Pulling Out Is More Popular Than The Pill, And Here's Why That's Not a Good Thing

How many of you rely on the time-honored "pull out" method?
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How many of you rely on the time-honored "pull out" method?
(Photo: Getty)

(Photo: Getty)

I think we can all agree that sex is one of the greatest things ever, even better than eating the world's best-tasting slice of pizza when you’re totally shitfaced.


But listen, I don’t need to tell you that good sex, in conjunction with sloppy methods of contraception, can lead to unwanted babies. You, as a functioning member of society who has taken 5th grade biology, already know this.

That said, I’m still baffled by the sheer number of people who choose to ignore basic reproductive knowledge and elect to use terrible, half-baked methods of birth control. For instance, some people feel it’s a good idea to use the “lunar phase method” and use the fucking moon as birth control, while some people even use Ziploc bags as makeshift condoms. Oh. My. God.


But despite the small yet mighty population of people who use really bad methods of contraception to avoid getting their girlfriend pregnant, the greater majority of people are wise and use condoms. Hooray! Good for those of you who use condoms. I applaud your prudence, even if they're not always the most fun things to wear. Fact is, they're still the best thing to prevent STDs with random partners aside from just not having sex to begin with.

But according a survey from the CDC, the second most popular method of birth control is pulling out, with 60 percent of those in the surveyed sample saying they do indeed possess the willpower to pull out right before they come. Oh, no. Come on, people. You should know better than that.


First of all, the pullout method reportedly has a pretty high failure rate. Research published by Planned Parenthood found that 27 percent of women who use this method will eventually get pregnant. 

Though truth be told, the Huffington Post recently cited other studies which might indicate Planned Parenthood's numbers are on the high side, and that there might not be a huge difference in pulling out vs. condoms after all:

But perhaps surprisingly, research indicates that pulling out is about as effective as condoms at preventing pregnancies — though of course, not sexually transmitted infections. The perfect-use failure rate for condoms is around 3 percent; for withdrawal, it’s 4 percent.

One investigation found that 18 percent of couples who use withdrawal for a year will get pregnant, compared to 17 percent among couples who use condoms, although Planned Parenthood puts the chances of pregnancy higher, saying that 27 out of 100 women whose partners use withdrawal will get pregnant.

Of course, neither method comes close being as effective as the birth control pill or IUD, but the numbers do suggest that pulling out suffers from an unfairly negative reputation.

OK, so that's maybe one for the pull-out posse. 

Meanwhile, research from Duke University revealed that one in three women between the ages of 15 and 24 uses the pullout method as their primary form of birth control, which is pretty alarming. No wonder the teen pregnancy rate in the U.S. is higher than in any other developed country 


Considering how many women end up with a bun in the oven after using the pullout method, it just blows my mind that it's still the second most common form of birth control -- even more popular the pill, which only 56 percent of women use as their primary method of contraception.

And since so many young people these days are pulling out instead of using smarter methods of birth control, millennials are actually being labeled “The Pullout Generation.” What a nice name, huh?

So, yeah, withdrawal isn’t nearly as effective as other methods of birth control, such as condoms, because:
1) Self control is difficult.
2) Live sperm live in pre-cum, so you still might knock her up even if you successfully pull out in time. 

Nonetheless, Planned Parenthood would like to point out that even though pulling out is a gamble, it's better than nothing.