Friday, December 01, 2006

Male Pill: Freedom for Men

My husband scoffed when he saw the information on the Male Pill. I said, "You mean you wouldn't take it?" He just looked at me: are you kidding me?

Men, bristling under the stereotype that they don't take their sexual responsibility seriously. Men, who decry the forced wage-rape after sperminating a woman and then being caught on the hook for life--donating earnings to the unintended consequence of their feel-good fling. Men, currently putting together their "Men's Movement" to fight for their rights to party and not pay!

Men are welcoming this liberating birth control with vigor and excitement. NOT. Well, a few do.
And here is why some men are for it:

Men will finally have the advantage women have had for the last few decades, as reproductive rights became female-only. A woman could get pregnant, then abort without consulting the father. Or she could have the child and force him to pay child support. A male pill will give men more control in the matter.
Control--BIRTH control. For all those men fearing getting trapped during a cheap lay, ejaculating dry might just be worth it.

My husband blogged on it immediately and said to the question, Will men embrace this?:
No, because men don't want to have to damage their bodies with the side effects that temporary sterility medications create.
Now, I find this answer offensive. I'm not alone. Women must use a known carcinogen, the female version of the Pill to prevent pregnancy. Or, she must use a longer more permanent solution like Depro Prevara which has a huge infertility risk. Or, she must have an invasive surgery like tubal ligation. Or, she must suffer the indignities of lowered sensation with a partner's condom. Or, she must worry about STD's without her partner wearing a condom. Or she must suffer the indignity and blame should birth control fail. Or she must go through the trauma of an abortion. Or she must live with a baby from a man she might not like all that much because she doesn't believe in abortion. And here men could use a pill that wears off in hours, but no!

Here are some male responses (which I think are more representative than Dr. Helen's readers):

Men have more practical concerns. "How would it not affect your sperm count in the next three or four days?" frets Matt. "If you took it for a week or month, how would it keep you from being sterile for a year?"

Were the drug to receive approval, expect monogamous couples like Jane and her husband to be a better demographic than single guys like Matt.

"Name the guy at a bar who, two hours beforehand thinks, 'This is a done deal,' and pops the Pill," he challenges.

Wisecracks Sam, a 24-year-old administrative assistant, in agreement: "When it gets to the point where I know I'm going to have sex two hours before I actually have it, I will be too old to have babies."

For all the reproductive freedom, these biological drives and realities seem to be relegated to the heap of quaint notions.

Many men still view their manhood through the spectrum of virility--that is, the ability to create a child. A Pill that messes with that ability causes them grave personal concern. I can't even count how many women have had tubal ligations because their husbands couldn't imagine experiencing the lightly invasive vasectomy. The psychological angst is comical. And the actual stats prove this out, only a fraction of men get sterilized compared to women. Women must have abdominal surgery to achieve the same goal--but oh well! She must live with the consequences, she can belly up.

Personally, I like the idea of a Male Pill. Men can take control of their baby-making destiny. They won't have to worry about being saddled with an unwanted child. They can also take responsibility for the cause-effect relationship between sex and babies should a "mistake" happen.


Anonymous said...

This will NEVER happen. Men like their "wet" ejaculations way too much! Not going to happen...EVER!!!

Robert Monk said...

I don't know what new product prompted this blog entry, but every doctor I've ever asked (several), and all the research I've done on the internet (a little) tells me there are 'no male pharmaceutical contraceptives' (the doctors say) or that 'there a ton of possibilities on the horizon, but none FDA approved at present' ( is typical, on the internet).

I may not be a typical man, but I have never once fretted about my sperm count. A couple little swimmers is all it takes to fertilize an egg, and that's plenty; if deciding to have a child means I have to resort to artificial methods, small price.

That said, I have no idea of my sperm count, and relying on condoms to hold it all in is a little scary, even with a woman I hope to maybe raise children with some day (but not starting this year!).

I've heard that many women experience positive side-effects in terms of regulating fertility cycles, from birth control pills -- but I don't envy them the potential for cancer or the co-pays on expensive drugs.

I think for many men, relying on their partner to prevent conception is scary at the least and probably very unwise in many cases, whether or not they intend to be committed life partners or loving flings for their female counterparts. Men aren't the only ones who want flings; women can be unreliable about fertility practices and inconsistent in their wishes and intentions about conception, just as men can, although the (socially constituted) higher stakes for women probably does promote in them, by-and-large, a higher degree of integrity about their fertility and sexual practices.

Many women choose not to use birth control pills because of negative side effects or because of philosophical/spiritual/religious concerns.

I like sex better without a condom, and many women feel the same. I would gladly take a pill or undergo minor surgery or other medical procedures for temporary sterilization, even with certain minor negative side-effects.

Dry ejaculation sounds kind of weird and even unplesant, but if it were reliably reversible I'd probably give it a try. Either it is or it isn't.

Robert Monk

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