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Male Birth Control, But Actually

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Let’s talk about male birth control. 

Sometimes it’s as effective as a man saying something dumb. Or maybe he’s just a Karen or a simp. Men are complex. We’re not here to shade, even though admittedly shading men is always rather cathartic.

Sorry boys. 

Anyway, back to male birth control. For real this time.

As of last year a new male birth control pill passed its first round of clinical testing. Scientists have been experimenting with hormonal male birth control since the ‘70s, and “the pill” has been prescribed to women since the ‘60s. So, what’s the hold up with male birth control?

Side effects, including:

  • Acne
  • Headaches
  • Mild erectile dysfunction
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Tiredness
  • Weight gain of 5 lbs. or less

Sound familiar? The side effects men experience are just the same side effects women have been experiencing (suffering through?) for years now. Why do these side effects create pause in production when men are the ones experiencing them, while women are simply warned and expected to deal with them? The double standard is ludicrous — a classic result of the patriarchy in place. 

All medications come with possible side effects. It’s part of the risk one runs taking them. So, why are there different standards? Or, why aren’t we recalling women’s birth control medications to get rid of these side effects if it turns out they make everyday life that more uncomfortable for users? SMH. 

There is another option for men though. One we don’t talk about enough: vasectomies. 

Vasectomies can run anywhere between $300-$3000, and most health insurance plans don’t cover this procedure. In the same way health insurance plans cover the pill though, maybe it’s time to reevaluate this policy. After all, it could be a policy that accounts for two potential hospital visits within the max span of 15 years.

Two visits within 15 years…?

Vasectomies, unlike tubal ligations, are reversible. 

Obviously vasectomies, tubal ligation, and hormonal methods of birth control don’t protect their  users from STDs and infections. It’s still just as important to use protection!

Back to it: if reversed within 10 years of receiving a vasectomy there’s a 95% success rate. Even then, success rates don’t drop dramatically until 15 years have passed, or if someone has received multiple vasectomies and reversals. Therefore, two visits might not be a perfect policy, but it’s a place to start. 

Most importantly, it’s a place for us to start thinking. If women have to bear the child for 9 long months, could men maybe experience some side effects/take a more active role in preventing unwanted pregnancies?  

  • How do you feel about male birth control?

    • Bring it on!
    • I’d rather not.

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Written by Nina Slowinski

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