ASK AN OBGYN: Can I Get Pregnant (or AIDS) If My Man Pulls Out Beforehand?

Dear SuzyKnew,

My boyfriend and I are ready to have sex. I ask him to use a condom but he refuses. He says he wants me for the long haul and would risk getting me pregnant. I explain to him that I’m not ready to get pregnant and that I’d rather be married and in a committed, loving relationship first then have children. I grab the condom in his drawer and he stops me stating that his dick is too big for the condom. I explain again that I can’t do it without a condom. I ask if he’s willing to “pull out” but I’m nervous that I put it out there. I’m also a little suspicious because he’s so anti-condom! What are the risks of getting pregnant or getting an STD if a guy pulls out before ejaculating? 


Dear SuzyKnew Reader,

 You know your values and have set your goals.  I admire you for that.  So let me give you some facts to help you determine if using withdrawal as a birth control method is acceptable for you:

 Preventing Pregnancy:  Correct use of the withdrawal method requires that couples do not have sex or use a back-up method, such as condoms, on the days that the woman is fertile.  When used correctly (no unprotected sex on fertile days), four out of one hundred women will become pregnant- that’s a 4% chance.  Not so bad, right, but here’s the kicker…..the more typical couple using withdrawal as a birth control method has a 27% chance of pregnancy. 

Here is why. Withdrawal is not recommended for men who cannot sense consistently when ejaculation is about to occur or for those guys that ejaculate prematurely. This takes a lot of discipline, practice, and resolve.  Not typical characteristics for men in the heat of the moment.

Correct use also depends on the woman.   You need to know on which days you are fertile.  It may take several months of carefully tracking your periods on a calendar before you can accurately predict your fertile days.  Many women have wacky cycles that are hard to predict.

And perhaps most important, the withdrawal method requires full cooperation and communication between the sexual partners. This takes time to develop.

So please ask yourself these questions:

1)     Are your cycles consistent enough to predict your fertile and non-fertile days? 

2)     Does your partner have the self-control to withdrawal before ejaculating? 

3)     And finally, are you comfortable with the odds?  A 27% chance of pregnancy is something that most women are not willing to risk.

Getting HIV or another STI:

OK, this one is easy.  Withdrawal provides NO protection against ANY sexually transmitted infections.  Zero. Zip. Nada.

Final Thoughts:

From your recount of the conversation between you and this guy, I am concerned that he did not listen to you and your concerns.  You ask an excellent question- Why is he so anti-condom?  Yeah, I was wondering the same thing.  Your radar was up and I would counsel you to listen to your instincts and do not have unprotected sex with him until all your questions are answered.

Take good care.

S Brockman, a registered nurse with extensive experience working on reproductive health issues around the world, answers your women’s health questions. ASK AN OBGYN is not meant to replace consulting your ob/gyn or primary care provider.  Ask Ms. Brockman your question at


ASK AN OBGYN is not meant to be a substitute for your doctor or health care provider. Contact your provider with any health issues you may have.

3 responses on “ASK AN OBGYN: Can I Get Pregnant (or AIDS) If My Man Pulls Out Beforehand?

  1. Sash

    I know my cycle pretty well so I don’t use withdrawal nor rubber except seven days to my ovulation. 48 hours after my ovulation, we have a field day until my next period.

    That STIs and HIV answer was on point I loled. Yeah girl, just make sure you both are regularly tested and stay true to each other and everything gonna be aright! I we are on or 5th year and everything is so great like we began yesterday.

    P.S, sex is a crucial part of any relationship.

  2. Dee Mckay

    Couples who want to prevent pregnancy using periodic abstinence do not have vaginal intercourse during their “unsafe days” — the days during which the fertile phase may occur. Although they abstain from vaginal intercourse during the fertile days, they may enjoy other forms of sex play.