Some 60% of women use withdrawal as a form of birth control at some time. Here are some things you should know.
A recent study suggests that some men (41%) leak sperm in the pre-ejaculatory fluid and some don’t. Researchers had young men masturbate and put the tip of their penis on a petri dish to collect any fluid released before ejaculation. They then collected a sample of actual ejaculate.
Some of the men repeated this after a few days up to five times. The men who had sperm in a sample of their pre-ejaculate (also known as pre-cum) always did. Those whose pre-cum didn’t contain sperm never produced a sample that did.
So does your man leak sperm beforehand or not?
You could do like the scientists and get out your microscope at 400x and check. Or just stay on the safe side and always use a condom or other method from first genital contact.
Another study suggests that coitus interruptus is about as effective as condoms. They found that with perfect use (you know, where you have sex like a science experiment) withdrawal results in pregnancy about 4% of the time.
Condoms, with perfect use, result in pregnancy about 3% of the time. Of course, in real life, people who use only withdrawal or only condoms get pregnant 18% and 17% of the time, respectively. Not as great as perfect use, for sure.
For a long time, we taught and assumed that there was no sperm in pre-ejaculatory fluid. As a biological product, there shouldn’t be. The pre-cum is heavy on sugar and zinc to help speed the swimmers along once they finally come down the pike. There shouldn’t be a physiological release of semen before ejaculation.
Sex educators have long pointed out that if a man has recently ejaculated, there may be viable sperm left in the shaft that could be swept out with the pre-cum. However, the study that showed that some men do always release sperm before ejaculation looked at days of abstinence.
Even men who hadn’t ejaculated for 4-7 days were releasing sperm early. So leftovers getting swept out can’t be the only explanation.
One possible hangup is that the collection methods weren’t perfect in this study.
Because it’s hard to masturbate in front of a scientist, the researchers don’t know for sure what the men submitted.
After collecting the small amount of pre-cum fluid on the petri dish by wiping their penis on it, they were supposed to go on to finish and collect that as well. Men who had sperm in their pre-ejaculate had roughly the same concentration in their actual ejaculate.
Is it possible some of the men gave the researchers two samples of actual ejaculate to avoid embarrassment?
If you and your partner use withdrawal and you really, really don’t want to get pregnant, you’re probably also using another method. If not, consider that it’s possible your man is the kind of guy who leaks millions of sperm before he gets close to orgasm.