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Withdrawal Method Finds Ally
September 2, 2010 9:28 PM   Subscribe


 
Anecdata: both of the girls I know who have relied exclusively on this method of contraception have gotten pregnant withn the last year.
posted by hermitosis at 9:32 PM on September 2, 2010 [11 favorites]


If I've said it once, I've said it a million times -- pulling out gets the shaft.
posted by Capt. Renault at 9:32 PM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


If.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:33 PM on September 2, 2010 [28 favorites]


I like how this is phrased. If a specific guy withdraws, 4% of all couples will become pregnant regardless of other factors.
posted by doublehappy at 9:36 PM on September 2, 2010 [21 favorites]


In my experience, withdrawal works just as well as condoms. It's also more exciting and gives you something to talk about afterwards-- and all month long.
posted by Wayman Tisdale at 9:36 PM on September 2, 2010 [72 favorites]


I believe I may be a product of this method of contraception.
posted by Artw at 9:36 PM on September 2, 2010 [10 favorites]


Some educators and physicians said they worried that putting out a message that withdrawal is effective would just give teenagers encouragement to have unprotected sex. And many underscored what the authors themselves point out: that unlike condoms, withdrawal does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases, a strong reason to encourage condoms.

This seems like a pretty capital-I Important Point to stress.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 9:37 PM on September 2, 2010 [25 favorites]


I'll stick to using condoms.
posted by Evernix at 9:37 PM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'll stick to sleeping with women and being a hard boiled alkie - because apparently that will also ensure that I live longer than my perfectly sober pals.

(I read the news today, oh boy..)
posted by armisme at 9:43 PM on September 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


The problem with withdrawal is that the guy doesn't always pull out in time.

Condoms are more reliable because they don't require super-human self control on the part of the man.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:44 PM on September 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


I don't use withdrawal for birth control, but for spectacle.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:49 PM on September 2, 2010 [74 favorites]


Does condom + withdraw = 1%?

So what?! I'm paranoid
posted by zephyr_words at 9:51 PM on September 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


For condoms, used optimally, the rate is about 2 percent. But more significant, the authors say, are the rates for “typical use,” because people can’t be expected to use any contraception method perfectly every time. Typical use of withdrawal leads to pregnancy 18 percent of the time, they write; for typical use of condoms 17 percent. of the time.

So according to them condoms result in pregrancies roughly 1 in 5 times? I find that rather dubious.
posted by Artw at 9:54 PM on September 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Seems no-one can resist the jokes on this topic. The American Prospect had an award-winning article on withdrawal as contraception last year. The title - Exit Strategy.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 9:56 PM on September 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


So according to them condoms result in pregrancies roughly 1 in 5 times? I find that rather dubious.

These figures are for a couple having sex for an entire year, i.e. a statistically average couple relying on condoms in typical use will experience a pregnancy 1 out of every 5 years.

I'd be curious about how they control for the correlation of birth control method choice against the frequency of sex - presumably couples with more frequent sex should be more inclined to choose methods with zero incremental cost per encounter, skewing the statistics against hormonal/reusable barrier methods and toward disposable barrier methods.
posted by 0xFCAF at 9:59 PM on September 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


MetaTeaparty? The dumb, it hurts.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:01 PM on September 2, 2010


I don't use withdrawal for birth control, but for spectacle.

Spectacles can also be a good form of birth control. Tough to see what you're doing without them.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:07 PM on September 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


In my experience, withdrawal works just as well as condoms. It's also more exciting and gives you something to talk about afterwards-- and all month long.

Yeah. Seems more difficult. But apparently condoms are hard to use too. I guess if you're smart, condoms aren't a problem. But then it seems like you should be able to handle withdrawal as well.
posted by delmoi at 10:09 PM on September 2, 2010


for typical use of condoms 17 percent. of the time.

Can someone calculate the number of children I have by now? If this probability is anywhere near reality, I probably qualify for a Guinness record by now, or at least some kind of state support.
posted by Dr Dracator at 10:10 PM on September 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


During the 5 or so years I was dating my then-girlfriend (and current wife), we used the pullout method almost exclusively. Turned out she was as turned off with condoms as I was, and I've always had excellent, ahem, control, so pullout we did. For five years, and there was nary a problem*.

