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Archive for November, 2006

L>T had a question for me:
“hi! this is off the topic, but i immedietly thought of you when i read this & what you’d have to say about it. male birth control

Funny you should ask…

We’ve been hearing about the coming male contraceptives for a LONG time now. I have, as usual, two minds about this.

On the one hand, sounds great. Men who wish to remain childless or don’t want any more children would have the chance to take matters more securely into their own hands. Some guys I know feel at risk that their one-nighters are going to get pregnant and then they are going to get stuck supporting a child they never wanted, so male contraceptives seem like a good solution to that. Also, nice that the onus isn’t fully on the female partner to avoid conception, and in a committed relationship, it would be pretty great to share more equitably conception prevention. Many women have a hard time with birth control, and so it would be great to have a partner who could take on that responsibility with the same degree of effectiveness.

However. Would men use it? I’m not sure all men would be interested in male contraceptives. First of all, it removes the body’s ability to produce sperm (at least the one the above-linked article talks about does). For a lot of guys, this might in itself be a problem, as low or no sperm counts kinda ring of low masculinity. I’m not saying this is a valid connection to make, in fact I think it’s ridiculous with a capital R, but there it is. Also, men are, for the most part, used to not having to worry too much about baby-making, and so it might be hard to get them on the bandwagon. This would take, in my opinion, a massive campaign of consciousness raising. Finally, I think it *might* lead to less condom use and a higher incidence of STIs. Still, it seems like a lot of men think about using condoms only to prevent pregnancy, and don’t worry much about getting an infection. As I saw on Oprah last week when she interviewed 6 HIV+ women, apparently there are men out there who would be willing to have unprotected sex with a woman who has told them she has HIV!!! I mean, how stupid can you get? Seriously! Thank god the women were emphatic about always using protection – as much to prevent reinfecting themselves with a different strain of HIV as to prevent transmission to their partner. And it is certainly fairly common that if a guy thinks he can get away without using a condom, he will. (Not all guys are like this of course, but enough are that it is a common perception/stereotype.) And a lot of that centres around whether or not the woman is using a form of birth control. So with that massive campaign I think would be necessary to encourage men to use contraceptives, it is imperative that condom use is strenuously advocated in addition.

So, that’s what I think. What do you folks think? Guys, if given the chance would you use a contraceptive? And, while I have you here, why on earth do guys try to not wear condoms?

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