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From the Sexual Revolution to another Birth Control Solution - "The Pill" for Men

From the Sexual Revolution to another Birth Control Solution - "The Pill" for Men

updated

Male hormone contraceptives are currently being tested which, from all indications, are safe, effective, and reversible. They could be taken in the form of a daily pill, a patch, a gel applied to the skin, an injection given every three months, or an implant placed in the skin every twelve months. At present, the application method is still being studied. According to researchers, however, commercial distribution is highly probable. The timing, they claim, simply depends on funding.

The Same...but Different

Many consider the acceptance of "the pill," which was introduced in the 60s, to have heightened — or even been a significant cause of — the sexual revolution. The male equivalent may not cause men across the world to embrace dramatic changes in social thought or rise up and declare their right to sexual freedom and equality, but it does give couples another option when it comes to birth control.

There are some non-cultural similarities between the new male version and the original female contraceptive; physiologically, they work in much the same way. Hormones, estrogen and progestin, are introduced to prevent the release of eggs in females. In males, hormones such as testosterone and progestin are used to prevent sperm production.

Physiological Differences

Other similarities aside, the physiological differences between males and females have posed many challenges to researchers. These challenges, along with a historical lack of funding and general disinterest in the prospect of male birth control, have helped account for the more than 40 years of female contraception without a male equivalent.

Female hormonal contraceptives, for instance, have to block the production of a single, monthly egg while the male version has to block the production of millions of spermatozoa each day. This is much more difficult to do without causing dramatic side effects, say researchers.

All in all, men involved in recent birth control studies experience many of the same side effects that women have. Introducing extra hormones can cause acne and weight gain, for instance, regardless of the recipient's gender.

Many think male birth control could help take pressure off of women to be, in many cases, the sole bearer of the birth control burden. Men have condoms, however, and some health care experts are concerned that an introduction of a male birth control pill, and the subsequent decrease in condom use, could lead to an increase in sexually transmitted diseases.

Others think it's just another way for men to take the same birth control measures that women already can, and won't necessarily lead to an all-out abandonment of responsibility.

Accepting... or Rejecting

It remains to be seen if men will embrace birth control in the same way woman have. Many believe they will and, if that holds true, it could be another highly effective option for sexually active couples who wish to avoid pregnancy.

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