*Except for that one time when my timing was just a wee bit off and I thought that maybe some of my boys ended up staying with her (but still in a rather shallow location, not anywhere the endzone or anything, but still), and about three weeks later--on vacation, no less--she's puzzled that her monthly visitor is late. And the next day, and the next day. It's late the next day, too, and I'm on the beach and supposed to be relaxing but now I'm convinced that my timing was bad that time and I'm about to be a dad and oh shit it's too soon and how am I gonna do this. And the next day her visitor came. Then I was able to enjoy my vacation.

After getting married, once we started trying to have a child, that only took a couple of months. Maybe my technique is good, after all.
posted by zardoz at 10:11 PM on September 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


No one's going to complain about the article being a year old?
posted by John Cohen at 10:19 PM on September 2, 2010


I wonder if Iraq will get pregnant.
posted by doublehappy at 10:26 PM on September 2, 2010 [21 favorites]


Spectacles can also be a good form of birth control.


They hand out hideously ugly tortoiseshell spectacles in the Army -- they're known affectionately as "Birth Control Glasses" or "BCGs."

But maybe that wasn't what you meant.
posted by thehandsomecamel at 10:28 PM on September 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


I was going to say that this was old news, and then saw that the NYTimes article was from 2009. I'm pretty sure I linked it here at some point in a comment way back when; if not me, someone else did instead.

But yeah, I think that this is still really interesting. There's that old joke (Q: What do you call people who use withdrawal? A: Parents) and then there's the real-world math, which says that withdrawal and condoms end up pretty much equal in terms of pregnancies.

A lot of that hinges on "typical use," which for condoms often means "didn't put it on at all." For many people, in many situations, condoms seriously suck. They feel crappy, they smell and taste crappy, they interrupt the action, and it's seriously exciting to not use one when you know you should be using one.

For non-typical use (meaning, using one every time for the entirety of intercourse), condoms obviously work pretty well. But the reality is that they are awful enough for enough people that "typical use" throws that out the window.

Years ago Em Taylor in nerve.com wrote a really honest and powerful piece about not using condoms despite knowing she should be. Now it appears to be behind a pay wall (the link is at the bottom of this page), but I remember it vividly. There's the Right Answer (wrap it up, every time) and there's what people really do, which is to take risks because it feels better and mostly works out pretty much the same.

The interesting thing about this research is in being clear about what risks are being taken and what aren't. Withdrawal takes pregnancy off the table about as much as condoms do -- but does nothing for STDs. But then, STDs follow social networks, and your risk is going to depend tremendously on the demographics of your sexual partners.
posted by Forktine at 10:29 PM on September 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


In the year since this article was written I've statistically fathered 23 children.
posted by item at 10:30 PM on September 2, 2010 [7 favorites]


Everyone knows what you call people who use withdrawal as a contraceptive.
posted by wv kay in ga at 10:30 PM on September 2, 2010


Statistical Children was the name of my generic pub-rock band back in the 70's.
posted by item at 10:33 PM on September 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


A decade or so ago I worked for a Catholic NGO in a desperately poor little country with terrifyingly high rates of HIV. I taught disabled slum kids. Some of them found it necessary to earn their families' incomes through sex work. Others were married, or planning on getting married, and really could have used a little education about birth control. But, given the religious position of the organization, it was absolutely off limits for me to mention anything except abstinence.

One day, in a fit of frustration and anger, I took this up with my boss (who was a priest). He hmmmed and hawwed a little, then provided the diplomatic but entirely unsatisfying response "I know that for people with no other joys in their lives except sex and raising children, it must be incredibly hard to pursue abstinence as a birth control method, but we try to follow what we believe is god's will, and we ask that you do the same." I had a bit of a hissy fit about HIV and stomped out of his office.

A few days later, I was visiting one of my student's families, and I saw a nun from the organisation pulling up outside a brothel down the road. I wandered over, and asked what she was doing with the enormous box of condoms that she was untying from her bike rack. She managed to simultaneously glare and grin, and said (in a classic Irish nun accent) "You know, Ahab, sometimes hell is the lesser of two evils..."

(off topic, I know, but I've been wanting to tell someone that story for 11 years now.)
posted by Ahab at 10:34 PM on September 2, 2010 [244 favorites]


Typical use of withdrawal leads to pregnancy 18 percent of the time, they write; for typical use of condoms 17 percent of the time.

How is "typical use" for a condom, withdrawal, abstinence, and the pill defined? Is it in terms of "failed to use it 1 out of every X times", or in terms of "oops, it wasn't quite on properly and there's some semen leaking out the base"? I've never had a clear idea, and when I see the latter situation I'm worried that the statistics there are leaning ominously towards the preggers side of things.
posted by pengu at 10:44 PM on September 2, 2010


> Everyone knows what you call people who use withdrawal as a contraceptive.

