Male Birth Control: Closer Than We Thought?


In February, I reported on a study in Australia that offered men a shot of testosterone in order to reduce the risk of them impregnating a sexual partner. “According to [Sydney’s] Daily Telegraph, studies have shown that the proposed treatment is 95% effective, about the same as the pill for women, and men are able to impregnate three months after they stop.”

And now interest for the product has made its way to the U.S. According to ABC News, “a large study published Monday in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism indicates that science may be bringing us closer to a male ‘pill,’ although the idea of hormones for male birth control still stokes a heated debate among doctors.”

Anything of this magnitude would cause debate from experts over the health hazards. I, however, wondered what men would think of this. In a completely unscientific poll of my male friends, an overwhelming amount (all 21 except one, actually) said they would be willing to use it, provided it had gone through enough testing to prove it were safe.

However, some of the responses made me a bit worried. It should be said that these were generally sexually active men from 21-33, mostly in New York. But some characterized it as a “temporary vasectomy,” and were under the impression that they wouldn’t have to worry about impregnating women.

This made me pause—would a world with male birth control mean a world where men thought condoms weren’t necessary? Could we end up with the perception that unprotected sex is safe?

Not to say that men can’t comprehend the difference between pregnancy and disease, but as long as sexual education in the country remains largely focused on abstinence-only curriculums, and not on ways to prevent STIs, adding the option of male birth control to the mix could produce some unintended consequences.

On the other hand, what better way to even out the playing field? I grew up part of a generation of women who always had oral contraceptive as an option and generally, when in a committed relationship, a burden. This is one thing I wouldn’t mind letting the men worry about for a little while.

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

  • invalid-0

    …no longer an option. So sorry.

  • invalid-0

    This made me pause—would a world with male birth control mean a world where men thought condoms weren’t necessary? Could we end up with the perception that unprotected sex is safe?

    Elisabeth, it’s no different than what we have today when women take the Pill. I think most folks know that you use a condom for the first few months, and then once your tests come back consistently negative and enough trust has been built up, you can go without.

  • invalid-0

    It’s about time that this is truely explored! Just because a man will possibly be able to take his own form of the pill doesn’t mean that he won’t have sense enough to still practice safe-sex. How many men have ended up father’s over many, many years because he had to rely on the female being honest about her birth control usage? If both partners are preventing an unplanned birth that should raise the protective barrier. People should have options period. Most doctors will still have a short talk about protecting oneself sexually to be sure that one is aware of the consequences of sexual decisions.

  • invalid-0

    Because “paternity fraud” is so easy now, when a simple DNA test can be done by any Tom, Dick, or Maury. Poor dudes! It’s almost as though they are forced into having to prove their lack of culpability in a situation, like a victim of rape or domestic violence. Suck it up, buttercup. Paternity tests have been around for a long time.

  • invalid-0

    I cant wait to be able to help in this department. I dont think it is fair to women to be he only ones who can take birth control and its not fair to the men who have to pester the women to go get and take the birth control (I have a daughter from a previous marriage where my wife refused to go get birth control cuz she said it was “too hard to remember” to take the pill every day or to get a shot every 3 months…). I just cant wait. I am just a little worried about what the side effects will be. I have been doing research and I found that the most common were decreased sex drive and virility. Those dont sound fun to me. What is the point of being on contraceptives in a commited relationship if there is no sex drive. I have seen what some womens birth control has done to thier sex drive. I dont want that to happen to me.

  • invalid-0

    What is the point of being on contraceptives in a commited relationship if there is no sex drive. I have seen what some womens birth control has done to thier sex drive. I dont want that to happen to me.

    Amen. What we really need is a contraceptive that increases libido. In both a male and female form ^_^

  • invalid-0

    “Please please please release your sperm!” whaaaa! “I partied and promiscuousized and careered my best fertile years away and now I can’t control the situation, dupe a man, and get a baby just by surreptitiously going off the pill” whaaaa!

  • invalid-0

    Easy…simple, you betchya. Well, this new baby denier is needed cut women off from being unfit and unworthy mothers. Man Shopping is no longer an option.

    There is no time limit on when mothers can receive child support or arrears. It would be equally fair for men to have the same amount of time to discover paternity fraud, in the absence of any laws that require moms to tell the TRUTH about paternity (ie full disclosure of all possible fathers).

