Let’s face it. Men can be very targeted with their masculinity. Show us a deer that needs killing, a wall that needs smashing, or a bucket of fried food that needs eating and we’ll flex our nuts like we’re John Wayne. We all have egos, but men tend to jump at the chance to feed those egos more than most. Sure, it gets us in trouble and we make asses of ourselves in the process, but it makes us feel manly and that’s all we need.
Men may be overly simple creatures in that respect, but by excessively targeting our masculinity, we leave ourselves vulnerable. It doesn’t matter how thick our manly armor is. If there’s a target on our ass, we’ll get hit and we’ll still whine about it more than we dare admit.
This is why the recent news surrounding the first male birth control shot caught my attention. For those of you too distracted by the World Series, the economy, or sexy romance/erotica novels (hopefully written by me), here’s a quick and dirty recap.
In a study co-sponsored by the UN, a group of 320 healthy men in monogamous relationships were recruited to test a new male birth control method. This method involved two injections given every eight weeks, one consisting of a synthetic form of testosterone and the other consisting of a derivative of the female hormones progesterone and estrogen.
I’m not a doctor. I’m barely qualified to make a cheese sandwich so please don’t take my assessment as definitive. Based on what I’ve read about this procedure, it’s basically a one-two punch of hormones basically tricks a man’s body into thinking it doesn’t need to produce sperm anymore. That’s good if you don’t want to be on the wrong end of a paternity test.
There’s just one problem though and it’s a problem that is making women everywhere roll their eyes and resist the urge to punch something. The study ended because, according to CNN, the men became concerned when side-effects like mood disorders and depression emerged.
On the surface, that sounds like a reasonable concern. If something is affecting your mood that badly, then you should be concerned. If this were just a new blood pressure drug, it wouldn’t be news. The problem is this drug affects our sex lives and in a culture where a wardrobe malfunction becomes a national scandal, it’s going to be news.
If those effects involved men growing a third limb or having the sudden urge to sing show tunes in public, it may be news for all the right reasons. Unfortunately, those reasons are nowhere to be found this time. Instead, this news basically gives women everywhere an excuse to bust more balls and honestly, I can’t say I blame them.
Why can’t I blame them? Well, check out WebMD and look up the side effects of hormonal birth control for women, which has been legal and available for 50 years now. Here’s a quick rundown of the side-effects.
- Weight gain
- Sore or swollen breasts
- Small amounts of blood, or spotting, between periods
- Lighter periods
- Mood changes
These side-effects may not be on par with migraines, dry heaves, and explosive diarrhea, but they’re nothing to scoff at. Women have been enduring them for years and they endure them because they want to have some measure of control over their reproductive destiny. That’s objectively a good thing. We all want to control our lives. That should include the stuff that goes on in our bodies.
However, when it comes to contraception, there’s an undeniable imbalance in terms of who has to take the shot and who has to endure the side-effects. For men, there are no side-effects to condoms other than having to worry about whether your lovers have a latex allergy. They’re also cheap, easy to use, and don’t involve pumping chemicals into our bodies. By all accounts, it’s pretty damn easy.
Compare that with female birth control, which requires either a dose of chemicals or inserting something right up through the vagina and into the uterus. They endure this whereas men will go to any length to avoid inserting anything into their penis. That just doesn’t seem fair, does it?
We humans already have an innate sense of fairness built into our brain wiring. When we see something that we know is unfair, it tends to cause us distress. This discrepancy in contraception definitely triggers that response, if only indirectly.
The fact that women have to bear such a greater burden when utilizing contraception is definitely an issue. I believe it’s part of what fuels some of the gender issues that are driving women apart. Again, this may be indirect, but it’s an effect we can’t ignore.
In nature, when there’s an imbalance, any living system, be it a blob of pond scum or the whole of human civilization, will work to rectify it. Creating contraception that shares the burden between men and women equally is part of an effort that has been going on for centuries, often with unequal results.
A story like this just exposes that inequality even more. It reminds us that men are not bearing their share of the burden. It’s still on the women to make sure that they’re on contraception and that it works. All men can bring to the table is condoms and condoms don’t involve injections into genitals.
This study is definitely a setback and one that’s sure to frustrate women for quite some time. To those women out there, I would only urge patience. I believe that medical science is advancing at a rate our horny ancient ancestors can only dream of.
I’ve talked about the future of the human body and how technology will change it. I believe that one day, we will have the perfect form of contraception that works equally with both genders. It’ll most likely involve a single injection of programmable flesh, each designed to regulate our reproductive systems. It means men and women will be equally capable of controlling their fertility.
When that day comes, it’ll finally balance out what centuries of evolution cannot. It will change the way men and women relate to one another. Hopefully, it means we’ll have fewer stories like this where women want to punch the first man they see for being such a whiner. I say any future where women have fewer reasons to punch men is a future worth fighting for.