?
posted by Burhanistan at 10:47 PM on September 2, 2010


Astro Zombie: "I don't use withdrawal for birth control, but for spectacle."

Unless your man-gravy has glitter in it, I find that hard to believe.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 10:54 PM on September 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sure, pulling out is all fun and games until somebody loses an eye it hits the cat.
posted by turgid dahlia at 10:59 PM on September 2, 2010 [14 favorites]


One can hardly call it "condom use" if the stupid fuckers don't actually USE the condom. Condoms are a shitton better than withdrawal for everyone except dumbfucks who don't use them.

Honest to god, this FPP/article is strictly batshitinsane conservative bullshit aimed at undercutting the progress our society has made toward encouraging safer sex and reducing the potential negative consequences of teen sex, vis a vis pregnancy and STDs.

People who promote a "withdrawal is as good as a condom" meme are sociopathic.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:00 PM on September 2, 2010 [20 favorites]


How is "typical use" for a condom, withdrawal, abstinence, and the pill defined?

It's defined as real-world use: "Researchers have two different ways of measuring the effectiveness of contraceptive methods. "Perfect use" measures the effectiveness when a contraceptive is used exactly according to clinical guidelines. In contrast, "typical use" measures how effective a method is for the average person who does not always use the method correctly or consistently." citation

And, for those interested, I found an archived copy of the nerve.com article I remembered from back in 2001 (link):

I'm unable to will myself into taking precautions because I feel so safe — and I wonder sometimes if I'm willing sex to be more dangerous. It's embarrassingly trite: unsafe sex is driving ninety without a seatbelt, swimming in a lightning storm, cheating on your boyfriend. It's sex that keeps secrets but no rules.
posted by Forktine at 11:10 PM on September 2, 2010



People who promote a "withdrawal is as good as a condom" meme are sociopathic.


Does the epidemiology lie? The numbers (from believable sources) say that both typical use and perfect use pregnancy rates are very close between condoms and withdrawal, which makes sense when you realize that both methods are pretty good at keeping sperm away from the eggs (and are equally bad at doing so when used poorly).

And what no one disputes is that withdrawal, like the pill, diaphragm, sponge, vasectomies, and other methods used by the majority of people, does nothing to prevent STDs.

And yet, whenever this comes up, the reactions (like yours) are incredibly heated. I think it's worth taking a step back and thinking about why so many of us feel so strongly and yet often don't use condoms consistently in our own lives.
posted by Forktine at 11:18 PM on September 2, 2010 [8 favorites]


Everyone knows what you call people who use withdrawal as a contraceptive.

Anonymous (on Ask Metafilter, at least).
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:21 PM on September 2, 2010 [15 favorites]


The numbers (from believable sources) say that both typical use and perfect use pregnancy rates are very close

Close in that they're both low percentages, but in comparison, the perfect use of condoms is twice as effective as perfect withdrawal - a 2% pregnancy rate over one year vs. 4%.
posted by zippy at 11:33 PM on September 2, 2010 [2 favorites]



Everyone knows what you call people who use withdrawal as a contraceptive.

Mom and Dad?
posted by oneirodynia at 11:52 PM on September 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


Everyone knows what you call people who use withdrawal as a contraceptive.

?


Parents.
posted by Evilspork at 11:52 PM on September 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty certain that as competance decreases the chances of success for all possible kinds of contraception flatten out.
posted by Artw at 12:47 AM on September 3, 2010


So is it "withdrawal is as good as condoms" or "if you don't use them (properly) condoms are no better than withdrawal"? I can accept the statistics but I don't feel like the take away is that I might as well just use withdrawal.
posted by adamt at 12:54 AM on September 3, 2010


Withdrawal would be equally as effective as using the condom as a novelty hat, yes.

Interestingly if you google the "typical" faliure rates everyone else seems to give 14% for condoms and 27% for withdrawral, so possibly this study is a bit of an outlier?
posted by Artw at 1:01 AM on September 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm pretty certain that as competance decreases the chances of success for all possible kinds of contraception flatten out.

Agreed. I seriously doubt that these people who can't use condoms properly are capable of pulling out with perfect timing despite their limbic systems demanding GET PRAGNENT.
posted by benzenedream at 1:26 AM on September 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Still seems like there's some details missing in that definition of "typical use". Is it basically: we ask people what they use and if they say "condom" we call that "using a condom"?

