Challenging the stereotypes: Men, withdrawal, and reproductive health in Lebanon

Cynthia Myntti, Abir Ballan, Omar Dewachi, Faysal El-Kak, Mary E. Deeb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


In Lebanon, coitus interruptus or withdrawal remains a widely practiced method of family planning. Our research sought to understand the role of men in reproductive health in Lebanon by focusing on this common practice. Our main questions were: Why is it that the practice persists when more effective modern methods of family planning are available? How is the decision taken to practice withdrawal? When is withdrawal practiced and with whom? And, finally, does the practice of withdrawal affect sexual pleasure and the sexual relationship more generally? To answer these questions, we embarked on a small exploratory study using in-depth interviews with 16 open-ended questions. We found that the most important reason for the continuing practice of withdrawal is fear of side effects from other methods. Men and women expect pleasure and fulfillment in sexual relations, but they are willing to limit their pleasure to limit their fertility by means they consider safe. No one prototypical practice of withdrawal seems to exist, and this may explain whether or not the method fails to prevent pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-170
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


  • Coitus interruptus
  • Men
  • Middle East
  • Qualitative methods
  • Withdrawal


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