Monday, February 25, 2008


I always thought that the term coitus interruptus referred to the withdrawal method, a form of birth control statistically more likely to result in the production of offspring when compared to other common forms of birth control.

Little did I know that coitus interruptus really refers to a common state of affairs after the children have been born.

On a tangentially related note, I found a nifty quote from Lactantius on when I was curious about the Roman Catholic Church's position on ci: Wherefore, if any one on any account of poverty shall be unable to bring up children, it is better to abstain from relations with his wife" (Divine Institutes 6:20).

Nice! If you're poor: no sex for you! Sex for the wealthy only! I am fortunate to be affluent enough to have been able to have sex two times so far! Oh, and also to be Protestant.


Jessie said...

Not to be annoying or anything - but according to Contraceptive Technology, withdrawal is 96% effective with perfect use, and 73% effective with typical use. It's more effective than the sponge (in parous women) and spermicide, and comparable to female condoms (lower typical use, higher perfect use). Planned parenthood has similar figures. More references are available here

Sorry...I know that's a little jerky of me. But withdrawal and the people who use it get such a bad rap, when really under certain circumstances it can be a really good choice for a method of birth control.

Coitus interruptus as you define it might be even more effective though. ;)

Sarahlynn said...

Jessie, I don't dispute your statistics; they're similar to what I've seen as well. I also don't put a lot of stock in the perfect scenario figures; I look more at how well the method works in practice. 27% is an incredibly high failure rate!!!

In practice, it's the least effective common form of birth control for women who have not had children (as you point out, women who have had babies should use a back-up with the sponge or cap). Likewise, spermicide should be used in conjunction with another method of birth control if a woman is serious about not wanting to become pregnant.

There's nothing wrong with withdrawal as a form of birth control - and I suspect that many of us have relied upon it upon occasion - but with the caveat that you'd better not mind the risk of becoming pregnant.

Accidental pregnancy 27 times out of 100 is a whole lot of accidental pregnancies!

Lady Liberal said...

Agreed with Sarahlynn... withdrawal is only appropriate if you're in a situation where eh, it would be more convenient to not get pregnant right now, but not a big deal if you do.
I had to giggle, though... what constitutes "perfect" use of this method? I mean.. do you lose percentage points for an imperfect form on the dismount?? LOL Sorry, my 4th grade humor.
Sarahlynn, we're experiencing your definition of this phenomenon at our house. Husband swears our 3-month-old has what he calls "f***dar"... radar, only to detect when parents even CONSIDER having sex! :)

Jessie said...

It's true that I wouldn't use it unless I had few other choices, and was with someone trust worthy and proficient at the technique. (Because a lot of the imperfect use I believe comes from either men who can't pull out in time, or couples who decide not to pull out sometimes because it would mess up some of the pleasurable aspects. Although I'm not sure)

I think I'm in love with Lady Liberal's new term. Hehehe.

Rob Monroe said...

Lady Liberal - I believe that your baby is not the only one with the f***dar. I always joke that if we have some place to be but Abby is sleeping, all we need to do is get naked. She'll wake up almost immediately.