Male Birth Control: Coming Soon But Will Men and Women Use It?

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There has to be a better way!

There has to be a better way!

Whether you’re aware or not, it is very likely that male birth control will be made available within our lifetimes. Actually, with clinical trials in the US scheduled to begin last year, it may be available as early as 2015 if approved by the FDA. When you consider the fact that it’s already been successfully tested in animals and humans for over 25 years, there is little doubt it won’t be approved. However, even if successfully tested, the question remains whether there is a viable market in the US for male birth control or will it be about as popular as dental dam and the female condom? (Bonus points if you even know where to buy dental dam or a female condom; Watch The Throne status if you’ve actually used one or both.) When this discussion arises, as it did on my Twitter timeline last week, there are generally three main points of contention.

How Does Male Birth Control Work?

I’m no scientist, so I have no earthly idea. To be perfectly honest with you, I don’t know how my smart phone works or how women’s birth control works. I just know that if used correctly they are effective 99.9% of the time. Although according to Wired.com, male birth control is 100% effective. They describe the process in the following manner:

The procedure is known by the clunky acronym RISUG (for reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance), but it is in fact quite elegant: The substance that Das injected was a nontoxic polymer that forms a coating on the inside of the vas. As sperm flow past, they are chemically incapacitated, rendering them unable to fertilize an egg.

If the research pans out, RISUG would represent the biggest advance in male birth control since a clever Polish entrepreneur dipped a phallic mold into liquid rubber and invented the modern condom. “It holds tremendous promise,” says Ronald Weiss, a leading Canadian vasectomy surgeon and a member of a World Health Organization team that visited India to look into RISUG. “If we can prove that RISUG is safe and effective and reversible, there is no reason why anybody would have a vasectomy.”

But here’s the thing: RISUG is not the product of some global pharmaceutical company or state-of-the-art government-funded research lab. It’s the brainchild of a maverick Indian scientist named Sujoy Guha, who has spent more than 30 years refining the idea while battling bureaucrats in his own country and skeptics worldwide. He has prevailed because, in study after study, RISUG has been proven to work 100 percent of the time. Among the hundreds of men who have been successfully injected with the compound so far in clinical trials, there has not been a single failure or serious adverse reaction. – Source: Wired.com

What About STDs?

Well, this is awkward.

Well, this is awkward.

The STD discussion is an interesting one because people are selectively self-righteous when it comes to STDs. Most of us have taken a sexual education class, so I won’t bother you with the statistics on the prevalence of STDs in our community, but it seems rather hypocritical to have a discussion about STDs when it comes to men’s birth control, unless we’re willing to have the same discussion about STDs regarding women’s birth control. In fact, we should probably have a discussion on STDs seperately, because whatever we’re currently doing is clearly not very effective. Further, as far as I know, there isn’t a birth control on the planet, male or female, designed to prevent STDs. As the name indicates, birth control controls – within a reasonable amount of error – for unplanned births, not unplanned STDs.

Similar to women’s birth control, I imagine that in order to ease any STD related fears you may have about your partner; you should both get tested whenever you agree to an exclusive, committed relationship. In theory, this is something that should occur regardless of the means of birth control or protection (i.e. condoms or anything short of abstinence) that you decide to employ in your relationship. Perhaps more importantly, if you can’t trust your sexual partner to be faithful to you or at least protect himself or herself when they are apart from you, then that is indicative of a larger issue between you two that has little or nothing to do with your choice to use or not use male birth control when it becomes available. In this instance, you should either: 1) continue using condoms or 2) probably not have sex with someone you clearly don’t trust beyond the four walls of your bedroom.

Finally, can women trust men to take birth control? Why guess? Check out page 2 to see what the statistics say.

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  • Adonis

    This is a rhetorical question.

    I have a 1st generation iPod touch on my persons. It can play music, basic video & take notes with its outdated software. No apps. But to get real ish done, I would not touch it with your d**k.

    Now, when it comes to female birth control, it is a sad reality that the power that be want to sterilize women through these drugs they give them.

