Can my girlfriend get pregnant if we’re using the pull out method?

Great question! The short answer is yes—your girlfriend could still get pregnant.

For those who don’t know, the pull out method (also called withdrawal or coitus interruptus) is when someone pulls out their penis before ejaculating (or coming) inside of their partner, usually to try to avoid pregnancy.

Unfortunately, the pull out method is NOT a reliable form of birth control. It is very difficult for anyone to use this method. You need to be able to tell when you are close to having an orgasm (or coming) AND have the self-control to stop having sex then. The pull out method is especially hard (pun definitely intended) for young people, because they’re not that familiar with their bodies yet.

On top of that, pre-ejaculatory fluid, or pre-cum (the fluid that leaks from the penis before ejaculation), can contain sperm. So even if you use this method perfectly, every single time, your girlfriend could STILL get pregnant.

The risk just isn’t worth it. Talk to your girlfriend about using a different, reliable form of birth control. We talk more about all the different methods available here. Be supportive, but keep in mind that the birth control method is ultimately her choice, because it’s her body.

Also remember that none of these methods protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). For that, you and your girlfriend need to get regularly tested for STIs, AND use condoms (the right way, every single time).

In addition to the risk of pregnancy and STIs, why would you add more stress to both your lives? Using the pull out method means you have to worry about when you’re going to come and whether your girlfriend will get pregnant. Sex without stress is better sex! Don’t cheat yourself out of that enjoyment and intimacy.

Part of being sexually healthy is being proactive about taking care of yourself AND your partner. If you live near NYC, you and your girlfriend can come to Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center for free, confidential STI testing and treatment, birth control, and condoms. Our health care providers will also answer any questions you have about sexual health and general wellness.