So typical use of a condom includes completely lying to a survey because you're embarrassed about never using any birth control at all?
posted by Wood at 1:32 AM on September 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


Everyone knows what you call people who use withdrawal as a contraceptive.

Patients?
posted by pracowity at 2:49 AM on September 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Everyone knows what you call people who use withdrawal as a contraceptive.

Optimists?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:01 AM on September 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


I use it as a noun.
posted by doublehappy at 3:13 AM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


turgid dahlia: "Sure, pulling out is all fun and games until somebody loses an eye it hits the cat."

If that's the case, either the cat is way too curious (and too close), or someone's packing way too much meat.
posted by bwg at 4:24 AM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


how is babby formed? how girl get pragnent?
posted by mrzer0 at 4:48 AM on September 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


There are a lot of precumceived notions surrounding the effectiveness of the withdrawal method.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 5:24 AM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fun condom use trivia:
* Did you check that the condom's wrapper was unbreached? (the 'pillow test.')
* Did you check the expiration date on your condom?
* Did you successfully resist the urge to use your teeth to open the wrapper?
* Did you 'pinch the tip?'
* Did you have unprotected contact before putting the condom on without also meeting the standards for perfect use of withdrawl?
* Did you hold the base of the condom during withdrawl?

If you answered 'no' to any of these questions, you may well qualify as 'typical use;' this is clearly more complicated than just putting the thing on.

Withdrawal, because of the STD factor, shouldn't be recommended as a method for teenagers or situations involving multiple partners. But for long-term monogamous relationships, I think it definitely makes sense to put withdrawal on the list of birth control options to be considered, especially if hormonal birth control has been ruled out for one reason or another.

FWIW, my understanding is that the perfect-use case for withdrawal consists of the following:
1) The obvious one.
2) Between encounters, the penis should be cleaned with soap (to remove any lingering sperm) and a piss should be taken (also to remove any lingering sperm). One should also wash anything else (hands, massive dildoes, etc) that came in contact with sperm.

There's also a great deal of variation between people that makes withdrawal more or less safe. For example, people who suffer premature ejaculation should probably pick another method. Same goes for anyone who can't keep self control, for that matter...

One can also combine condom use or withdrawal with a fertility awareness method, and simply avoid penetrative sex during the more fertile times of the month. The 'Standard Days' method shows a 12% typical use failure rate (via wikipedia), so it certainly wouldn't hurt to combine it with another method(s).
posted by kaibutsu at 5:25 AM on September 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


None of these "per year" numbers mean anything without knowing the number of times the couple has sex a year. I can easily imagine that there could be demographic factors skewing the results - maybe people who withdraw are more likely to only have sex a few times a year, or maybe condom users have more frequent sex. Perhaps I should take that to AskMe.
posted by fermezporte at 5:27 AM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Withdrawal in disgust is not the same as apathy."
posted by swift at 5:43 AM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the study's reporting strategy shares a lot with this not-uncommon scenario from the OB-GYN's office.

OB-GYN: [various physician-ly topics]....and the results of the re-test, as well as your physical exam, do indicate that you are currently pregnant.

Young woman: [distraught] I don't understand--I can't be pregnant! I use birth control! This can't be happening!

OB-GYN: [gently] Birth control can fail, even in perfect use situations, and that may have been the case here. May I ask what form of contraception you've been using?

Young woman: ..............................

[............]

[...........]

Young woman: ...........er, condoms?

OB-GYN: ....I see.


Reactions are strong in this thread not because people don't understand that condoms aren't the be-all and end-all of contraception. Reactions are strong because the fact that something is less-than-ideal may be a reason for eschewing it altogether, but it doesn't negate the risk of the choice. Does it make someone less deserving of empathy when the risk turns out to be less negligible than it seemed in the moment? I don't think so. I understand why they are taking that risk.

That being said, the '4%' only looks small from a distance and in the abstract. Assuming those are true, one out of 25 and one out of fifty are very different beasts if you put your life directly on the line. It's a great litmus test, I think. If I explain to a potential partner that the hormonal shifts that occur in pregnancy are life-threatening, or at the very least threaten my ability to keep my job/other legal ramifications, and he hands me the statistics about withdrawal in an attempt to convince me that they aren't THAT much riskier than condoms, well...he can see himself out.