    They are not side effects, THOSE ARE THE EFFECTS. As my friend would say.

    You said this a year ago, and I am paraphrasing.

    “I wait until birth control 3.0 or 4.0 comes out.”

    So, about year 2020, I would consider male BC. For now, I need to see how many men drop dead until then.

  • http://twitter.com/Neuronerd17 @Neuronerd17

    My friend just told me about this a few months ago and I think it is another great idea. There is also a male birth control pill being developed in America that after testing on mice found that it was more effective than female birth control for us and did not affect our hormone levels. After stopping the pill the mice returned to the control levels of sperm production. What's most interesting is that when the company that is doing research on this new pill polled a sample size of men, don't remember the number but it was large enough, 75% of them said they would be more than willing to take a form of male birth control, close the percentage you cited in your article. This always surprises me cause it's one of those occurrences where you expect the opposite.

    I think more options is great and to most men this may seem like more assurance of there not being a possible pregnancy scare if you are both taking the proper measures. There are plenty of men who would be just as reliable to take the pill/procedure as women and would definitely take comfort in there being something they can do as well. However, I think the STD talk is still essential for both parties and I hate to be this guy, but especially for younger people. I'll be 25 soon so still young, but I'm surprised when I still hear people who have had sex education classes still think they don't have to use condoms with someone they barely know cause they are on the pill. Maybe less about not knowing and more about the extremely ignorant it can never happen to me. However, what you said is pretty much all that needs to be said to someone. I always just say "Science doesn't work that way, but I guess natural selection knows something I don't"

  • http://www.OpinionatedMale.com Mr SoBo

    I seriously question the success of this product in the U.S. Considering how protective men are over their 'johnson' and 'seedlings', I would imagine an injection lasting 10 years that incapacitates sperm will not be flying off the shelves so to say. Even if it is reversible during that time. I can't imagine American men messing around with their reproductive capabilities. Then again, seeing how society is slowly eroding masculinity from the culture and replacing it with more feminized maleness, perhaps future generations of men won't instinctively value protecting the 'fountain of life' as much and haphazardly opt for products such as this..

    In my experience, men have always seemed extremely hyper protective when it comes to their own reproductive organs. Up until now (and apart from the vasectomy), any physically altering method of birth control (even those with deadly side effects) have been made for and approved for women thus far.

    Men have only relied on an external, non-invasive, non biologically altering device (the condom) since its creation. Meanwhile, pills, patches, injections, hacksaws, etc, all have been the made for women. Perhaps its because females are the vessel where fertility takes place, or it could mean that society values the sperm more than the egg and has chosen not to mess with one side of the equation. Who knows.

    I find that this product would be more appealing to men who don't ever want to have children, or those who tend to focus on the short-term benefits of such advancements, i.e raw dogging and never having to pull out. Which raises other serious concerns. Once the fear and possibility of pregnancy is controlled and eliminated, there may be an increase in unprotected sex (not like most people are using condoms now anyway). Lowered condom use means higher STD rates as you already pointed out.

    Regarding the concerns about women taking the pill… Unless you are standing watching her swallow the pill every night (which is highly unlikely), it is simply a matter of trust that she stays on top of her regimen. Keeping one's fingers crossed and hoping that she is not deviously plotting to trap you by 'accidentally forgetting to take her pill'.

    Sex….*sigh*….we tend to focus on the fun and forget that we are literally gambling with our lives. The things we do, and the trust we give willy nilly all in the name of pleasure.

    Mr. SoBo
    OpinionatedMale.com

    My recent post Here We Go Again: Lame Sh*t People Do (Part II)

    • WisdomIsMisery

      Good points.

      I would only highlight that the reason they claim – and this isn't to say it's the truth – that women's birth control has been prioritized, is because it's easier to stop an event that occurs one time a month – the production of an egg – than an event that happens millions of times a day – the production of semen. Up until this point, they haven't found a way to stop the production in men as effectively as they have been in women. Also, as I said below, while the shot lasts 10-years, it can be reversed at any point during those 10-years with normal reproduction returning within a few months for men. To your point, it then simply becomes a matter of ego if men will choose to use it or not considering we, men and women, rely on a number of FDA approved products each and every day with minimum to no protest.

