Sorry it’s been a while. I have been MIA from everything lately due to work commitments. That said, I am back and better than ever. I have been writing a bunch for the TNGG site and below is my most recent post (which was originally posted here).
Jump back! Could it be real? A male oral contraceptive? A pill for dudes?! According to a recent New York Times article, the little pill we’ve all been waiting for could be right around the corner.
Of all the options for birth control, there are currently four for men, compared to over a dozen for women: a vasectomy, condoms, spermicide and the so-called withdrawal method (which really shouldn’t be included anymore). But thanks to modern science, it seems likely that we will soon also have the male birth control pill.
Similar to the female birth control pill, scientists are using a combination of hormones (testosterone and progestin) to make men stop producing sperm all together and “other ways of interrupting sperm production, maturation or mobility.” There’s been even talk of a biceps implant, which would work similarly to the female implant.
For too long, contraception and reproduction have been viewed as something only women are supposed to worry about. But I’m pretty sure the cliche holds true for a reason, and it takes two to tango.
Feminists and females alike see men taking “the pill” as one small step for man, one giant step for womankind. But why has it taken so long to get off the ground?
Dr. John Amory told CNN that “while women make one egg a month, men produce about 1,000 sperm every second.” Adding that “it proves more difficult to shut down that level of production.” The delay is logical; the pill forces women’s bodies to do something it already naturally does, not ovulate, as opposed to not producing sperm, which is not normal for men’s bodies.
Even with delays in male contraception, there is a “greater interest in this technology than there ever was in the past and there is now more funding available worldwide than ever before,” according to an interview Dr. Christina Wang gave to MSNBC.
Wang’s outlook was confirmed by a survey graduate student Alexa Hassaram conducted at Bentley University. The 22-year-old surveyed 98 co-eds on campus (86% of which were sexually active) and found that 59% of the respondents would either willingly use, or encourage their partner to use, a male birth control pill. Also, 13% of those surveyed would use it if their partner wanted them to, compared to only 11% who would not consider it at all.
Rob Morton, 25, of NYC, is more skeptical, and sees this advancement as “just another excuse to not wrap it up, and spread disease. Also, I could see people saying one thing and doing another.”
Morton pointed out that just like the pill so many ladies swallow every day, a male contraceptive will not protect against the spread of STIs. For that, it doesn’t look like condoms are going anywhere anytime soon. Unfortunately, Hassaram’s survey confirms Morton’s fear: she found that while 56% females on the pill still believe in using a condom concurrently, only 28% of the males would use a male pill and condoms concurrently.
As for Morton’s second thought, men could lie about being on the pill, but then again, so could women (and it happens) — all it really boils down to is trust of your partner.
Just like most innovations, there are mixed reviews. Some men want it. Some women wouldn’t trust their male partner to take the pill. Catholics and pro-life supporters don’t support contraception as a whole. Feminists think it’s about time for men to step up to the plate. Pro-choice supporters think this could be great for men who don’t want to father a baby now.
But now it’s your turn: What do you think? Tell us in the comments.
Photos by Marquette La, Stacy Lyn Baum and n.Stauffer.