The Different Stakes of Male and Female Birth Control

Nov 6, 2016

By Julie Beck

In the past couple decades, scientists have been slowly moving toward developing birth control for men. A recent clinical trial of an injectable hormone contraceptive for men showed super promising results: It was 96 percent effective at preventing pregnancy, which it did by lowering sperm counts. Unfortunately, the trial was discontinued early by an independent committee, which determined that the side effects were such that “the risks to the study participants outweighed the potential benefits.”

The side effects in question? “Mood changes, depression, pain at the injection site, and increased libido.”

Hm. Hmmmmmmmm. Hm. Let’s review some of the possible side effects of currently available birth-control options for women, shall we? Here’s just a sampling.


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One comment on “The Different Stakes of Male and Female Birth Control”

  • “Not so for men. Though men have an equal responsibility to prevent unwanted pregnancies, they don’t share equally in the consequences, and never have. The burden of birth control has always fallen largely on women’s shoulders; it is their bodies that will bear the consequences if birth control fails. The only currently available birth-control method for men—short of a vasectomy—is a condom. So a man can either wrap it up, or let the lady handle it. And because condoms are significantly less effective than IUDs, implants, contraceptive pills, and rings, it stands to reason that many will choose the surer thing.”

    Life is not fair. In theory, drained of sexual differentiation, men have an equal responsibility to prevent unwanted pregnancies but the practical devices of modern birth control developed empirically and logically to prevent the sperm from fertilizing the egg by exclusive means of blocking the uterus or eliminating the egg from the female body by hormonal contraception. All reliable artificial birth control involves devices or chemicals that penetrate the female uterus, vagina or bloodstream. Hormonal contraception, chemical spermicide, and/or barriers (IUD). diaphragms were developed 60 years ago and were preceded by more unreliable largely mechanistic or folk measures that concentrated on the female reproductive anatomy. Traditional male “birth control” was limited to withdrawal or assorted versions of condoms. (Modern surgical vasectomies of all these practices does have a direct female counterpart: tubal ligation.) Trying to “temporarily” kill sperm cells in male testicles or through the prostate before ejaculation would have been an impossible task to accomplish in the past, however many jokes we might invent to describe the unwieldiness of the process or the hilarious unintended consequence of permanent infertility.

    It is just much easier to prevent contraception by blocking or controlling the large orifices of the female body rather than concocting chemicals with tentative and harmful effects to the male body. With that said, the development of a safe, reliable male contraceptive free from gratuitous, painful side effects would be welcome by men everywhere.

    *So a man can either wrap it up, or let the lady handle it. And because condoms are significantly less effective than IUDs, implants, contraceptive pills, and rings, it stands to reason that many will choose the surer thing.”**
    That’s right, so why get snotty about it? It is what it is.



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