Confession: Withdrawal Is Not an Option

A college-student contributor friend of ours, who wishes to remain anonymous, has a confession to make:

“I thought you said you were going to pull out.”

In the dark, I could still see his expression, startled yet a little defiant, as if the fact that he had just come inside me without the safety barrier of a condom was somehow my fault.

I see now that in part it was. I shouldn’t have been blinded by hormones and newly devirginized excitement to give up after a few minutes of looking for a condom that I knew I had lying around my room somewhere from one of those “Safer Sex” campaigns on campus. I should have taken his hands off my breasts as I half-heartedly opened drawers and boxes in my bedroom and found it. But I didn’t. All I wanted to do was to start having sex. Sex is fun; opening drawers, not so much. So I muttered a quick prayer under my breath and hoped he’d actually follow through with his promise of pulling-out so we could just do it already.

A few minutes later (and that’s being generous) we were staring at each other, realizing that, at that very moment, one 20-year-old girl who wasn’t on birth control might have just sealed her fate for the next few days, or the next nine months, maybe even the next 18 years!

“It’s okay. We’ll just go get you the morning-after pill tomorrow. I’ve done this before. I thought I got some other girl pregnant once, too, when I forgot to pull out one time.”

This was the moment when I realized forgetting the condom wasn’t the only mistake I’d made that night.

I didn’t sleep at all, in part because of his thunderous snoring but mostly because I was in shock and terrified. Hardly removed from my own virginity and I was already having a pregnancy scare? I always thought I would be too smart to get myself into this situation. I’m obsessively careful and in early sex-education classes considered forcing partners to wear two condoms, just in case. (And yes, for the record, I do realize now that two is less safe than one.) What the hell would I do if I got pregnant? What would happen to all of my plans, the things I wanted to accomplish, the college life I wanted to keep on living? At the time, pregnancy was all I could think about — worries of STDs weren’t even close to the forefront of my mind. Despite the fact that I had just hooked up with a tool who had obviously gone condomless before, I thought (wrongly) that the only real negative consequence I could face would be a pregnancy. I could hide an STD, I thought; I couldn’t hide a baby bump.

He told me the next morning that he had to run an errand but then he’d come pick me up to get the pill. One errand turned into two, two turned into the entire morning, some of the afternoon and a series of crappy excuses. So I decided not to wait.

As I walked to Target alone, my mind raced and I started tearing up. I was faced for the first time with one of the realities of being sexually active: you have to be responsible for your decisions, no matter how horny you were when you made them. I am the idealizing type; I always assumed that once I finally had sex with someone, everything would be magically awesome. But here I was, crying on the way to Target to get the morning-after pill alone to use after having sex with a guy who had proven himself to be a huge tool.

Fifty dollars later, I was back home, pill box in my hand, staring at my reflection in the mirror. I popped the first pill, swallowing it quickly as I made a silent vow to myself and my body to never be that irresponsible again.

I’ve made good on that promise (though unfortunately it took me far longer than I’d like to admit to get over the toolish guy). Now there’s always a condom in a zippered pocket in my purse, you know, just in case. (Yep, just double-checked. Still there.) I take my birth control religiously each morning. Most of all, I know now that if I want to be sexually active, I can’t rely on the guy to make sure we’re safe. I’m a part of the partnership too. And I’ll never listen to another stupid guy who promises to pull out. Sex can wait a few minutes. I’ve got a life to live.


  1. well..its a good lesson for you to learn…pulling out is not that safe…and unless you know the consequences on what you’ve done you should be able to accept it…on the other hand doing sex should be enjoyed on both of you…

  2. Seems like you were way to casual about the sex in general and not too choosy in partners! The birth control is another issue.

  3. Sympathetic but foolish. Some lessons could be learnt in the hardway. Pregnancy fever is gone – thanks to the pill, but what about others? STD? Have you done any test? HIV/AID is real. Be responsible.

  4. At age 20, I made love with a new partner. It was actually our first sex encounter. We used a condom but the condom broke during intercourse. The next morning I took Plan B. I was pretty confident of not becoming pregnant because it happened seven days before I became fertile. Yet, we conceived a baby.

    25 years later, I still think regularly about the baby who never came to life. I imagine the way this person would look like, his or her personality, the difficulties he or she would have to overcome because of my immaturity at the time. I know the decision taken was the best. Giving the baby for adoption would have been better but I just could not bring to life and love so deeply this person for nine months only to say goodbye at first sight. Going for a abortion was by far the most difficult in my life.

    Sex may be very satisfying. It may also have tremendous or terrible consequences. Not to mention STI.

  5. Ive been in the same situation recently and ive learnt to value whats worth risking 4 and what isnt. Although sex is fun, its not worth the worries we go through so abstain as am doing, maybe you can join me; better to be safe than sorry.