I don't like my medications, but I don't opt out of those because the risk that I might die without them on any given day is not very high.
posted by Sandford Police Service at 5:50 AM on September 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


All you kids out there who may be reading this thread might be getting the wrong message. I want you to sit down and listen to your wise old uncle ND¢. Only one method of birth control is 100% effective at preventing pregnancy and its the only responsible choice for those serious about their sexual health and that of their partner. Anal.
posted by ND¢ at 6:20 AM on September 3, 2010 [21 favorites]


Everyone knows what you call people who use withdrawal as a contraceptive.

Good Christians?
posted by tbonicus at 6:22 AM on September 3, 2010


Pulling out sucks.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:37 AM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Only one method of birth control is 100% effective at preventing pregnancy and its the only responsible choice for those serious about their sexual health and that of their partner. Anal."

This is untrue in a few ways. First: Leakage can lead to pregnancy. Second: A hysterectomy or castration is actually 100%. As is actual abstinence though that tends to not be sexually fun.
posted by Mitheral at 6:41 AM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Only one method of birth control is 100% effective at preventing pregnancy and its the only responsible choice for those serious about their sexual health and that of their partner. Anal."

This is untrue in a few ways. First: Leakage can lead to pregnancy. Second: A hysterectomy or castration is actually 100%. As is actual abstinence though that tends to not be sexually fun.


When I was in a college improv/sketch comedy group, my best friend wrote a sketch called "Abstinence is Never the Answer" which was a PSA in which it was explained that death was the only sure form of birth control with testimonials. The first was a woman who explained that the condom broke and she had a baby, the next was a woman who had planned on getting an abortion but later realized they were illegal in her country, and the third had on a headscarf and began "When God got me pregnant and the angel came down and told me...", explaining that obviously abstinence wasn't going to cut it and, clearly, being dead was the only way to avoid pregnancy.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 6:49 AM on September 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Second: A hysterectomy or castration is actually 100%.

Yikes! How about vasectomy?
posted by John Cohen at 6:50 AM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Vasectomies have about condom-level failure rates, IIRC.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:51 AM on September 3, 2010


Abstinence perfect use is fine, but, like with most methods of birth control, has a much higher failure rate for typical use, where you occasionally don't follow the guidelines and instead have sex.


(It was very hard to write this without bad puns. Screw up, fuck up, do it wrong, etc.)
posted by jeather at 6:55 AM on September 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


jeather: (It was very hard to write this without bad puns. Screw up, fuck up, do it wrong, etc.)

Where's the fun in that?

I've got to agree with Forktine that when it comes to talking about these issues, relatively logical people tend to ignore their usual instincts and ignore actual facts/numbers, and I sometimes worry about how this muddies the big picture. The same is true with HIV education and the sexual phobias it can inspire. There's a not small chance you can get it if you have unsafe sex with an infected partner, but it's also a hard disease to catch, but because many people treat accidentally kissing some guy's dick in foreplay as the same as letting somebody fuck you up the ass, where the difference is very much not small.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:06 AM on September 3, 2010


Let's talk about typical use of monogamy, which is far from perfect.
posted by Galaxor Nebulon at 7:07 AM on September 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


Only one method of birth control is 100% effective at preventing pregnancy and its the only responsible choice for those serious about their sexual health and that of their partner. Anal.

Otherwise known as the "church camp special" or "saddlebacking."

Anyway, I think we would all be more relaxed about birth-control failure if our country wasn't so stupid about abortion, although the morning-after pills help too.

My mom maintained she was some kind of super-fertility goddess who got pregnant 4x despite using condoms (and w/ me, that foam stuff.) That hasn't been my and my sisters' experience, so I'm thinking she and Dad weren't "perfect" users and just got unlucky.

Or else they went at it so much they increased the odds. But I'm not going to think about that. Lalalalalala.....
posted by emjaybee at 7:11 AM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Honest to god, this FPP/article is strictly batshitinsane conservative bullshit

I thought the original study was done by the Guttmacher Institute? The fallout from this study shouldn't be, "Don't use condoms." It should be, "If women are in a situation where withdrawal is their only option for birth control... well, it's not that bad."
posted by muddgirl at 7:31 AM on September 3, 2010


Pope Guilty: "Vasectomies have about condom-level failure rates, IIRC."

Vascectomy failure rate is 1% vs. the above mentioned 2% for condoms.

