Earlier this week scientists in Australia revealed a ground-breaking formula for the world’s first male contraceptive pill. Researchers at Melbourne’s Monash University detailed a reversible way to stop men releasing sperm during orgasm, without affecting their pleasure, sexual function or long-term fertility. The findings – which promise to change the dynamics of sex forever – were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
But, while they attracted much interest, they also garnered some cynicism. In particular, from journalist Tom Sykes, who claimed the idea was ‘the least sexy bit of news in the past 40 years’ and threatened to emasculate men at their very core.
In fact, it’s the exact opposite – it would quickly become our best friend in the bedroom because it would liberate us from being the reproductive underclass.
Currently, while women enjoy the lion’s share of contraceptive choices, we have just three: condoms, vasectomy and abstinence. While vasectomies are extreme and may increase the chances of male cancers, condoms are rarely the practical ideal. They vary in comfort and fit, they can be difficult or embarrassing to get on – risking erection loss – and, crucially, they can puncture; either literally, or the romantic mood.
More worryingly, they can also be tampered with. Ask Liz Jones.
In comparison, the female pill has been a monumental success. Launched in 1960, it is now used by more than 100 million women worldwide and is a cornerstone of the women’s movement. Sykes said it himself: ‘Many feminists argue that much of what it means to be a woman today is actually defined by and is a result of women having access to the Pill. It has liberated, not diminished, them’.
The same will be said for the male pill. Why? Because it’s as much political as it is pharmaceutical. Not only would the male pill offer limitless, no-strings sex, but it would also empower men to control the outcome of their sexual encounters; only becoming fathers when they wanted to.
Yes, accidents happen, but the gritty reality of men being ‘trapped’ would end overnight. No more shotgun weddings, no more duped daddies, no more surprise calls from the Child Support Agency. Specifically, men wouldn’t have casual lovers deciding when they became fathers. They’d make that crucial, life-changing decision themselves. And, in 2013, so they should.
Paul Elam is a men’s rights activist and the publisher of the American website AVoiceForMen.com, which gets thousands of hits every day from 18 to 24-year-olds. He argues that men have as much riding on pregnancy as women do in the long-term, but not nearly as much control.
‘The arrival of a male pill would mark the first time in history that men will be empowered to see themselves as near-full participants in reproductive choices,’ he says. ‘And it will force wider culture to see them in the same light too.’
‘Currently, men compete for sexual selection and wait to be chosen. When they are, they wait to be informed of any consequences.
‘They wait to be told if the baby will be carried to term, or will be aborted. They wait to be told if they will be allowed to participate in the life of the child. They wait to be told what they will have to pay, and how much for how long, regardless of whether they want or intended to be a parent.’
Given that Britain currently has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in Europe, this issue is clearly affecting our young boys too. Besides, in an age of so-called equality – where women demand an end to the closing gender pay gap (but seemingly couldn’t care less about the life expectancy gap – so much or equality), why should they have all the power in this matter? After all, absolute power corrupts absolutely. And, whether it’s politically correct or not to say so, lots of women manipulate birth control and violate men’s choices.
Just take Amanda Holden’s situation into account. Only last month she confessed to deceiving her husband into fatherhood – even though he expressly said he wasn’t ready for another baby. Dismissing this, she manipulated the understanding on which they had sex and effectively took control over his sperm, his lineage and his choice.
This is an outrage.
Ironically, if a man stole a woman’s eggs and – by some twist of science – conceived a baby and then charged her child support, all hell would break loose. It would be a feminist hot topic. But where’s the uproar when the genders are reversed? These are matters that have a deep and lasting impact on the lives of men, and the ability to prevent them is nothing less than revolutionary.
That said, the sisterhood shouldn’t worry too much. The male pill would also be good for women. While the original pill is highly effective, it’s also packed with side-effects that include weight gain, DVT threat and reduced libido. A new alternative taken by their partners can only be a good thing.
It also allows men to share the responsibility for birth control, without forcing them to forsake the pleasure of sex. It may also allow women to stop taking dangerous medications that pose significant risks (or they may continue to take their pills as an added precaution). Either way, it brings choice and personal agency to both sexual partners.
However, the benefits wouldn’t all be physical – but social too, because a male pill would finally smash the myth that a woman’s desire to have a child is greater than a man’s not to. In a world of crass self-entitlement but virtually no father’s rights, this is crucial. Particularly because the narrative on the issue is so sexist against men.
Ask around you and plenty of women will say: ‘I’d never trust a man to take the pill’ – which is precisely my point, because that’s exactly what men have had to do. We’ve been forced to trust women who say *they’re* on the pill – with often devastating results. Besides, if everyone took responsibility for themselves, wouldn’t it simply mean that all pregnancies were planned by both parties – all the time?
Aside from being fair to men, a pill which offers that sounds like the best bit of news I’ve heard in 40 years…and then some.
This article was originally posted in mailonline, and was presented here with permission form Mr. Lloyd.