Coitus interruptus, also known as withdrawal, pulling out or the pull-out method, is a method of birth control in which a man, during sexual intercourse, withdraws his penis from a woman's vagina prior to ejaculation and then directs his ejaculate (semen) away from the vagina in an effort to avoid insemination.
This method was used by an estimated 38 million couples worldwide in 1991. Coitus interruptus does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs/STDs).
Perhaps the oldest description of the use of the withdrawal method to avoid pregnancy is the story of Onan in the Torah and the Bible. This text is believed to have been written down over 2,500 years ago. Societies in the ancient civilizations of Greece and Rome preferred small families and are known to have practiced a variety of birth control methods. There are references that have led historians to believe withdra