Plus, after the vascectomy procedure, you get tested (twice) to make sure the boys aren't still swimming.
posted by I am the Walrus at 7:32 AM on September 3, 2010


I can tell you EXACTLY where the 4% comes from (pun not intended).

If a guy wanks a few hours before sex, leftover sperm live in the urethra. If he has sex later, even if he withdraws, there is the possibility of conception by precum which is spermless unless it picks up something in the urethra on the way through. One way to prevent this is by urinating between ejaculation and copulation.

So, in my opinion, if the withdrawal method is used properly (by not accidentally going over the edge and urinating sometime between wank and skank) it is 99.99% effective. Granted, the 0.01% is my own paranoia....

Additional tip: If you have been doing your business for 30 minutes or more, you'll make enough precum to lube up the parts for another 30.

Seemingly unrelated sidenote: When I threw out my back, my wife got the incorrect impression I was some sort of stallion thanks to a hefty scrip of hydrocodone. The extra stamina had its plusses (see above) and minues (see below).

Lastly: No point in withdrawal if the gun won't go off, anyhow.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 7:34 AM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Plus, that 1% failure rate for vascetomies probably covers "typical use" (i.e. whip it out, stick it in) vs. the condom above mentioned "typical use" failure rate of 17%.
posted by I am the Walrus at 7:34 AM on September 3, 2010


Otherwise known as the "church camp special"

You know there was that AskMe question recently about what things should I experience now because they aren't going to be around much longer, and nobody mentioned that surely endangered species: religious girls who will do nothing other than have anal sex because they want to maintain their "virginity." We like to think we are making the world a better place through all of our progress and enlightenment, but what kind of world are we passing along to our children where they will never know a girl who thinks God will punish her for having vaginal intercourse but is okay with her taking it in the pooper? Can that truly be described as living if you exist in a world where those wonderful magical batshitinsane creatures don't roam the land trying to make their prematurely mustachioed boyfriends happy the best way they know how? I am going to start a foundation to save the crazy religious girls who have exclusively anal sex so they can stay virgins. They are the last of the real life unicorns and they must be protected. Won't you contribute?
posted by ND¢ at 7:43 AM on September 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


Sure, condoms are a pain at the beginning of sex and the feeling is reduced (not always a bad thing) but pulling out sounds like a really good way *to ruin the best part*. Not to mention I have a feeling you're not planning on going down on all that pre-cum, so I hope your lady got her orgasm ahead of time (unlikely timing for typical couples, since women take longer to orgasm on average). Then again, I never understood why hetero guys like moneyshot porn, either.
posted by Skwirl at 8:04 AM on September 3, 2010


The 17% figure is not for typical condom use. It is for typical condom *misuse* and of course it has the same failure rate as withdrawal: it *is* withdrawal.

"I forgot to put it on/I broke it/I can't find it! Well, don't worry, I'll just pull out!"

Stupid is as stupid does.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:10 AM on September 3, 2010


Not to mention I have a feeling you're not planning on going down on all that pre-cum

I've been thinking about this recently, since the Dan Savage column where someone asked if their girlfriend was kinky because she wanted him to go down on her after they'd have penetrative sex without a condom. Dude? Do some guys really think, "Man, I love me some vagina, but if some of my sperm is in there, NO WAY am I putting my mouth down there!"

Eating your own ejaculate will not make you gay.
posted by muddgirl at 8:27 AM on September 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm seeing correlations between recent posts that do not befit a person of my maturity:

« Older Q: Does stretching before running prevent injury? ... | 95 snakes found in bag at Mala... Newer »



Now to pretend to be mature for a moment, I'd just like to say: There are many good reasons to encourage condom use that have nothing to do with their performance when compared to pulling out.
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:28 AM on September 3, 2010


At the risk of a horrible derail, I do wonder if the American horror at the idea of condoms is related to the prevalance of circumcision.
posted by Artw at 8:32 AM on September 3, 2010


I don't see the correlation. Never having been able to experience both options.
Go on? (He says, cringing somewhat.)
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:36 AM on September 3, 2010


Withdrawal as only bcm for 9 years and zero pregnancies.

Just call us perfect users.
posted by RedEmma at 8:37 AM on September 3, 2010


Oh, *before* ejaculation.
posted by Trochanter at 8:37 AM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


At the risk of a horrible derail, I do wonder if the American horror at the idea of condoms is related to the prevalance of circumcision.

