Would You Trust The Man You’re Seeing With Birth Control?
An alarm set on a cell phone dings so its owner remembers to take her birth control pill at the same time every day. A condom wrapper tears moments before consensual intercourse.
When it comes to birth control use in heterosexual relations, much of the planning and pressure falls on women. While men should also share the responsibility of taking precaution to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases by carrying condoms and discussing birth control options with a partner before having sex, casual sex often doesn’t leave as much time as necessary for planning, and men cannot make a choice for their female partner on a non-prophylactic method.
Depending on a woman’s healthcare plan and sex education, her birth control options vary. But based on a study conducted by Contraception in America, two in five women aren’t using any method of birth control despite the fact that they are not trying to conceive a child.
In the survey, many of these women said that they didn’t see themselves at medium or high risk of accidental pregnancy, while statistics say that 31 percent of women have experienced an accidental pregnancy in their lives. Many women were confused about the effectiveness of emergency contraception such as the morning-after pill, and one in ten had experienced birth control failure such as a broken condom, and 39 percent said that in the past 30 days, they had not used a birth control method despite being at risk of pregnancy.
With so many sexually active women facing unplanned pregnancy, wouldn’t it be helpful if their male partners had a way to more equally share the birth control burden? An August 2012 study published in science journal Cell shows that a form of the pill may one day be an option for men.
Many previous studies have tried to find a way to reduce sperm count. In January 2012, CBS reported that a method using ultrasound to kill sperm was being studied, but research was still needed to determine the lasing effects of ultrasound use would last, if they could be reversed for men who someday wish to have children, and if it would be safe for men to use multiple times.
In June of 2012, about six months later, CBS reported on a study that tested a gel that men could potentially use at home to lower sperm concentration. The gel contains a synthetic hormone called Nesterone that would increase the contraceptive effectiveness of testosterone in men.
However, drugs that affect testosterone levels in men similarly to how the pill affects estrogen levels in women don’t always lower fertility, and drug companies were turned off by side effects such as breast enlargement in men, according to CBS reports.
The most promising study comes from Scottish researchers, who discovered the male gene necessary to create sperm. A team of scientists in the United States injected male mice with a drug that blocked the gene, and test results showed that it rendered the mice infertile. Once mice were taken off the drug, they became fertile and were able to reproduce healthy offspring.
“Men should be given additional opportunities to participate in safe contraception, both to allow them more control over their own fertility and to ease the health burden of unwanted pregnancies and contraception incurred by women,” Dr. William Bremner, an expert in fertility at the University of Washington in Seattle, wrote in a commentary in Cell.
However, fertility specialist Dr. Martin Matzuk of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, who was part of the team of scientists who conducted this promising study, mentions the next challenge facing men after an effect contraceptive pill is released: Will women trust men to take it?
Science Daily reports that 70 percent of men said they would be willing to take a male birth control pill, and sex and relationship website Em & Lo received varied answers when they asked their male friends if they would use a male birth control pill and if women should trust them to do so daily.
“Men can be forgetful, lazy, and lie — they will often say anything to get sex, and many wouldn’t hesitate to tell their partners they were on the pill if they thought it would get them lucky,” Em & Lo contributor John Ross said.
Fellow contributor David Jacobs disagreed. “Most guys don’t want kids and all the entanglement that goes along with them (until of course they do). And most guys can remember to shower, shave, pay their rent and cable bills with regularity, so why not this too?”
There was one thing the guys could agree on: if the pill was beer flavored, they would be far more motivated to take it daily. Sigh.
Trust issues are as old as the history of male and female relationships. Speculation of affairs and cheating, jealousy, and emotional boundaries are all issues couples have to work through, or face the possibility of letting them ruin a relationship.
If assuring your partner you’re on the pill is good enough for him, shouldn’t it be good enough for you?
What do you think of the possibility of male birth control? Would you trust it? Share your opinions in the comments below.
Written by Lauren Slavin
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