    How can 60 days for challenging paternity be equal to 18+ years of paying child support?

    The paternity fraud issue is not about the best interest of he child. The mom and Child Support Enforcement want money with no regard about true paternity. Sadly, anyone picked by the mom that is unfortunate enough to believe her accusation will do just fine. So what if 30% of men tested for paternity were not the bio-dads?

  • harry834

    but I just want to verify where you found the 30% figure. Can I look it up some where?

    At any rate, I agree that paternity fraud is an injustice, even if the figure was .0002 %. If you can direct me to some good statistics, I might have some things to learn and absorb.

    Though any incidence of female-on-male injustice does not erase the incidence of male-on-female injustice. And I do believe it is legitamite for movements/organizations to selectively focus on one or the other. Why?

    1.) An Organization/movement can’t focus on anything and everything. Each issue, no matter how braodly defined, will always have a thousand sub-issues. The time, money, mental focus, and themes in messaging only stretch so far. No one faults disability groups for not focusing on non-disabled victims of injustice. No one faults vetererans groups for not focusing on non-veteran homeless people. There is only so much to go around

    2.) Any issue will need groups that focus specifically and exclusively on it. The sub-issues and concerns of any issue, no matter how generally defined, will need organizations/movements that focus exclusively on it, for the same reasons we need scientists that focus on specifical poblems like disease, renewable energy, space exploration, etc. It’s great that some groups can focus on multiple minorities, and include environment and economics, but sometimes the specific issues (made of hundreds of sub-issues) get lost in that big mix, and so need exclusive focus groups.

    This site’s focus on male-on-female injustice (which I am proud of), may not make it possible for much discussion on female-on-male injustice. But I’m creating another blog, with another identity. I haven’t written anything yet, but I think I’m gearing up for my forst post.

    The site is called: Male Desire and Feminism, and I’m planning to talk about all things related to misogyny AND misandry (however small the percentage of actual misandry may be). I believe that any injustice from any gender is wrong, no matter how small the percentage. But I also believe we must maintain a sense of proportion and thus should not claim that a problem that happens 10% of the time happens 60% of the time. We don’t need to exaggerate percentages to bring attention to an injustice. 

    Hopefully, I’ll get the first post going this week, – with my general beliefs on the whole issue – and you, Mother Decider, can decide where you might like to fit in to this new blog forum.

    And of course, RH Reality folks and feminists, anti-misogynists are welcome too. I think the blog will give me a chance to air some views that may clash a bit with both sides, but that’s the journey. And I’m happy to listen to future comments, whether criticism or praise, from either and all sides.

    Enjoy Male Desire and Feminism

    …when I have more than a blank page LOL

  • invalid-0

    …and therefore this despicable act is no longer an “issue.” Men may now choose to surreptitiously deny a woman’s attempt to birth annuities at his expense and ruin.

  • invalid-0

    Bear in mind. Harry…the 30% stat reflects a self-selecting pool, and is not representative of the population as a whole.

  • harry834

    Thanks for the insight, ahunt.

    It will be interesting to see which men’s rights advocates might comment on my new blog, and the stats they bring to the table. I really wish I didn’t have to work for a living. Then I would spend all day verifying every claim and statistic made by advocates, including the ones here.

     

  • invalid-0

    Yes, it is a percent of the men actually tested. Pity those who were not as they enter a life of a bankrolled cuckold.

    http://www.paternityfraud.com

  • think4urself

    BabyDenier, I hardly think women will be begging men for a baby. Please grow up and post something relevant to the discussion next time.

    ~Never let others do your thinking for you~

  • harry834

    to curse out infertile women with the word "barren"?

    Being infertile is NOT the same as being someone who would trick a man. Do you really think infertility clinics are full of women who are secretly scheming to committ deception to get a baby?

  • harry834

    an uncle of mine suggested it too: women who go around cruising for men not for dating, but to see if their features can create a good-looking baby.

    This sounds like the plot of the science-fiction movie "Species". Again, I’m sure there are cases of this happening, but it sounds like the exception (possibly very small) rather than the rule.

    I still will say that any injustice, no matter how small the percent, is wrong and shoul be addressed by some group. BUT it is wrong, an deceptively misrepresentative for anyone to suggest than an atypical problem is typical. It is wronger still to suggest that the majority of women are out to committ this crime, when only a tiny number do.