    • DeKeLa

      I think most men have been hesitant, since the only approved options for us is A) Condom Use or B) Vasectomy.. Most men would object to that choice as I believe a lot of women would reject getting their tubes tied.

      But the pill/shot is a non-surgical procedure and can be reversed, so there is less to risk. All that other stuff about Masculinity is hogwash.

  • J. Crawford

    First, you can find female condoms and dental dams at any CVS, Rite Aid, Target, Walmart and Wallgreens (never used a dental damn and only encountered a female condom ONCE. It was completely akward and a Waste of 5 minutes trying to figure out exactly HOW to enjoy sex with it, SMH).

    I'd use it, but Not the 10-year shot version. If I were with somebody I was serious about and things fell apart within 2yrs of the 10-yr limit, and I met somebody else and I got married (within 4 years). That would be 6yrs into the limit, and IF, hypothetically, my Future Wife wanted to have kids, What do I tell her? Do I even inform her that prior to her I took the Birth Control Shot for somebody else and I still got 4yrs to go befoe I can get you pregnant???? Nope, can't rock with Male BC for now; a Pill I can do, but a 10-year shot is a risk I can't take

    • WisdomIsMisery

      Just to be clear, the "10 year shot" lasts 10 years, but it is completely reversible at any point during those 10 years. If reversed, it takes a few months for normal reproduction to return.

      • J. Crawford

        Interesting………..Gotta see that in action before I reconsider though

  • Smilez_920

    I’m all for male birth control pills. Idk about the 10 yr shot only because it so permanent ( you might want a kid at yr six).

    The male birth control pill will kill all that noise about ” man she tricked me , I thought she was on the pill “. Now men have another contraceptive to protect them from unwanted children.

    Now he has his own pill. If my bf was on the ” pill” I would continue to use some type of protection (the pill, IUd, Nuva ring) for myself. I don’t know why some people think that a man using the pill= women stop taking the pill. You always have to watch out for yourself , just like a woman can forget to her pill, so can a man.

    This also doesn’t mean the usage of condoms should go to the wayside either. I can see dudes getting into casual situations going ( I’m safe I’m on the pill). The pill doesn’t stop stds/ STi’s.

  • amaris79

    Honestly, I think men would be LESS er…"lucky" if male BC were to come to the states. It's difficult enough to get consistent condom usage now. Women would have to consider many more factors when having s*x with a man because chances are from jump it would most likely be hoodless. I'd predict all kindsa new "think like a man…used to think" books coming up with litany of "new rules". Spring break will now come with a waiver. I mean, it'll le vel off, but I see chaos at first.

  • http://www.singleblackmale.org/author/wisdomismisery/ WisdomIsMisery

    A bit confused why people are only focusing on the impact on casual sex as if that is the only sex out there to be had. There are also couples, some of whom are married – dying institution so I’m told – who might prefer a different method of birth control other than one that regulates a woman’s hormone system and has, in some cases, lead to death. The alternative presented today for men doesn’t even regulate hormones and so far, has shown no adverse side effects. So if I understand correctly, it’s ok to regulate as long as it’s women who are put in the line of fire as opposed to men?

    Also, I honestly don’t understand how the influx in STDs will change from the current environment. People, men and women, who are the least likely to use condoms are also the most likely not to use condoms regardless of the forms of birth control that are available to them. Again, birth control controls for birth, not STDs, irresponsibility, or miseducation. As is often said in my line of work, “if you design something that is idiot proof, nature will design a better idiot.” The FDA is not tasked with controlling for idiocy, at some point, there also has to be some personal accountability – this goes for male birth control and life in general.

