Stopping the Swimmers – the male contraceptive pill?

If, and when, the male contraceptive pill becomes available, would you be okay with your partner taking it? And, would this mean you would stop your own contraceptive routine?

The male contraceptive is, according to researchers, about a decade away. But Monash University researchers are slowly bringing the idea closer to fruition.

They have discovered a way to stop sperm swimming by mutating a gene that delivers fuel to the engine room in a sperm’s tail.

The discovery followed that of a team of international scientists. They discovered that a cancer drug, already in use, could also be used as a reversible contraceptive in male mice.

I feel if I have any male readers, they may be squirming right now.

But, while the details of the drug sound confusing, it could be a good thing for men. It could be empowering.
This is how the contraceptive pill was for women in the 1960s. Finally, women could control their bodies, have a say in the decisions regarding sex, children and families.

And for men, that choice is now up to them: no more “trick” pregnancies, no more fear of the condom breaking on a one-night stand. More control, more decisions, and more responsibility.

But, some of the responses from women I find are interesting. There appears to be an vague idea floating around that if men can take a contraceptive pill, that’s taking away something from women. There’s a lot of mistrust. A lot of “my husband can’t remember to take the washing off the line, how would he remember to take that?” I can’t remember to take the washing off the line but I remember routinely to take my contraceptive pill. And if I don’t, I have a reminder set on my phone to ensure I can’t forget. The joys of technology, right?

There are many positives for women in the advent of a male contraceptive pill.

Women in a relationship could take a break from the pill, allowing their partner to bear the brunt of contraceptive responsibility. This allows their body to breathe, to have a break from the side affects of the pill, if so desired.

But I wonder how many women would give up the freedom the pill provides.

Taking the pill is not only about making a responsible contraceptive choice. It provides women with a routine, especially important to women with irregular periods. It gives us the power to skip our period which can stuff up beach holidays, increase the stress of exam time or just be irritatingly inconvenient. And (my favourite), it can help clear up and control acne.

To me, the best choice would be for you both to take it, right? Both of you are in control, it’s a team effort.

So to the men out there, I know there are some of you (you liked us on Facebook): would you try out a contraceptive pill? What would your concerns be in taking the pill?

And for our female readers, would you be happy to let your partner be solely responsible for contraception? Let us know in the comment section below, tweet us @Cheaper_Rubies or write us a Facebook message. We’d love to hear your thoughts!

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7 Comments

Filed under Mind, Body and Soul, The Lust Files

7 responses to “Stopping the Swimmers – the male contraceptive pill?

  1. The line “discovered a way to stop sperm swimming by mutating a gene that delivers fuel to the engine room in a sperm’s tail.” really makes me hesitant of the idea, it makes me worried regarding the possible side effects in the long-term. There are enough issues in recent times of men being infertile as it is due to changes in more modern lifestyles etc. and it can surmount to more pressure regarding the whole issue.

    Otherwise the ‘idea’ of one is great, I personally don’t think I would take it (being in a long term relationship, where the girl is taking the pill and has been for many years), however it could definitely be useful in instances where the girl may not be able to take one due to issues (even thought they have tried various different types of the pill), or for a single man who would like extra piece of mind/assurance if they are a bit ‘promiscuous’.

    • I think the point you raise about the long-term effects of the machinations of the suggested pill is a valid one, but I doubt it will released to the market until the related tests are done. I do believe the trick lies in it being a mutation in the sperm themselves through hormone changes rather than an altering of the way they are produced in the body, sort of like how temperature has an effect on sperm cells. So basically, it will only effect the sperm produced during the period where the pill’s being taken, and not those produced when the subject is off them.

      Here’s a great article that goes a little more into the science of the proposed pill: http://www.geekosystem.com/male-birth-control-pill/

  2. This is an interesting idea. I personally don’t see any advantage to taking any medication like this – as a gay male there is little chance of a surprise pregnancy haha. I can however see the use of such a medication. Some women, for a variety of reasons are unable to take the contraceptive pill, and so having their partner be able to take it instead adds that extra amount of control when it comes to sex. While no medication will ever be sure to totally eliminate the chance of pregnancy happening in heterosexual sexual encounters (short of sterilisation), I do believe that such a pill could be used in cases where the woman is unable to take the pill, and the male contraceptive pill can be used in conjunction with other contraceptive methods to ensure no ‘surprises’ emerge.

    • As someone who has fallen into the category of ‘woman who can’t take contraceptives for medical reasons’, I totally agree! It’s a great second option, and makes the ‘are you on the pill?’ question a two-way street, doubling the chances that one of you will already be in some kind of contraceptive routine.

  3. I’d like to just add as a post-script – here at Cheaper Than Rubies, we greatly support the use of condoms and regular sex health check-ups, especially since even if this pill comes into existence, it won’t stop the spread of STIs. Don’t forget that pregnancy isn’t the only thing that needs to be considered in terms of playing safe. (Pun intended.)

  4. I’ve had this conversation more than once with the boyfriend. If the option was there – I’d totally make him take it!

  5. Geoff

    It’s only fair that if he expects it of you you should be able to expect it of him.

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