    This gross exaggeration and painting of generalizations IS misogyny.

  • invalid-0

    Physical features: red herring nonsense. What they are cruising for is the highest earner. Lets not fool ourselves. Always follow the money. Nothing short of maternal prostitution. The Male BabyControl Pill is a good start…. Regarding gross exaggeration and painting of generalizations you can reference IMBRA. It is a law passed on gross exaggerations painted as facts. Misandry? Don’t know enough to say that making generalizations implies one gender hates another but of course feminists are always quick to throw out the word misogyny whenever anyone disagrees with them regarding an issues that is important – to them. However, IMBRA is a great injustice that was driven by emotion. Thus far, the federal government has largely ignored enforcement of the law and those responsible for passing it – so not everyone is pandering to those special interests and for good reason.

  • colleen

    In regard to IMBRA, if by ‘emotion’ you mean a pattern of spousal murders and abuse of mail order brides by the worst sorts of men than I suppose you’re right.

    All IMBRA does is require a criminal background check and full disclosure of any crimes of domestic violence.

     

  • invalid-0

    “All IMBRA does is require a criminal background check and full disclosure of any crimes of domestic violence.”

    You conveniently left this off the end of your statement:

    “…that must be provided to and receipt of acknowledged in writing by the foreign woman before any form of communication can begin with the American man.”

    That is, before they write emails to each other while they sit in their respective home countries thousands of miles apart. How does that provision of the law protect anyone from “spousal murders and abuse?” This communication condition was made part of the law by two feminist organizations that drafted IMBRA. Since no logical explanation has been established for this requirement, it must have been based on anger – enough anger to brand all American men, and especially those who would so blatantly choose to avoid a feminist relationship paradigm, as abusers in the eyes of foreign women. Guilty to proven innocent. At least the federal government has finally read into the vindictive nature of the law and the GAO reports no enforcement – it is constantly violated and yet after three years since its passage, there has not been one attempt at prosecution. And there never will be. In fact, the only Internet related spousal murder of a foreign woman in the past three years was by an American man who met her through MATCH.COM, a company that cut a deal to be exempt from IMBRA. Um, so nice going feminist law writers. Nice going.

  • colleen

    You conveniently left this off the end of your statement:
    "…that must be provided to and receipt of acknowledged in writing by
    the foreign woman before any form of communication can begin with the
    American man."
    That is, before they write emails to each other while they sit in their
    respective home countries thousands of miles apart.

    I left out several things.. The regulations apply to marriage brokers (and the men who use them, of course)  and require a criminal background check and full disclosure of any DV crimes and felonies. They also require the disclosure of all convictions for domestic violence, assault and battery, child abuse or neglect, elder abuse, and any multiple convictions for alcohol or drug abuse related offenses for ‘k’ visa sponsors.

    It does not say that the young women can’t write you,  it requires that you come with a warning label, so to speak. It lets her know what she’s getting into.

     

    This communication condition was made part of the law by two feminist organizations that drafted IMBRA.

    Sam Brownback is a feminist organization? Who knew?

    it must have been based on anger – enough anger to brand all American
    men, and especially those who would so blatantly choose to avoid a
    feminist relationship paradigm, as abusers in the eyes of foreign women

    Yes, that must be it. In order to avoid a "feminist relationship paradigm"  real American men must be drunks who beat the crap out of their wives, rape the kids and stalk the neighbors. Either that or a pimp and sex trafficker.

     

     

     

     

  • invalid-0

    Renk. Regading IMBRA, why must a man provide all that information before the woman is permitted to communicate with him? How does saying hello prior to receiving all that information expose her to abuse since the stated goal of IMBRA is to protect women from abuse? Perhaps you can be the first person brave enough to answer that question logically. What is being done about the Jana Claudia Gomez Menedez case whereby the “Match.com exemption” led to the death of a foreign woman? What are you doing about the embarrassing brush off from the Feds regarding the enforcement of IMBRA? Three years, no results, you know you guys get a D- at best. Lastly, what a shame the entire campaign to get all the states to pass IMBRA-type laws has flopped. The attempt in Maryland was squashed by, well, the same folks who have violated IMBRA for the past three years. Make that an F+

  • colleen

    Regading IMBRA, why must a man provide all that information before the woman is permitted to communicate with him

    The woman CAN choose to communicate with him, it’s just that there are very few women who regard, for example, a drunk with an anger management problem or a child rapist as viable husband material. Cruel and unfair I know…

    you know you guys get a D- at best.