Oh god what have you done?
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 8:39 AM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


This question appears on the newest version of the Miller Analogies Test
circumcision:Metafilter::Hitler:
a. Godwin
b. Nazis
c. cat declawing

Can someone help me with the answer?
posted by theora55 at 8:45 AM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


After klang's younger brother was birthed, Mrs. Bubba & I had as perfect a contraception plan as we could come up with--it's called tubal ligation. I volunteered for the snippage--I thought 2 c-sections was enough to ask of any woman (and believe me, I didn't ASK her to go through that), but she was concerned that vasectomy was not all that reliable compared to ligation, and as she said to the doc--"as long as you got everything open, might as well just tie 'er off!"

TMI? (klang, too soon?)
posted by beelzbubba at 8:45 AM on September 3, 2010


I do wonder if the American horror at the idea of condoms is related to the prevalance of circumcision.

I blame porn and the Catholic Church. ;)
posted by muddgirl at 8:45 AM on September 3, 2010


Do some guys really think, "Man, I love me some vagina, but if some of my sperm is in there, NO WAY am I putting my mouth down there!"

Ten bucks says that if you asked a group of random men how often they perform cunnilingus after ejaculation, the overwhelming answer will be never. There's a subset of guys who have a fetish for that (isn't it called something charming like snowballing or creampie eating?), and another subset of guys who are totally neutral on the subject, perhaps to the point of never having noticed whether they were licking up their own spooge. But most guys? Not into that.

I don't think it's so much "it'll make me gay" as it is a reaction to specific kinds of contact with one's own bodily fluids, and covers a lot more than just ejaculate. Kissing after oral sex is a big no-no for a lot of people, for example, and many women are appalled at the idea of intercourse during their period. Irrational and contradictory, maybe, but it's the way people are.
posted by Forktine at 8:50 AM on September 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


A lot of this debate comes down to an argument over whether sex education should be paternalistic and prescriptive, or should provide accurate, non-biased information with the faith that people will make choices that make sense to them in their current contexts.
posted by serazin at 8:52 AM on September 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


But most guys? Not into that.

This sounds really irrational to me. Especially since, I've been told by several male Mefites, ejaculate is precious and any rejection of their ejaculate from any surface or orifice is tantamount to rejecting them.
posted by muddgirl at 9:00 AM on September 3, 2010


This sounds really irrational to me. Especially since, I've been told by several male Mefites, ejaculate is precious and any rejection of their ejaculate from any surface or orifice is tantamount to rejecting them.

Not to mention that since they just put their face "down there," it seems somewhat hypocritical and insulting to be horrified at the idea of a kiss. ;) They were drinking from the tap, so to speak, and you're afraid of a bit of trace material?

Wow. Nice derail. ;)
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:05 AM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not, actually. I think that people who don't kiss after oral sex are equally irrational.
posted by muddgirl at 9:13 AM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sex during menstruation can be a differnent issue, though - it could be an irrational distaste for blood (which seems common to most people), it could be a religious or cultural taboo specifically against menstrual blood (which I struggle to conquer), or it could just be that menstrual blood is hella messy, even compared to regular old ejaculate.
posted by muddgirl at 9:15 AM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]




I'm not, actually. I think that people who don't kiss after oral sex are equally irrational.


Sorry, that was a generic "your" and not aimed at you. I think we're in agreement.
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:24 AM on September 3, 2010


Or a generic "you're" rather.

...I'm leaving. ;)
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:25 AM on September 3, 2010


What you want is a Texas virgin.
posted by longbaugh at 9:32 AM on September 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Some people feel comfortable telling other people what they should or should not enjoy doing sexually. Some people talk as if sexual desire is supposed to be rational. These people need to stop worrying about what other people like to do in bed. There is someone for every person and every taste. As long as no one gets hurt (involuntarily), there's no harm done.
posted by pracowity at 9:36 AM on September 3, 2010


You're right, pracowity, sexual desire isn't rational. That's why I don't think it's kinky to ask a guy to go down on me after penetrative sex. Apparently some guys disagree. I guess I should shut up and be glad I didn't marry one of 'em.
posted by muddgirl at 9:40 AM on September 3, 2010


Especially since, I've been told by several male Mefites, ejaculate is precious and any rejection of their ejaculate from any surface or orifice is tantamount to rejecting them.

They don't call it a "money shot" for nothing.
posted by Forktine at 9:44 AM on September 3, 2010


I don't want to get into TMI territory, but condoms allow for something that the withdrawal method doesn't: multiple ejaculations. Just saying.

