DefinitionBy Mayo Clinic staff
The withdrawal method of contraception, also known as coitus interruptus, is the practice of withdrawing the penis from the vagina and away from a woman's external genitals before ejaculation to prevent pregnancy. The withdrawal method helps prevent sperm from entering the vagina.
Using the withdrawal method for birth control requires self-control. Even then, the withdrawal method as typically used isn't an especially effective form of birth control. Sperm may enter the vagina if withdrawal isn't properly timed or if pre-ejaculation fluid contains sperm. The withdrawal method doesn't offer protection from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
- Hatcher RA, et al. Contraceptive Technology. 20th ed. New York, N.Y.: Ardent Media Inc.; 2011.
- Zieman M. Overview of contraception. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Feb. 2, 2012.
- Harms RW (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 6, 2012.