Pulling Out: Not My Birth Control

Let’s be real: sex in the media is not at all what sex is like in real life. Sex between two young people in movies and on tv is so far from realistic. There’s no uncomfortable, but necessary talk beforehand, no awkward “trying to look good while taking off my clothes,” and, unsurprisingly, there are no condoms.

The lack of condoms in the media has a negative influence on young people and what sex is supposed to be like. We’re taught that sex is smooth sailing, without any hiccups or pauses. Rarely do we ever see someone pull out a condom. In recent years, the dangerous concept of “pulling out” as birth control has increased in young people’s sexual habits, and many aren’t talking about it.


“Pulling out” is the method of not using a condom during sex and pulling out before ejaculation. It’s definitely easy to get caught up in the moment and not want to “ruin the mood” by bringing out a condom, or asking to use one. It’s also very easy to get so caught up in the moment that the pulling out doesn’t happen fast enough, leading to the risk of unintended pregnancy. Pre-ejaculatory fluid is also at risk for having “left over” sperm in it from a previous ejaculation. Though this isn’t common, it is a possibility.

There are situations where pulling out can be safer. When paired with a hormonal birth control method or a barrier method, like a condom, pulling out can help reduce the risk of pregnancy.

Aside from pregnancy, using the pull out method can encourage the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). STIs are spread when people engage in sexual activity with others without using a barrier method, like condoms or dental dams. Many young people have STIs without knowing it, being they often have no symptoms. Neglecting the use of a condom encourages the spread of STIs in youth, which can lead to long term health issues when left untreated.

The potential risk for an unintended pregnancy or the spread of STIs due to pulling out is too high to be reliable. Now that there are so many hormonal birth control methods and barrier options available to keep people who are sexually active safe, pulling out isn’t necessary anymore. Pausing to use a condom might not be the sexiest thing in the world, but having sex stress-free sure is.