By Julie Coker
My girlfriend doesn’t like condoms. She prefers sex naturally without any artificiality. We have begun having sex recently. The first few times we did, we used condoms. But she doesn’t feel good with it. She said she prefers to feel me. Lately, we stopped using it. I always pull out before I come. Is this still safe? Is it safe to re-enter after this? I will appreciate all the help. Thanks.
I want to understand the problem here. Is it sexually transmitted infections (STIs), pregnancy, or both? In the case of STIs, the answer is a resounding NO! Pulling out, or withdrawal, isn’t an effective method of STI prevention because most disease-causing microorganisms don’t depend on ejaculation for transmission. A condom will only help prevent the spread of STIs if you put it on before sex and leave it on the entire time you are having sex.
If both of you have been tested before you started having sex with each other, you may not be concerned about STIs. If you haven’t been tested you may want to consider doing so.
As a primary means of pregnancy prevention, withdrawal has several disadvantages. First, there’s the pre-ejaculatory fluid on which the withdrawal method has no effect since it’s released well before you ejaculate. Pre-ejaculate itself doesn’t contain sperm, however it may pick up sperm left in the urethra from a previous ejaculation, and thus, re-inserting your penis after ejaculation (outside of the vagina) does present a risk of pregnancy. Next, and what perhaps has even more of an impact on the effectiveness of the method, is the issue of consistency and self-control. Can you use the withdrawal method correctly and consistently each time you have sex? If not, then you might want to think about whether this method is right for you. Of course, you do have the option of emergency contraception.
Withdrawal does have its advantages. It’s free and always available. Second, no side effects are associated with this form of contraception. The estimated failure rate for typical use is around 22 percent. When practiced perfectly, the failure rate is estimated to be around 4 percent. This means 4 to 22 women out of every 100 who use withdrawal as their contraceptive method get pregnant.
If you haven’t already, perhaps you and your girlfriend could talk about your concerns and work toward reaching a mutual decision on what form of contraception and/or safer sex you both want to use. Besides the issue of STIs, it’s best to talk about how willing you are to risk having to deal with a pregnancy and what either of you would do if a pregnancy occurred. Withdrawal is definitely less effective than, say, the birth control pill. But, if both of you are okay and comfortable with the risk involved, then you may decide that withdrawal is a good method for the two of you. To make a decision like this, it’s helpful to have as much information as possible.