  6. This is why I’m so grateful I took the time to understand sex before I actually had it. I was already on birthcontrol for health reasons and I bought my own supply of condoms. Sex is a wonderful thing…if you’re not worried about pregnancy, STD’s, or sex with the wrong guy.
    Pause before you play.

  7. just because you can reproduce; doesnt mean you should. Cmon ladies…we need to protect ourselves and we should know better than to trust anything w/a penis.

    “Artificial intelligence is no match for natural STUPIDITY…”

  8. Okay, so I understand your concerns, why you felt like you did, how you have learned, etc. But why isn’t anyone mentioning here the fact that even when the guy “pulls-out”, you can still get pregnant? Coming from a long line of Catholics who have relied on this method, I, as others can do so, can tell you that “pulling out = safe sex” is a dangerous, dangerous myth – for STD’s AS WELL AS pregnancy.

  9. ya.. STDs are definitely a worry.. but usually when a guy doesnt pull out, the 1st and foremost concern is pregnancy. Had that scare twice myself.. got myself on the pill immediately.. condoms do break or slip off and sometimes the heat of the moment overwhelms you.. so i like to have my bases covered.. that’s just me..

  10. HIV/AIDS is not a death wish. Yes, it does make life more complicated and it is certainly scary, but nowadays people can live for 30+ years with HIV. Medications and maintaining a healthy lifestyle go a long way in keeping an HIV+ person’s life as close to normal as it can be with a chronic illness. Herpes and HPV are also things that someone can live with. Again, they can complicate some things sexually or with a person who is close-minded, but there are ways to protect yourself and limit the chance that you pass it on to a new partner.

    A pregnancy certainly is a big concern. Being faced with an unplanned pregnancy can be one of the most difficult and life-changing experiences a person can have. Having an abortion is not necessarily easy and is most likely something a person will never forget and will continue to impact their life, even if it was something they felt very confident about. Adoption is the same situation. And becoming a parent does turn your world upside-down.

    So, while I agree with lghtsknqueen’s sentiment–that it is important to consider exposure to STIs and HIV/AIDS, especially with one-night stands and partners whose status you are unaware of–pregnancy is still an important consideration. And contracting an STI, even an incurable one, or HIV is not a death sentence and does not ruin your life. Those beliefs are what cause people to freak out when they are told someone they slept with has an STI (whether it’s true or not), obsess about little symptoms and convince themselves they must be infected, try to take legal action against that person, etc. etc. Learning that someone can lead a healthy, normal life, and maintain a healthy sex life, while having Herpes, HPV, or HIV/AIDS will help to stop this perpetuation of DANGER DANGER when it comes to these viruses and hopefully help to inspire more conversation and less shame and worry regarding STIs in general.

  11. Wow! Pregnancy, seriously these days thats the least of your worries….HIV/AIDS thats your worry right there hun! A baby can be dealt with (abortion) not that I agree with that, but my point is you can get rid of a baby, but some STDS you cant and not only that. STDS can kill you. You cant run to the Pharmacy for a morning after pill for HIV/AIDS or HPV or Herpes. Sweetie please think again. Not judging you but really pregnancy? least of your worries. Your concern then, now, and in the future should be contracting HIV/AIDS because that in itself will ruin your life forever. A baby you can cope with and love. I had a baby at 18 years old still went to college and have been married to the father for 10 years now and we have two other beautiful children. A baby will just make your success plans a little harder. Unprotected sex and contracting the virus HIV/AIDS A DEATH WISH. PLEASE BE MORE CAREFUL. Take that extra 5, 10, 15 minutes to find that condom girl. Because if he is willing to have unprotected sex with you just imagine how many other girls or maybe even men he has done this with. And I say men because you just never no. So many undercover men these days, you can never be to careful. Protect yourself and your future. Much love, Lghtsknqueen

  12. I think you said it better than any parent could, just 1 issue, why did he have to come back to get you to but the pill? I know, he wanted you to pay, no need to have waited, good bye and don’t come back.

  13. Tough lesson to learn, that. But while you’re making sure that the condom is still in the zippered pocket in your purse, don’t forget to periodically check the expiration date, too.

  14. Pretty much exactly the same as my first time. But we were at his not mine. And he did put it on, but took it off soon after following lots of whinging and moaning.

    Yep, he was a tool alright.

    Turned out sex wasn’t what I expected at all.

    But lesson learnt I guess and that’s a mistake you make only once.

  15. Worst way to learn, but you won’t forget the lesson! It took one pregnancy scare for me to throw a condom in my purse, keep some plan b at home, and get on birth control. Sex is much more fun when you’re not worried before or after about babyitis 🙂

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