Fertility awareness methods involve determining the most fertile days of the menstrual cycle and avoiding unprotected intercourse.Techniques for determining fertility include monitoring basal body temperature, cervical secretions, or the day of the cycle. They have typical first-year failure rates of 24%; perfect use first-year failure rates depend on which method is used and range from 0.4% to 5%.The evidence on which these estimates are based, however, is poor as the majority of people in trials stop their use early. Globally, they are used by about 3.6% of couples. If based on both basal body temperature and another primary sign, the method is referred to as symptothermal. Overall first-year failure rates of <2% to 20% have been reported in clinical studies of the symptothermal method.
The withdrawal method (also known as coitus interruptus) is the practice of ending intercourse ("pulling out") before ejaculation. The main risk of the withdrawal method is that the man may not perform the maneuver correctly or in a timely manner. First-year failure rates vary from 4% with perfect usage to 22% with typical usage. It is not considered birth control by some medical professionals.
There is little data regarding the sperm content of pre-ejaculatory fluid. While some tentative research did not find sperm, one trial found sperm present in 10 out of 27 volunteers. The withdrawal method is used as birth control by about 3% of couples.
Though some groups advocate total sexual abstinence, by which they mean the avoidance of all sexual activity, in the context of birth control the term usually means abstinence from vaginal intercourse. Abstinence is 100% effective in preventing pregnancy; however, not everyone who intends to be abstinent refrains from all sexual activity, and in many populations there is a significant risk of pregnancy from nonconsensual sex (非自願性性行為).
Abstinence-only sex education does not reduce teenage pregnancy. Teen pregnancy rates are higher in students given abstinence-only education, as compared with comprehensive sex education. Some authorities recommend that those using abstinence as a primary method have backup method(s) available (such as condoms or emergency contraceptive pills). Deliberate non-penetrative sex without vaginal sex or deliberate oral sex without vaginal sex are also sometimes considered birth control.While this generally avoids pregnancy, pregnancy can still occur with intercrural sex and other forms of penis-near-vagina sex (genital rubbing, and the penis exiting from anal intercourse) where sperm can be deposited near the entrance to the vagina and can travel along the vagina's lubricating fluids.