Hey, Have You Heard About Birth Control for Men?

I've been thinking a lot about birth control lately. Female bodied people use hormonal birth control these days for lots of reasons and not all of them have to do with avoiding reproduction, i.e. to lessen pre-menstrual and menstrual symptoms and discomfort, get rid of periods all together and even clear up acne. My personal experience is like that of many women, one of trial and thankfully more mindless stress than actual error.

infographic curtesy of blisstree.com
I've mostly avoided hormonal birth control at all costs, but recently decided I would test out the Mirena IUC, which provides a very small amount of hormones locally within the uterus and lasts up to five years. I've been told it will either make my periods disappear (fingers crossed) or make them completely irregular. Here's a similar story of the experience of getting a copper IUD/IUC in cartoon format (NSFWish).

In my work and thought process leading up to this decision I've seen a few headlines go by about potential birth control options for men. Every time I go to Planned Parenthood I always seem to end up asking them lots of questions. I am a curious girl at heart and I try to know as much as I can.

I've always been very curious about forms of birth control for male bodied people. So as the doctor was staring at my lady parts and about to start poking around in some very sensitive areas, in my quest to know about all safe and effective birth control options, I popped the question:

"So are there any other birth control option out there for men? Other than vasectomy (sterilization) or condoms?"

She didn't miss a beat, "No, just those two so far..."

I continued, "I have read recently about a couple potential methods one a reversible shot and the other... I think it involves ultrasound..."

She hadn't heard of either although she had recently attended a conference about birth control... Hum... Why is no one even mentioning this stuff? Is it too experimental, too controversial, not a priority for medical science, not a profitable channel for pharmaceutical companies or is birth control just not of interest to men? My mind wanders and wonders...

I even took the opportunity to ask some unwitting penis having subjects. I was sitting watching TV with my lover and his roommate. A Nuva Ring commercial came on and we all sat there awkwardly waiting for it to end. I became impatient in the awkward silence and decided to chat them up. "So here's something I bet you haven't heard of: birth control for men..." I was right, they hadn't heard of it, but they weren't opposed to the idea. Here I had two thoughtful and mostly responsible males who might be down to control their own reproductive health and they might not be alone. But the truth was they hadn't even really considered the topic until I brought it up.

The scientists wrote: 'The non-invasive nature of ultrasound and its efficacy in reducing sperm count make therapeutic ultrasound a promising candidate for a male contraceptive. Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2093722/Male-contraceptive-Zap-ultrasound-kills-sperm.html#ixzz1tP6uqbgU

Of course these methods of birth control don't protect anyone from STIs and you should definitely get yourself (and your partner(s)) tested before you decide to become fluid bonded. But if you've ever had a broken condom, pregnancy scare or an unexpected pregnancy you know that back-up birth control also can mean freedom and peace of mind and control over the life changing effects of pregnancy for both male and female bodied people.

What do you think, guys? If you had this option would you try it? Ladies would you trust your man to take on this responsibility? Do you think single and/or married people would be interested in these options? Have you heard about any of these options for men? I'd love to learn more. Tweet at me @kristaanetwork or comment below.

(This post was originally written for momsinbabeland.com. I've now decided to post it here instead. For some reason every post I ever wrote on that site has disappeared... hum...)

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