    - sent from iPhone

    • J. Crawford

      Makes you wonder if much of Stem Cell research is going towards looking into that and trying to come up with wonder drugs to slow down or prevent STD/STI's, or if they have even thought about that. Though they THINK they have the "cure" for HIV…………

      • Southerngyrl_

        I think it depends on which STI/STDs. Some of them can be cured and others have drugs that "manage" it. I don't know the percentages (any sexual health counselors out there?) though.

        Either way, I have never heard of stem cell research going towards curing herpes, but I could be wrong. HIV and AIDS may be a different story.

        • J. Crawford

          IDK if they are actually doing it or not, but it would help the concept of the program besides the constant plans of Cloning and Organ/Skin/Health Regeneration

    • amaris79

      The reason people are considering the casual implications first is because let's face it- there is more sex happening outside of relationships than within them. Also, within a relationship (at least within mine's) b/c methods are discussed, agreed upon, and revisited, as opposed to a more casual discussion ("you got one? you onna pill?") had within a casual understanding wherein personal responsibility is paramount to "let's decide this and deal with the repercussions as a team" assumed in a relationship. As much as we'd like to have people think this is what occurs, detailed health conversations stressing equal responsibility aren't being had in the ten minutes it took for someone to decide two dates was "enough time". This just adds another layer.

      • http://www.singleblackmale.org/author/wisdomismisery/ WisdomIsMisery

        We appear to disagree on where the responsibility lies. I believe it lies with the individual or the couple. I’m repeating myself but, again, birth control – in this form – is not meant to protect from STDs. Condoms are the only contraceptive that do that and, again, in my opinion, people who aren’t going to use confirms (which is their choice, and the repercussions their fault) will continue to do whether or not there is male birth control on the market. This new development likely will and should reduce unplanned pregnancies because it is simply another option. STDs (and people being irresponsible with their health) is really a separate discussion. Stated plainly, irresponsible people are going to do irresponsible things.

        • http://www.singleblackmale.org/author/wisdomismisery/ WisdomIsMisery

          Sorry iPhone won’t let me be great. Forgive the mistakes. Also, Im not sure more sex occurs outside of relationships than in. The majority of people will marry in their lifetimes and studies have repeatedly shown that generally couples have more sex than single people.

  • Beef Bacon

    1) Everybody, what are some of the concerns you would have about a viable male birth control option? I would be concerned about the health risk as I am about the health risk women take with birth control.

    Currently, birth control is primarily the responsibility of women – should it remain that way? No. It is everyone's responsibility. The same way a woman has to carry the child the first nine months, the man has to be in that same child's life forever (if he's worth his salt).

    Would male birth control more equally distribute responsibility? Yes. I am SOOOOOO tired of hearing "she trapped me" (even with the invention of condoms). How can an adult say that and believe it? All parties are aware of that fact that babies are a result of unprotected sex. I will not put my reproductive choices solely into the hands of another. I have to live with every choice I make. Just because I won't abandon my child does not mean the father won't.

    Ladies, would you trust men to use birth control? Why or why not? NO!

    Would you continue to use your preferred method of birth control either way? Always and forever. If I have a child, I….I repeat, I want to be content with taking care of that child come hell or high water. I refuse to bring a vulnerable human being into this world (because I wanted a night of passion) without considering all the outcomes. I love se* just like everyone else, but a baby is a whole other story. I must take every precaution within my power to keep those surprises from happening and if I still get pregnant….to God be the glory cause it was my destiny.

    • Dr. J

      I've never agreed with women thinking they are primarily responsible for birth control when there are women out there, like the majority, who think it's the man's responsibility to buy condoms. It's also a large percentage of women who aren't on birth control because of the effect it has on their bodies, but that doesn't make them anymore likely to buy condoms. Therefore, currently birth control is still a dual responsibility.

      The most widely used form of birth control is condoms. And only a small percentage of women buy condoms.

      • amaris79

        But, but….."He who carries the paynis should carry the condoms"!!!! jk, jk.

