Effective or not, the pull-out method sure has increased in popularity over the years.
According to a new study published by the National Center for Health Statistics, the use of the pull-out method amongst unmarried men in America has nearly doubled between 2002 and 2015.
In 2002, about 10% of unmarried men used the pull-out method, compared to 19% in 2015.
The study surveyed 3,700 unmarried men who have had sex in the past three months. Researchers found that the overall use of male contraceptive is increasing, though condom usage and vasectomy rates remained steady while the withdrawal method increased in usage.
Though it may be better than nothing, the pull-out method isn't nearly as effective as condoms, and doesn't protect against sexually transmitted infections. It can be effective when used perfectly — the catch, of course, being that it's difficult to use perfectly.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, users of the withdrawal method experience the highest rates of contraceptive failure, with 20% ending in pregnancy within a year. To put that into context, using a condom results in about 18 pregnancies in every 100 couples, and an average of nine out of every 100 women using the contraceptive pill get pregnant in a year.
Earlier this year, another study found that the pull-out method was also increasing in popularity amongst teens — which is even riskier, given that young people likely just beginning to learn about sex and their bodies, and are more likely to use the pull-out method incorrectly.
The takeaway from the NCHS study is that more men are taking responsibility for contraception, which isn't a bad thing. But as you know, withdrawal leaves quite a bit of room for error.
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