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My boyfriend is sure he's a pulling-out champ, but I think I'm pregnant.

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Holly asks:

My boyfriend is 31 years old and seems to think he is a pro at pulling out during sex. However I have been really tired and sometimes nauseous lately, plus more hungry than normal. A friend of mine who had a baby just a few days ago told me I'm probably pregnant... What do you think? I need answers ASAP!!

Heather Corinna replies:

Is your period late? If it is, then by all means, take a pregnancy test, as withdrawal is one of the least effective methods of birth control in typical use.

If you don't know when to expect your period, or your periods are often irregular, then just take a test when it's been around 14 days since your last risk. And by all means, no more intercourse with no "method" but withdrawal until you know if you're pregnant or not.

Too, pregnant or no, since you've been having unprotected sex you will also want to schedule a full STI screening soon, since you have had risks of sexually transmitted infections, too.

No matter what the results are here, your boyfriend is a full, grown man. There earnestly just isn't any excuse for him to refuse to use or cooperate with a birth control method which is more effective and reliable. So also for your to-do list is a firm talk with him about how, if you do NOT want to become pregnant and are not ready for a pregnancy, he can save his apparent Olympic withdrawal skills for someone else because you need a method you can count on and a partner who acts like the grownup he is supposed to be.

Obviously, condoms are something you both can use and get almost anywhere, and which are very effective when used properly. And if neither of you has had STI tests yet, and six months of monogamy WITH protected sex, they're a must. If you want more effectiveness than a condom, you can talk to your sexual healthcare provider about an additional method for you, be it another barrier method like a diaphragm or a hormonal method like the birth control pill.

I don't know how old you are, but if you're younger than your partner, one typical issue with an age difference between partners is that the younger often has a very hard time with limits and boundaries with the elder, particularly if that partner is taking advantage of that problem and not giving you any real room to have limits and boundaries. With any sexual partner, you should feel on equal footing, absolutely able to insist on simple, basic things like not being put at risks you don't want to be shouldering, especially risks that impact you -- not them -- the most.

He's not at risk of pregnancy: you are. So, what YOU need should take the highest priority, okay?

And if he won't discuss this or refuses to use anything else, then it's time for you to walk away from this guy and choose a partner next time who takes you into greater consideration and does his level best to be sure that he's helping you any way he can to reduce your risks.

Extra bonus? When you're just using a reliable birth control method, no one is having to go through every bout of sex thinking about pulling out and worrying that the other person won't in time, or it won't work even if he does (which happens all the time). It's pretty hard to have really enjoyable sex that way -- when we're worried, even just getting aroused is difficult -- and if it's not super-enjoyable for everyone, there's just no point in doing it.

Here are a few more links to help round this out for you:

written 19 Jan 2008 . updated 27 Apr 2008

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