Few men love the "raincoat" experience of a condom, but until this study, most would have laughed at the old "pulling out method." Of course, it should be remembered that condoms are the only relatively sure way to prevent transmission of STDs.
The researchers involved are thus targeting this study to those in monogamous relationships where STDs are not a risk.
The study (.PDF), titled "Better than nothing or savvy risk-reduction practice?" states the following in its opening paragraph:
If the male partner withdraws before ejaculation every time a couple has vaginal intercourse, about 4% of couples will become pregnant over the course of a year. However, more realistic estimates of typical use indicate that about 18% of couples will become pregnant in a year using withdrawal. These rates are only slightly less effective than male condoms, which have perfect- and typical-use failure rates of 2% and 17%, respectively.So, in a perfect world, you would get 2% (condom) or 4% (coitus interruptus) failure rate, but of course, no one is perfect.
Rachel Jones, head researcher of the study, noted that the frequently cited factoid that pre-ejactulate carries motile sperm has been contradicted by two studies cited by the National Institutes of Health.
"In two small studies there is no sperm in the fluid. If the guy has had sex in the last couple of hours is the only way it gets in pre-cum. But if you go to the bathroom, it flushes the sperm out."The study obviously brought out a number of critics, as noted by ABC News.
Dr. Judy Kuriansky from Columbia University's Teachers College said:
"Teens will misuse the data and boys will use it as an excuse not to wear condoms. It is also not good for monogamous couples, especially those who are religious and against abortion, who may have more unplanned pregnancies."Taken aback somewhat by her critics, Jones fired back with a letter:
"I've grown used to promoters of abstinence only-until-marriage programs dismissing the effectiveness of contraception. However, I'm surprised to see such disparagement of withdrawal among a crowd that is presumably younger, more diverse and open-minded.
"Perhaps because most of us have been told for so long that withdrawal doesn't work, we are unable to embrace scientific evidence that counters what we 'know.'"