I do wonder if the American horror at the idea of condoms is related to the prevalance of circumcision.

Do Americans really use condoms less than the rest of the world? I doubt that.

I think the reaction against condoms is pretty natural. They dull sensations, they generally taste bad, and (from what I've been told) they feel worse for women. (I think one quote was "like fucking a garbage bag.")

If anything, I think the American horror is impotency (or a small penis: Viagra, Smiling Bob), and if you're having trouble getting it up, condoms are generally going to make it more difficult to do so.

I have used the withdrawal method with several partners successfully, i.e. nobody got pregnant. What's interesting to me is that I would never use it now, i.e. I will always use a condom with my wife (until we decide if/when we want to have another child.)

Having a child when I was 20-25 would have been life-changing. Now, it wouldn't be that big of a deal (I have one daughter). However, I'm MUCH more likely now to insist on a condom, whereas when I was 20-25 I was MUCH more willing to take the "risk" of withdrawal.

I must think about that.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:27 AM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you don't manage to pull out in time you can shout "UT OH!" really loud and startle the zygote out of forming. THE MORE YOU KNOW!
posted by I Foody at 10:40 AM on September 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


That's why I don't think it's kinky to ask a guy to go down on me after penetrative sex.

Hm. I guess it depends. If you want him to lick your clit and pussy, it's as "kinky" as oral sex (i.e. not). If you're more interested in watching him lap up or drink his own cum or watch semen dribble down his chin or something, that's a bit kinky to me.

I love kinks. I would never say anything kinky (and consensual) is wrong or nasty. But I also know that a lot of people aren't kinky. Honest. It's true.

You're lucky enough to have a partner who's in sync with your libido type, but if you had a disinterested, sensual, etc. partner, it wouldn't be "irrational" or "wrong" if he didn't want to lap up his own cum (imo).

Sex during menstruation can be a differnent issue, though

No offense, but to me this contradiction sounds like: "People who don't like semen are irrational, but people who don't like blood have a valid point."

Think about that.

it could just be that menstrual blood is hella messy, even compared to regular old ejaculate.

Heh, again TMI, but it really depends on the individual.

That Sandra Pertot book I linked above was sort of an eye opener for me. I had always thought of everyone's sexuality as fluid and dynamic, but I had also thought that--apart from the level of sex drive (high or low)--sexual desire works the same way for everyone. It's pretty clear it doesn't. It seems the universe of human sexual attraction and repulsion is near infinite.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:47 AM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Spectacles can also be a good form of birth control. Tough to see what you're doing without them.

So basically, you don't need to drink beer to get beer goggles, you just need to take off your glasses?
posted by valkyryn at 11:51 AM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


TMI? (klang, too soon?)

Well at least the story didn't start with "After the birth of Klang's older brother ..."
posted by Mitheral at 1:48 PM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


super-human self control

I don't consider myself a superman but I've never understood this. Don't you feel when you're about to ejaculate? I can't explain it very well, but for me there's a very distinct and obvious feeling / brain signal when I've got about three seconds to either change my course of action, or climax. Wait a couple of seconds, lather, rinse, repeat until you either get bored or chafed.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:02 PM on September 3, 2010


Vasectomies have about condom-level failure rates, IIRC.

If you recall correctly, then WebMD is wrong:
Vasectomy is a very effective (99.85%) birth control method. Only 1 to 2 women out of 1,000 will have an unplanned pregnancy in the first year after their partners have had a vasectomy.3

3. Trussell J (2004). The essentials of contraception: Efficacy, safety, and personal considerations. In RA Hatcher et al., eds., Contraceptive Technology, 18th ed., pp. 221-252. New York: Ardent Media.
posted by John Cohen at 5:37 PM on September 3, 2010


I don't want to get into TMI territory, but condoms allow for something that the withdrawal method doesn't: multiple ejaculations. Just saying.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:27 PM on September 3


and multiple orgasms. the longer he is able to sustain arousal (not just erection) w/o coming, the more opportunities you have to play on that disco stick and the more opportunities he has at intense and even multiple orgasming before ejaculation.

sure, there's the STD and baby-making blah-dee-blah, but i can't recommend condoms enough as actual sex toys and pleasure enhancers.

and this has been "liza's TMI sharing" for the night :)
posted by liza at 5:44 PM on September 3, 2010


Condoms also tend to have lube on them. I've been in situations where that's been an important and valuable thing.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:13 PM on September 3, 2010


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