In the 1960’s, women’s reproductive health was revolutionized by the first female contraceptive pill. Lives everywhere were changed when women and men enjoyed the freedom to have sex without the consequence of procreation. Today, the birth control pill – also known simply as “the pill” – is the most widely used and popular form of birth control today, with surgical forms of birth control being in a different category. Women can take the pill without anyone knowing, leaving their reproductive health in their control.
What About Men?
Men, on the other hand, are limited in choices when it comes to their own sexual health. If they do not wish to conceive a child with a woman and want to take matters into their own hands, generally their only choice is to use a condom. Condoms are popular and effective – especially at preventing sexually transmitted diseases and infections - but can be conspicuous. Is there a male contraception pill that a man can take without his partner knowing to prevent pregnancy?
Not yet. But that doesn’t mean one isn’t in the works!
How Will A Male Contraceptive Work?
Ideally, a male form of “the pill” will work much the same way the female version does. A woman’s contraceptive sends hormones to her brain that tell her body not to release an egg every month. In a male contraceptive, a hormone would tell a man’s brain not to produce sperm. This is tricky though, because the primary hormones that would be used for this purpose produce a number of unwanted side effects, such as weight gain or loss of male characteristics. A combination of hormones, however, might just be effective at stopping the production of sperm without unwanted side effects. Other ideas for male contraception suggest two different proteins might be more effective at preventing sperm from impregnating a woman, with less side effects than a hormonal birth control. One protein would immobilize sperm, leaving them unable to move through the penis and into a woman’s body, and the other that will prevent sperm from maturing. All these potential forms of male contraception are intended to be reversible.
Will Men Use Birth Control?
Many women are left with unanswered questions when it comes to male contraception. When it becomes available, are men going to actually use birth control? Can they be relied upon to faithfully use their contraception so as to prevent pregnancy? Yes, but only with the proper education. Even though female birth control, condoms, and spermicide have been around for decades and have been proven to be extremely effective at preventing pregnancy, education about these contraceptive tools is still at an all time low. When male contraception is introduced, teens and adults alike must receive proper education on where it is available and how to use it.
No method of birth control is 100% effective, and only condoms can help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and infections. Whether you’re a guy or a gal, it’s important to take your reproductive health into your own hands. Women, birth control is available to you and can be taken in conjunction with condom use, spermicide use and even male contraception when it becomes available. Educate yourself about your options and stay safe – and smart!