Male Birth Control: The Answer to Gender Equality

A SYTYCB post.

Scientific development is inching ever-closer to male birth control options. The method at the forefront right now is the compound JQ1 that shuts off sperm development in the testicles and is completely reversible. Many others are in line as well so it looks like male birth control will be not only an option, but will also come in varieties.

Besides the increase in contraceptive options for all, male birth control may cause a cultural shift in the ways we view sex, pregnancy and reproductive rights.

The pill is for sluts

Amazingly, pockets of society still have a problem with contraception, specifically birth control pills or Plan B. Men’s primary source of contraception is condoms, which imply a sense of impermanence, like the sexual activity is just temporary and not quite as planned. When a woman takes a daily pill or uses some kind of insertion method, it shows that she has had sex and plans to have more sex in the future. Sex is still taboo and a woman who takes such control over her sex life still faces discrimination.

If men had a pill to take or some other method to use beyond a condom, then perhaps the way we view these methods and those who use them would change.  Instead of a man carrying a condom for “just in case,” he is saying that he plans to have sex and he will be responsible and safe in that sex by talking to a doctor and getting a prescription or having a procedure. Men and women alike will begin to take equal responsibility in having safe sex and both will be required to have some forethought about their sex life.

Men are active participants

Whenever there is a pregnancy, a birth, an abortion or a miscarriage, it all belongs to the woman. Although there must be a partner involved for the pregnancy to happen, society still places the responsibility and blame on her. If she becomes accidentally pregnant, she was slutty for having sex. If she has an abortion, she was irresponsible and just using it as a form of birth control. If she gives birth and is single, she is to blame for not choosing the right man. In terms of blame, men are absent.

If men have a male birth control option, they are also taking on a more active role in having safe sex and could shift the blame to both partners. “Blame” is a word that should not be synonymous with sex, however, so it could go even further to releasing “blame” from the outcomes, and just treating it as a fact that sometimes happens. Sex is a shared act and will have shared responsibilities between the partners.

Men become responsible

Men do not have any control after their sperm meets an egg. Because it is in the woman’s body, she makes the ultimate decision whether or not to give birth. Some men complain that they do not get a say and can’t make her give birth or abort, but it is physically impossible for them to get to make this decision without giving them control over another’s body. With a male birth control option, men can at least have better control of what happens to their sperm before it leaves their body. Instead of only relying on the female birth control and having to risk any failures in the method, they can become active participants from the other side.

Male birth control may become one of our largest answers to future gender equality.

Disclaimer: This post was written by a Feministing Community user and does not necessarily reflect the views of any Feministing columnist, editor, or executive director.

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