      • SMilez_920

        @Beef Bacon
        Women tend to carry the bulk of the responsibility because they are the ones at risk for pregnancy. Momma’s baby daddy’s maybe. Not saying its right, but if a male wants to play ghost, the women is stuck with the burden of raising that child alone. Therefore making sure a slip up doesn’t happen kind of falls on our shoulders especially if you and the other person stop using condoms. But I agree with the male Birth control pill, now every man from the average Joe to our favorite male celebrity can stop using the “she trapped me” line.

        Dr.Jay: As a woman I feel each individual is responsible for their own safe method of Birth control (the pull out method doesn’t count). Therefore a condom is the safe method he’s brining to the table, plus he can pick the brand that fits him best. It’s funny you brought up “women providing condoms”, from looking at my time line last week there’s still a sort of stigma around a women having her own stash on deck/carrying her own supply (something about her looking easy).

        • GirlSixx

          "But I agree with the male Birth control pill, now every man from the average Joe to our favorite male celebrity can stop using the “she trapped me” line."

          LOL Girl, Bye!!!

          Please it will still be that ONE BROTHA who will TRY IT and be like "Yo, B that chick couldn't even tell a ninja from jump she was mad furtile, she got your boy for the next 18yrs..!!

        • Smilez_920

          lol Frist it was "She poked holes in the condom" then it'll be "she messed with my Bc pack" it's always that one

  • Dr. J

    Didn't see all the comments but get those wifey condoms out of here in that picture!!!

    her: why you call them wifey condoms?
    me: because if it breaks…. [shrugs] it's wifey!

  • Dr. J

    Why is my comment about the wifey condoms not showing up?

    Those are horrible condoms man lmao.

  • Southerngyrl_

    I think cloning usually makes the news more often (haven't seen a major article about it in a while) but for the most part stem cell research is gunning for the big ones, cancer and heart disease. I don't think the core focus is on cloning. Regeneration in itself is a big part of what it is supposed to do.

  • charchar

    Yay for progress! It's about time! Let's hope that this well aid in slowing the baby mama & daddy epidemic that we are currently suffering from right now….

  • Kopa

    I would love it if me and the guy could both be on birth control. It would take such a huge load off my back. Right now I'm mad careful about taking the pill everyday, I'm talking two reminders on two phones, and ALWAYS checking the pill box before going to bed, even if I was 100% sure I took it that day, my paranoia won't let me sleep without checking. So if I could give some of that burden to him (one reminder is on his phone and he has the responsibility of reminding me, so that I feel less like forgetting is only my fault), that would be awesome. And 99,9% + 100% = NO BABY.

    Plus I could occasionally give my hormones a break. Which would also be nice.

    (By the way, like WIM assumed somewhere above, women have been getting pills and injections etc. because their hormonal cycle is easily predictable, whereas men's reproductive organs are to our knowledge ready all the time. So for women's pill all you needed was to put hormones in which are in women's bodies when their cycle is in NOBABY-mode, and you got a working cocktail. Men are trickier.)

  • JazMaTazz

    Maybe I've been played by too many people in my day but my number one concern for this is the idea that there would no longer be any incentive to stay faithful. You have a man who can't get you pregnant, can't get any other women pregnant, and this unrestricted love of s*x that ppl tend to have that clouds all better judgement. Where would people garnish the ability to "grow up and take responsibility?" That goes for being in relationships or not. I feel like honestly STDs and unplanned pregnancies happen by design for order, People understand that a certain lifestyle can't fly because of the fear of consequences or actually receiving the consequence. We're imposing our selfishness into the universe of not wanting to wait or be inconvenienced and in the process invoking all types of disorder! It actually kind of bothers me that we even use responsibility in the context of safe sex. Not tryna sound like an afterschool special but dang if I'm not tryna get pregnant, and you're not tryna get me pregnant, why can't we just use our hands and go to sleep? It really ain't that great and doesn't last long enough… But I guess this isn't the popular viewpoint…Would I trust a man to use the shot? Honestly, I feel like more would than wouldn't unless they actually want to marry you…

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