile for a few days mid-cycle. That means that even if some sperm creeps up with the pre-come or if your guy isn’t so good at timing, most of the month you’ll probably be okay. However, it’s really hard to know exactly when you’re ovulating and even getting a pretty close estimate involves things like monitoring cervical mucus and checking your vaginal temperature. So, I’d say generally that people using this method should just be especially careful for the middle week of their cycle.

For me, personally, pull ’n pray isn’t a great option but I was curious to know why other people use it and how they feel about it. Here’s what I found.

1. Alexis, 26

Why do you use the pull out method?

I used it because my birth control pill sucked.

Is it your primary form of birth control?

Now I use an IUD.

Does it make you nervous?

Yes

Do you track your ovulation?

Sort of.

How long have you been using it?

I used it for about two months before I got pregnant.

Have you ever gotten pregnant or gotten someone pregnant using this method?

Oh yes.

2. Pablo, 41

Why do you use the pull out method?

Have only used it with my ex girlfriend, she didn't like condoms.

Is it your primary form of birth control?

It was not, she was on the Pill.

Does it make you nervous?

Not with her.

How long have you been using it?

We used it through our year and a half relationship.

Have you ever gotten pregnant or gotten someone pregnant using this method?

No.

3. Lady, 28

Why do you use the pull out method?

Codoms are uncomfortable, the pill makes me crazy, I'm heading to get a diaphram soon but I still want to have sex in the meantime.

Is it your primary form of birth control?

Yes.

Does it make you nervous?

A little, but I'm also at a point in my life where if I got pregnant accidentally I would keep the baby.

Do you track your ovulation?

No

How long have you been using it?

One month

Have you ever gotten pregnant or gotten someone pregnant using this method?

No

4. Margarita, 28

Why do you use the pull out method?

I don't like the way hormonal birth control affects me and I don't enjoy using condoms now that I'm in a long-term relationship.

Is it your primary form of birth control?

Yes.

Does it make you nervous?

Yes, sometimes.

Do you track your ovulation?

No.

How long have you been using it?

3.5 years with my current partner.

Have you ever gotten pregnant or gotten someone pregnant using this method?

Once when I was a teenager. I was on birth control for a decade following that until i decided to go off in my mid-twenties because I didn't like the way the hormones affected me.

5. DQ, 29

Why do you use the pull out method?

My wife and I live a holistic lifestyle and out of concern for her health do not put harmful pharmaceuticals in her body. We are also ready to raise a family if a child were to be made.

Is it your primary form of birth control?

Yes.

Does it make you nervous?

No.

How long have you been using it?

One year.

Have you ever gotten pregnant or gotten someone pregnant using this method?

No.

6. Caity, 26

Why do you use the pull out method?

Birth control makes me crazy/allergic to latex/condoms suck.

Is it your primary form of birth control?

Yes.

Does it make you nervous?

Sometimes, but four years with the same partner without incident assuages most concerns.

Do you track your ovulation?

Yes, very closely.

How long have you been using it?

Four years, sporadically in years before.

Have you ever gotten pregnant or gotten someone pregnant using this method?

Nope!

7. Andrea, 28

Why do you use the pull out method?

I think the pull out method is a pretty terrible recommendation for teens who are two thrust busts, who have little control over where and when they are ejaculating. At this age though, if I am in a monogamous relationship with someone who clearly has control over his orgasms, I find this method has been far more effective then I think general Sex Ed class gives it credit for.

Is it your primary form of birth control?

Yes.

Does it make you nervous?

Not really.

Do you track your ovulation?

No.

How long have you been using it?

One year.

Have you ever gotten pregnant or gotten someone pregnant using this method?

No.

8. Karen, (no age given)

Why do you use the pull out method?

I was going from one IUD to another during a period of time when I did not have health insurance. I had been with the same partner, whom I have a commitment and future with, so the pull out method, despite the increased pregnancy potential, was something we both agreed on taking responsibility foe

Is it your primary form of birth control?

IUD

Does it make you nervous?

In the beginning, yes. But I trusted a future with my partner, so whatever that entailed I was an equal part in the decision.

Do you track your ovulation?

No.

How long have you been using it?

It was for a six month time.

Have you ever gotten pregnant or gotten someone pregnant using this method?

No.

Images: Giphy (8); icanteachyouhowtodoit/Flickr