What is coitus interruptus? And what are the risks?

One in 5 couples rely on coitus interruptus as a “method” to avoid pregnancies. You may know it better as reverse, quail hop, “come out.” All synonyms of an ancient practice that we cannot, however, consider a true contraceptive method.

Nowadays we have at our disposal a number of reliable methods to prevent pregnancies: condoms, IUDs, pills, rings. However, when it comes to avoiding pregnancy, many people rely on unsafe methods. But pregnancy is no joke!

Reverse or coitus interruptus  is one of the most frequent choices when looking for alternatives to condoms or hormonal methods. It consists of withdrawing the penis from the vagina before ejaculation, to prevent the sperm present in the sperm from reaching the egg cell.

According to Planned Parenthood, 35 million couples worldwide rely on coitus interruption as their primary birth control tool. Some polls place this practice as the third most used method after condoms and the pill.

How effective is coitus interruptus?

The reverse gear failure rate is much higher than one might imagine. About 28 out of 100 couples who use this method become pregnant within a year . The reason? Also according to Planned Parenthood is the inability to put it into practice in the correct way.

28 out of 100 couples who use coitus interruptus get pregnant within a year

If it were implemented correctly, the risk would be reduced to 4 out of 100 pregnancies.

It should not be forgotten that intrauterine devices and hormonal contraceptive pills are approximately 99.9% effective, while male condoms are 98% effective in preventing pregnancies if used correctly.

This means that less than one in 100 women who use the IUD or take the contraceptive pill will become pregnant and only 2 out of 100 will become pregnant with the use of a male condom.

Why does it fail?

Coitus interruptus is based on the male’s ability to self-control: it requires a lot of concentration and will, and these conditions are not always present during sexual intercourse.

Coitus interruptus is based on the male’s ability to self-control!

Another risk is related to the pre-ejaculatory fluid . According to a study by the National Institutes of Health, a man can produce up to 4 ml of liquid during sexual intercourse.

This fluid originates in Cowper’s gland, is alkaline, contains enzymes and mucus but no semen.

Despite this, pre-ejaculatory fluid can lead to pregnancy if the man’s urethra contains semen left over from his last ejaculation.

In these cases, the remaining sperm can mix with the pre-ejaculatory fluid and thus lead to pregnancy

To reduce the risk of having a baby, in addition to washing between one intercourse and another, the man should urinate to avoid any residual semen between close ejaculations. Obviously, even in this way the risk is not canceled and the unknown factor of self-control remains.

Sexually transmitted diseases

Obviously, coitus interruptus unlike condoms does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases. For this reason it is not recommended as well as to avoid pregnancies, even when you do not have a fixed sexual partner.

Natural alternatives

If you don’t want to use hormonal or barrier contraceptive methods, there are natural methods , in particular the Billings method which is based on the observation of cervical mucus, basal temperature and ovulation tests, which allow you to monitor the hormonal trend during the period.

Kathryn Barlow is an OB/GYN doctor, which is the medical specialty that deals with the care of women's reproductive health, including pregnancy and childbirth.

Obstetricians provide care to women during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, while gynecologists focus on the health of the female reproductive system, including the ovaries, uterus, vagina, and breasts. OB/GYN doctors are trained to provide medical and surgical care for a wide range of conditions related to women's reproductive health.

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