Male Birth Control: Is this actually going anywhere??

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Male birth control seems to be one of the most elusive topics out there. Every now and then I hear snippets about how there is a supposed “safe and effective” new option for men, but there are never concrete details. I have been in conversations about the benefits of birth control for men and it always comes down to a general lack of information about what is out there, rather than unwillingness to try them.
I won’t go into detail about why it is so problematic that birth control is a designated women’s issue or the all-around benefits of having prevention come from both sexes (*at least between opposite sex couples 😉 shout out to anti-heteronormativity). My intention is to 1) find out what is even available, and 2) why doesn’t this idea seem to be going anywhere.
Planned Parenthood has a pretty hilarious and disappointing list I have to include here:

Men have five birth control options:

  • abstinence
  • condoms
  • outercourse
  • vasectomy
  • withdrawal

Outercourse is a great alternative, thanks PP! ha

One article in particular really laid it out well. Basically the problem is that most of the proposed new methods either failed (hormones), sound questionable (testical heating and cooling), or are still in clinical trials (Vasalgel). I can see why these would not have been widely publicized, especially since this is a socially controversial topic. Good news is that Vasalgel has almost made it through intensive clinical trials and just may be the best invention ever.

Quick Vasalgel rave – it has been created in India over the past 30 years and has been 100% effective without any pregnancies or adverse reactions. That’s more than almost any product can say. It’s a gel that is inserted into the vas deferens lasting up to 15 years, but can be removed by a doctor at any time – sounds much better than the pill to me!
The thing is there is bad news too. It may never make it to the market in the US because it is not backed by one of the major pharmaceutical companies [Source: http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/human-biology/male-bc-pill4.htm].They have gradually stopped funding these projects because most procedures are a one-time profit unlike the ridiculously expensive, monthly supplied female birth control. Damn the pharmaceutical monopoly.
If you want this to be available in the US, take a minute to sign a petition and/or spread the word. I came across a great organization called  that raises awareness (I think they could do better in that department), advocates for research and is a resource for those who want to do the same. The pharms need to be convinced that there is a demand for male birth control so that their profit-driven agenda can be a benefit to the rest of us.
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8 thoughts on “Male Birth Control: Is this actually going anywhere??

  1. I don’t know how many times I’ve wondered about this same exact thing. I lost my medical coverage last year because of my age so I no longer have health insurance. My boyfriend does because he has a good job but I’m the one who has to go to PP every 4 months and put up with the protesters. It would be nice if he could share in this responsibility with me.

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  2. safialaura says:

    Vasalgel- so amazing. Maybe we should actually start a petition or something, or at least somehow get people conversing about it. I think a lot of guys would be really interested but there is just so little information about it. And also I do think some guys really think, whether consciously or subconsciously, that it is a woman’s responsibility to deal with birth control because she’s the one that can get physically pregnant. Which is messed up and I’m all about trying to mythbust!! Thanks for this Lexis 🙂

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  3. Magdalena says:

    I can’t seem to get to the petition via the link above – can you post it in a comment, Lexis?

    Thank you for starting this discussion. I am grateful for my IUD but I don’t love it and would welcome a partner who took on some of the burden of birth control. We need to push for male birth control for a plethora of reasons, and encourage the men in our lives to do the same!

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  4. lexismanzara says:

    Hey everyone thanks for the comments!

    Michelle – I completely agree and almost want to do a part 2 of this post and bring some light to the shared responsibility aspect of if!

    Safia & Magdalena – I tried to link again to the petition, and it wasn’t working because guess what, great news it worked!!! It is being backed financially now and in beginning trials in the US. We should tell Cory about that, sounded like he’s be first in line.

    I think a lot of men really do think that and I guess most of them haven’t never seen it any other way. I bet if this is popularized well that could actually change, but we need some damn good marketing!

    Elena – That’s a great point and as absurd as it is I bet it’s true. Media is largely to blame for that as far as promoting hypermasculinity and the idea that virility = power. This has a lot less to do with logistics of and more with social norms and ideals from men. I think getting past the myth that birth control is the same as infertility like you said.

    It’s in the US!!

    http://goodmenproject.com/good-feed-blog/male-birth-control-vasalgel-risug-ready-for-human-trials-this-year/

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  5. Thanks so much for writing Lexis!

    This is really interesting for me, I’ve been thinking about birth control a lot lately and how it’s scary to think about how under researched the effects of being under the effects of hormones is really affecting women’s bodies. I used to not really question these effects because birth control seemed to be such an example of taking control of your sexuality and an empowering act, now I have very mixed feelings on the idea, and have talked to more women who are against birth control because it can have side effects that they aren’t interested in.

    That being said, vasalgel sounds like a great idea, especially because it’s stopping what causes pregnancy instead of readjusting hormones in women’s bodies to resist getting pregnant — tough distinction but I think it’s important.

    I agree with Elena too, that there may be some stigma and power involved, as well as men thinking — and many women, that this is a women’s issue, and it’s up to women to not get pregnant (if they don’t want to) and do whatever they need to to resist that.

    Thanks for bringing it up and I look forward to hear about how it goes in the future!

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    • lexismanzara says:

      Kinga, I’m glad you mentioned the empowering aspect of using birth control because it does add another side to it. Personally, at this point I would continue using my BC aka the Nuvaring even if male BC became more prevalent. It does give me a sense of security and control, but at the same time I also have negative side effects to put up with.

      Also this raised another question, would/should Vasalgel take the pressure off of young women to use BC? I am hoping yes, but at the same time there is some loss of security, whattauthank?

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    • epsiegel says:

      I also have a lot of hesitations abou birth control and its effects on women’s bodies. Since I was maybe 15 (due to really debilitating period cramps) doctors have been pushing BC on me, despite the fact that not all women actually experience relief from cramps due to BC. I’m still not on it because it freaks me out, but on numerous occasions I have had a doctor fill out a prescription and telling me I just needed to sign, though I repeatedly explained that I am uninterested in taking BC. This article (http://feministing.com/2013/07/03/guest-post-the-freedom-not-to-choose-birth-control/#more-65279) is another example of this from an author who had an unplanned pregnancy at 15 and how doctors have been trying to force BC on her ever since. I am more than in favor of creating access and options for women and their reproductive health, but providing access does not mean that BC should be compulsory and it deprives women of choice when their healthcare providers do not consider the voices of the women they are serving.

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  6. Lucila Krier says:

    The most obvious way of boosting your chances of getting pregnant is to have sex quite frequently. Although this might seem pretty trivial, the timing of having sex is equally important. Women ovulate at different times according to their cycles, so it is essential to calculate their most fertile days. For those women who are fairly regular in their cycle, the 14th day of their cycle is the most fertile. Even for those who aren’t regular, they can find out their most fertile period easily with the help of an ovulation kit. Sperms remain in the body of a women for about six days but the egg only has a lifespan of about 24 hours, so it is advisable to have sex about 2-3 times a week.Having the right position during intercourse is equally if not more important. The sperms have to travel all the way to the female’s fallopian tubes, hence some positions like the women lying on her back or placing a pillow below the hips do help in conceiving better by guiding the sperms at an upward angle.

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