    Beyond having read it and an awareness of sex traffickers and abusive men I’ve nothing to do with this law. I find the men who object to disclosing their felony convictions….amusing.
    I do believe that women in the US would do well to run background checks on the men they date or plan to marry.

  • invalid-0

    No man objects to disclosing anything. Nice red herring. What is objectionable is to be required to that before sending a love letter half way around the world. That is what IMBRA requires. Read it again. The woman can communicate with him AFTER she is receives the background information only. Until then she is not permitted to communicate with him even if she “chooses” to because his contact information will not be sent to her until she signs a document stating that she received it. IMBRA and its supporters assumes the woman is total moron. Nice. Patronizing. Typical.

  • invalid-0

    Having sole control over conception and termination of conception is an awesome amount of power, particularly when one realizes what this has done to family law. Because feminists essentially have total control over all aspects of reproduction, feminist legal principles extending from Rowe v. Wade came to dominate family law, impressing these values on culture from the trial court bench.

    Despite having the most effective birth control methods available in the history of womankind, the rate of illegitimacy has increased over the past 30 years. Women have taken reproductive advantage of men in astonishing numbers. The really sick part is that society blames this all on men, who have very little control over contraception at all.

    When the “male pill” becomes widely available, I predict we will see profound changes in culture, social data, and legal decisions surrounding the “gender power equation”. Very few men want to end up being served up on the platter of radical feminism. There is no doubt in my mind that the vast majority of men will be highly responsible with birth control, where women have failed so miserably.

    Men finally need the right to decide who they are going to get pregnant with. When we can, we will be well on the way towards ending Rowe v. Wade and the plethora of feminist family law principles that fall out of that decision.

    The male pill will bring about a tremendous realignment of gender power in relationships. Women will no longer be society’s “free agents”. The power-sharing institution known as marriage will become the norm.

    Over time, we will see a realignment of legal principles towards responsibility-based marriage in which men are treated much more fairly. Why will this take place? When illegitimacy ends, the feminist-political-media complex will not be able to use men as the scapegoats of the world. Men will commonly be treated with more respect, and men will be in a clear position to demand it.

    The greater illegitimacy problem is clearly not one of abstinence – it revolves around the fact that men have little control over when they get pregnant. Empowering men to end the illegitimacy problem is precisely what is needed.

    Those who want to end abortion have a powerful way to end political support for Rowe v. Wade. Most men desperately do not want the problems that go with out-of-wedlock pregnancy. Men learn at a very early age they don’t get anything out of an out-of-wedlock birth except discrimination, a huge child support order, and the condemnation of society. In fact, we can predict that men will be far more responsible about using birth control than women are because they are the only ones who have a strong incentive to use it. Abortion will become a relic of the past when women rarely get pregnant out of wedlock.

    Cultural restoration of marriage depends decisively on the male pill. Men hate the welfare state. They remain unwilling victims of its predatory practices to this very day. The divorce revolution succeeded only because it rode the coattails of the welfare state, which created the notion that we should entitle women for having children out of wedlock. When this entitlement diminishes, reforming the divorce revolution will become a separate and politically approachable problem. When men finally have equal reproductive power, the cultural institution of marriage will become the most popular option – because it is the only institution in which men have equal rights in family, home, and society.

  • invalid-0

    My prediction, for what will happen when a “male Pill” becomes available? Roe v. Wade will remain safe (what is this Rowe v. Wade case you keep referring to?), marriage rates won’t change appreciably (unless same-sex marriage is legalized nationally—then they might go up a bit), and men and women will have more satisfying and worry-free sex, as the responsibility for contraception is finally shared equally between the sexes.

    Granted, I’m not some brainiac social scientist or anything, so I don’t have a lot to go on for my prediction. But I think it’s a lot more likely than your scenario, in which the male Pill is actually a tiny time machine that will send us all back to the 1950s.

  • http://agiftbasket.info invalid-0

    Hmm… I wonder how the shot of testosterone could prevent pregnancy. I thought this hormone only increases the male principle and the chances for women to get pregnant. If this method really works I would definitely like to try it out.