27 October 2016

In the last few weeks I've seen a few articles focused on 'The Male Pill'. This is apparently a generalised term now. As the articles I have read have been on different male contraceptives.
Would you take it? As mentioned on BBC here
 The first thing to say is I think investigating this is a great thing. I find the idea of taking a pill or similar a very scary thing to consider. Having to take medication on a regular basis is something I have become familiar with. But I wouldn't say that makes me any more comfortable with the idea of taking something else. The idea of an injection to the groin, penis or testicles doesn't sound great either. Although the more reliable media seems to suggest the penis and testicles injection is a bit of media hype - But still!

Yet, is this not what most women are seen as having to do? Is there a time when a women thinks 'do I want to do this'? Or is it assumed that they will and their only decision is when to start, not whether.

If you are in a loving relationship (lucky you) then this could provide added protection, or an alternative to the expectation and pressure on one side. I'm not sure I see the benefit as much to single people, but I'll come to that (excuse the pun). One of the problems that some of my female friends have mentioned is the unreliability of the pill for women around the time of menstruation, this then is surely another reason why men taking the pill could be a better option for couples.

For a single person this could still be helpful, given you are potentially sleeping with people you don't know as well. So I'm guessing your not trying to put a baby in her just yet.

The reason why I'm a little less positive here is the pill is to help with birth control. Not sexually transmitted diseases / infections. Which again are much more likely to be an issue for a single person. To be clear, the pill will not stop any STI's. This may all be old hat for women, but it could be a strange new world for men and let's be honest who hasn't had to tell him (or been told) "no, put it on!".

It is important to be clear that this 'pill' is not going to stop you needing to put your rain mac on - that's a condom for anyone that didn't attend the sexual health class I had at uni. Men, I think, often take a back seat with the health side of sex. Carrying a condom is about the most you can hope for from many men. Personally I think this is down to one reason - education.

Do you remember your sex ed at school? No, I struggle to too. But what I do remember is boys and girls being split. This is where it starts. Girls need to know about penis' and boys need to know about vaginas. Both should be taught about puberty, menstruation, STD/Is, birth control, contraception and consent(!). I should probably have warned you I think 'sex ed' should be taught in Primary School. Obviously not 'what are your top sex tips', but rather relationships, communication, trust and respect.

Honestly I think this is some that is not taught at any school level (speaking as someone who's worked in most stages of education). It's like teaching someone to drive, but not how anything in the car works. So you can do it, but you don't know how or why something happens, you can't fix anything and you don't know how yours is similar or different to anyone else's, so you assume either they are all the same or mine is weirdly different.

Thus, my thoughts and feelings are that more education and discussion is needed around sex and relationships.

Back to the pill. The facts - well, as they are reported in mainstream media. 
Vasalgel (the new / current product getting attention) is injected into the male groin under local anaesthetic. It blocks sperm and lasts for 4 years. It can also be reversed with another injection if desired. One of the 'selling points' is that while blocking sperm other fluids can pass through. I take this to mean to can still ejaculate - thank god! 

Vasalgel is currently in testing and if successful could be on shelves between 2018 and 2020. However there are other alternatives that are little bit nearer to trial completion dates. With those focusing on stopping sperm from being able to fertilise an egg or stopping them from swimming. However Vasalgel seems to be the pill getting the coverage and sounds more reliable in terms of what it's trying to do. 

The articles I have read state or at least imply that 'The Male Pill' will be non-hormonal. Again I'm not sciency, but I take this to mean we (men) would experience less side affects. I find this particularly interesting having seen another article today (The pill is linked to depression – and doctors can no longer ignore it - read more here) that stated the pill increases mental health problems for women, particularly teens and those in their early twenties. This article does mention a statistic that I don't agree with, that women are twice as likely to be effected by mental health illnesses than men. My disagreement with this is because of the reporting and data collection - this is a little off point and possibly relevant to 'The Male Pill' but does highlight the importance to correctly understand medication, what it's for, why we take it and the side affects.

At this moment in time we (men) maybe apprehensive about a needle or a pill and so we should be if we know nothing about it. However I ask you, do you know about you wife's/girlfriend's /friend's/sister's experience with the pill, or other birth control? It comes back to those sex ed classes. Girls talk to girls, boys talk to boys. To me that's all wrong. 

As you can probably tell my main hesitation with 'The Male Pill' is probably educational. I would want to know more, which I guess we will when 'The Male Pill' is available in pharmacies. I think I would take a pill. If however it was an injection, which seems more likely. I'm not sure. Even if it's not the penis or testicles, I'm just not sure about an injection into my groin or scrotum or wherever it needs to be. That sounds more serious and scary!

I do think it is an interesting topic for conversation. As a male would you take a pill or have an injection for birth control? As a female would you want men to be able to? Does that help you, mean the responsibility is shared, or are they/we trying to take something away from you?

It may sound strange but I have seen comments (though not articles) with mention of feminism and men trying to take over. I personally don't think many people think that, but maybe they do? 

We'd love to know...
Would you (or your partner) take the pill?
Do you think it's something that could be a big change in contraception?
[Leave a comment] 
Written by Mike Douglas
for Daily Focal


  1. I would happily have the injection over taking a pill. The fact that, if reportedly correctly, the gel would last for 4 years and still (again, subject to more trails and research) allow you to ejaculate are all positives.

    I think the idea that men would be trying to 'take over' is preposterous. I can't believe that people would take such a negative stance on this and immediately try and make distinctions between the sexes yet again. I think contraception should be a responsibility that is shared by both men and women.

  2. I almost feel like people try to look for the negative and turn things into battles or rivalries that are not or shouldn't be there. That's part of the negative reaction with gender stereotyping and the 'protection' of female role identiese.

    For me, if this is to be a successful opportunity rather than just an additional alternative then ejaculation is essential rather than just a positive. But maybe that's just me. Hahaha.

    Thanks for commenting Rich

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