I’m not on birth control, even though I engage in casual sex quite regularly. Not because I don’t want to be; I tried the pill for a few months, but unfortunately it interferes with the other, more important medication I already take, so I had to stop.
Although the pill is great at preventing unwanted pregnancies, it does nothing to stop the transmission of STIs, so even while on it I made sure that when I slept with a man, he suited up. Most of the time I didn’t even have to ask; most of the time the man I was with brought his own condoms and automatically used them. Thankfully, I’m pretty good at finding nice guys, and I’ve only ever had one experience where I heard this phrase:
“I don’t like the feeling of condoms. I’ll pull out, I promise.”
When he said it I froze, and then I laughed. Perhaps that wasn’t the right reaction, but for me it was an automatic response to a ridiculous situation. He started spouting some nonsense about condoms reducing sensation while I hopped out of his bed and began pulling my clothes on. When he realised I was leaving, he told me that he was good at pulling out, that only about 20% of couples get pregnant while using the withdrawal method, but that would never happen because he could “tell when it [his orgasm] was coming.”
I will admit that I started laughing again after his little speech. He was trying to justify not using a condom by telling me that I only had a 1 in 5 chance of getting pregnant? He had obviously done his research into the pulling out method, so I find it strange that, in all of his reading, he didn’t once consider the fact that a) we weren’t a couple and I had no reason to believe he could control himself, and b) 20% is far too high a percentage to risk.
Before walking out the door I asked him about STIs. He told me he was clean, and scoffed when I asked when he was last tested. Apparently the answer was never, which is not only incredibly dangerous but also, in my opinion, disrespectful to all of his partners. Before turning my back, I told him he was arrogant and naïve – nobody is immune to STIs, and anyone who engages in sex with multiple partners should be tested frequently.
Thankfully, I dodged a bullet that day.
When I went home, I checked up on his research: according to Planned Parenthood and the Feminist Women’s Health Center the withdrawal method results in pregnancy roughly 19-27% of the time when used incorrectly. So yes, he knew his pregnancy facts, but he clearly did not realise that most STIs are transferred almost 100% of the time when using the withdrawal method. That is not a chance anyone engaging in casual sex should take.