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Male withdrawal, also called coitus interruptus, requires a man to withdraw his penis from his partner's vagina prior to ejaculation. Withdrawal has been used as a contraceptive for centuries and can be effective in preventing pregnancy when clients are motivated and able to practice it correctly and consistently with every act of intercoursethat is, with perfect use. No medical condition restricts a client's eligibility for use of withdrawal. It does not affect breastfeeding, has no hormonal side effects, and can be used as a backup to other methods. Some characteristics of withdrawal are highlighted below.


4% to 19% failure rate during first year of typical use; 4% failure rate with perfect use in the first year

Age limitations         

No restrictions

Parity limitations

No restrictions

Mode of action

Prevents sperm from entering the vagina

Effect on STD risk

Not protective (not known)

Drug interaction


Duration of use

Most clients can use withdrawal safely throughout their reproductive years (if they are satisfied with the method and have no problems with it)

Return to fertility

Immediately upon discontinuation

Return to Contraceptive Method List

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