How Effective is the Withdrawal Method?

The withdrawal method, also known as coitus interruptus or onanism, is the oldest method of birth control. It got its name from Onan whose story is told in Genesis 38:8-10. In that story, Judah told Onan to marry his brother's wife and have sex with her. Knowing that the child would not be his, Onan withdrew his penis just before he ejaculated and spilled his semen on the ground. This displeased the Lord who killed him.

This is one of the most widely used family planning methods. The reasons for its popularity are safety and convenience. The withdrawal method requires no preparation and can be used anytime. Aside from this, it has no side effects since there is no need to take any medication or use any device. One study showed that this method is also popular among wives who are forced by drunken husbands to have sex.

But don't pin your hopes too high on this method. As a means of contraception, the withdrawal method is highly unreliable and frustrating to both sexes. The failure rate for coitus interruptus is 200 to 300 pregnancies per 1,000 women in a year. Some doctors, in fact, refer to it as the "Russian roulette" of birth control.

What makes the withdrawal the worst of the lot in family planning? First of all, it is difficult to enjoy sex if one is concerned about getting pregnant - which is what usually happens if the man fails to withdraw his penis on time. Controlling ejaculation is difficult especially for younger men. Some men may not know when to withdraw while others may decide not to do so at all.

"The withdrawal method goes against human nature and the laws of physics. At the moment of greatest sexual excitement, it requires a cool head and a good aim. As far as physics is concerned, it compels the man to go backward when he wants to plunge forward, to stop when he wants to really get started, and to subtract when he wants to add," according to Dr. David Reuben, a noted California psychiatrist in "Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask)."

"It also makes the woman feel left out. At the moment of impending orgasm, she is jolted back to reality as five or six jets of hot semen are sprayed on her tummy. Not exactly ecstasy," Reuben added. (Next: Can breastfeeding prevent pregnancy?)

To enjoy sex in your later years, keep fit, eat right and love life. That simple advice can go a long way in preserving your sex life. For extra help, take Fematril, a safe and natural female sexual enhancer that can stimulate your mind and body. For details, go to
Sharon Bell is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and published author. Many of her insightful articles can be found at the premier online news magazine

By Sharon A Bell
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