Coitus interruptus

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Coitus interruptus, also known as withdrawal or the pull-out method, is a birth-control technique in which a man withdraws his penis from a woman prior to ejaculation during intercourse, with the semen being ejaculated away from the vagina.

It has been widely used for at least two millennia as a method of contraception, and is still in use today. This method was used by an estimated thirty-eight million couples worldwide in 1991.[1] Withdrawal does not protect against STDs or STIs. Medical professionals view withdrawal as an ineffective method of birth control for adolescents. [2]

Contents

History

Perhaps the oldest documentation of the use of the withdrawal method to avoid pregnancy is the story of Onan in the Torah. This text is believed to have been written down over 2,500 years ago.[3] Societies in the ancient civilizations of Greece and Rome preferred small families and are known to have practiced a variety of birth control methods.[4]:12,16-17 There are references that have led historians to believe withdrawal was sometimes used as birth control.[5] However, these societies viewed birth control as a woman's responsibility, and the only well-documented contraception methods were female-controlled devices (both possibly effective, such as pessaries, and ineffective, such as amulets).[4]:17,23

After the decline of the Roman Empire in the 5th century, contraceptive practices fell out of use in Europe; the use of contraceptive pessaries, for example, is not documented again until the 15th century. If withdrawal were used during the Roman Empire, knowledge of the practice may have been lost during its decline.[4]:33,42 A contributing factor to the loss of contraceptive knowledge was the rise of Catholocism, which considered all forms of birth-control to be sins.[4]:35,37

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