I’ve been getting off easy my whole life.
There are few phrases more useless than “male birth control.”
And that’s pretty much it. After thousands of years of medical advances, those four options are the most common forms of birth control for men.
But what about for women? There are pills, patches, and implants. There are sponges, vaginal rings, shots, cervical caps. There are IUDs, spermicides, and morning-after-pills.
There are OPTIONS. Granted, some of them straight-up suck, but there are so many options available to women, fully placing the birth control burden on their shoulders when it comes to sex the majority of the time.
That needs to stop. Speaking as a man who’s gotten off easy when it comes to birth control over the past few decades, I want to take back the burden from my wife. And I want more men to take back that burden as well.
I want men to start OWNING the responsibility for birth control.
Why? Because we’ve sat back and let women deal with the consequences on their own for FAR too long.
Case in point — there was recently a study released that said that women who took hormonal contraceptives had a greatly increased risk of depression (a 40% increase overall).
When I mentioned this to my wife, her response was, “Yeah, no shit.”
Because women have been dealing with the adverse effects of birth control methods forever. They know that the pill can play havoc with their periods, affect their moods, give them headaches. Women who’ve had implants or IUDs inserted know that they can get pain, cramps, swelling, or a variety of other awful side effects and complications. Some being downright dangerous.
Even without a research study, women know that birth control takes a toll on their bodies and yet they do it anyway. Because they want to be free to have sex when and how they want. And, maybe most telling, they don’t trust men to manage birth control effectively with the four dumb options we have available.
That has to stop.
Where are all of the birth control options for men? Where is the male IUD? Where is the male hormone pill that makes my little swimmers inert and less of a threat? There have been media reports about a male birth control pill being “right around the corner” for the past ten years, but where is it? And why did we have to wait until the 21st century to make the idea into a (presumed) reality?
This has all made me realize that I’ve been sitting back and letting my wife handle our birth control responsibilities for years without really giving it a second thought.
I let her take all the risks. I let her deal with the bloating, hormone swings, and increased depression risks because I’m able to sit back and say, “Well, it’s just easier for a woman to handle that, right? You have SO many options.”
Men not only need to step up and start sharing the birth control load, but they also need to keep the pressure on doctors and pharma companies to keep developing alternate birth control methods for men. Because, guys, we haven’t really been pushing that issue, have we?
After years of letting my wife experience all the hardships, I want to take my turn. I want to deal with cramps, bloating, hot flashes. I want to deal with hormone surges, pain, crying, and weird discharges. I want to deal with remembering to take a pill or renew a shot on a regular schedule.
I mean, will I enjoy those things? NO. But it’s only fair.
I’ve gotten a free ride on birth control for so long. Now it’s time for me to step up and put in a little work. And if that means some pain, discomfort, or increased levels of depression — so be it.
It’s something my wife — and millions of other women — contend with on a daily basis, so do I really have any reason to complain?
Men need to call for better birth control options that we can control and, even if those methods are imperfect, we need to suck it up and take our turn. (Consider it payback for a hundred years of not having to worry about it.)