CONTRACEPTION FOR MODERN TIMES
Since the 1960s, women have had ‘the pill’ available to them which has done wonders for their personal freedom, career options, and mental health. After the ’60s, many alternative forms of female contraception have been put to market to suit different needs, body types and personal preferences.
But ask most women today and they will tell you one thing when it comes to the pill and other forms of contraception – it messes with them, badly.
So, now an increasing number of millennial women are asking the question, “Why can’t men be the ones to take contraception, instead of us?”. This is a fair question – so allow me to mansplain a bit.
THE BURDEN OF FEMALE CONTRACEPTION
No matter what form of contraception many women choose, there is a mountain of common side-effects such as severe weight gain, cramps, severe mood swings, pain, irregular ‘flows’ and much more.
That’s a large price to pay to simply be able to ‘bear-back’ it without the fear of having a bun in the oven before you’re ready, and many men would be surprised to know that every form of contraception is not 100% effective – even condoms.
Also, men are fertile for much longer than women are, increasing the chance of unwanted pregnancy. So wouldn’t it at the very least make sense for men to take contraception too – just to be on the safe side?
So, the question becomes – if a man had the chance to take hormonal male contraception, what is stopping them? There are a few reasons it seems.
MALE CONTRACEPTION: LET’S DICUSS IT
The first is: that YOU’RE ALL SEXIST PIGS! (just kidding). One of the most common reasons seems to be a lack of education on the topic, both in part due to a common misconception that it is just a ‘chick thing’ and the fact that male contraception is a very new phenomenon in our society.
High school is where most people learn about their bits and bobs, but even the most progressive schools tend to be at least 20 years behind the times when it comes to the topic of safe sex.
Many schools are still advocating for things like ‘abstinence’ (screw that, right?) and avoiding contraception altogether. So, it’s understandable why alternative forms of male contraception are going to take a while to be added to the curriculum.
Another reason is the only other form of widely available male contraception (besides condoms) to date is a procedure called a vasectomy. While it is effective, it can be irreversible – something that takes it off the table for young men who want the option of kids at the very least.
However, when it comes to the science, there is an increasing number of (semi) viable options becoming available for male contraception.
WHAT MALE CONTRACEPTION OPTIONS ARE OUT THERE?
One option is called ‘Nano-contraception’ – A method of delivering tiny nanoparticles into the testicles that are one-thousandth the width of a piece of paper. When these nanoparticles are used to heat the testicles to a certain degree, they can temporarily turn off sperm production.
But don’t worry lads, you will still ‘spooge’ the same amount – just not Ian Thorpe style swimmers. While this form of male contraception can be reversible, there is still a risk for your nugs being super-heated which can lead to infertility.
Another promising method is still in ongoing trials but involves a gel that men can apply to their shoulders. The hormonal gel combines both progestin and testosterone, which together block the body’s signals for producing its own testosterone and sperms.
The testosterone in the gel will then replace the body’s own testosterone, preventing negative effects on libido, sexual function, muscle mass, and energy.
While these sound like they could be a possibility, they, unfortunately, remain just that – a possibility. There is currently no working alternative form of male contraceptive that is currently safe to use.
Even though this is the case, in the future, it will likely be available and safe. When it is, what’s the harm in having an open mind and at least doing your own research or consulting your local GP?
It’s high time we considered doing our part. If letting women have a break from the burden of contraception for a while (which is fair enough if you ask me) isn’t a sell for you, at least see it for a way to ensure you protect yourself from unwanted rugrats before you decide you’re ready to take the leap.