Is Society Finally Ready for Male Birth Control?

Jul 11, 2022 · 446 comments
nbespal (NY)
Some Gang-involved boys, or other boys watching gang entertainment may fall into an action to prove their fertility by having unprotected sex. For them it is a technical issue. How do I know? I teach this population and I am pretty much familiar with that culture. I do not judge. It is quite natural for a male to seek the material outcome of their virility. What happened to the Family Values propaganda?
JAH (Seattle)
Too bad so sad for all the men who are responsible for literally 100% of unwanted pregnancies. The only way this can be equitable is if men were held completely responsible. That means time and money. If a women is jailed for seeking an abortion the man should be jailed as well. The Supreme Court just opened up Pandora’s box. Get ready for what’s to come guys - you will be held accountable in every way. I suggest leaning into what women have been doing for years - birth control and making sure women have the right to make decisions about their reproductive health.
Molly Bloom (Tri-State)
The better question: Are Men Finally Ready for Male Birth Control? Love Jon Krause's illustration!
Kathryn (NY, NY)
I share the skepticism of many of the female commenters. My experience personally and as a couples therapist tells me that the majority of men don’t want to inconvenience themselves, especially with condoms! My guess is that it’s how they were raised and also comes from listening to their peers. Very few mothers or fathers sit down with their sons and talk about responsible birth control and how to discuss the topic with potential sexual partners. How many times have I heard the “one thing led to another” story, instead of “I made the stupid decision to have unprotected sex.” Sex is something that just “happens” and not something that is discussed before the act occurs. Women have always been the more responsible ones when it comes to birth control. The idea that a great number of men are going to explore various methods where THEY share responsibility is a fantasy. Not ALL men but the majority. Sad but true.
Dumbstruck (Vermont)
Absolutely yess!! This changes the whole will not be able to make excuses for making women completely--and now criminally---responsible for conception. This could be one of the biggest drivers of male recognition of the intrinsic worth and value of women in history. Be very interesting indeed to hear the right wing males on the SC find a way to contest this one.....given that misogyny seems to underlie so much of what has happened.
RSM (Philadelphia PA)
Sounds like American women need a break from American men. Let’s look at some alternatives: …(thinking). (Still thinking). I keep thinking of the movie The Bounty, is that possible? France! That may work!
Cracker Lady (Oldsmar Florida)
How about mandatory DNA samples harvested from the entire male population like selective service? Here's your specimen container. We'll even solve subsequent crimes and find a few relatives.
gbb (Boston, MA)
The clear answer is "yes".
brighteyed (MA)
We already have a form of male birth control. Freeze and store your sperm, then get a vasectomy. These days vasectomies can be 90 percent reversible. The frozen sperm is the failsafe. Do this when you turn 18 and reverse it several years later when you decide to have children. If you want children when you're over 50, then your frozen sperm will be better quality. Who knows what miracles of reproductive science will be available 10 years from now. Trust will be an issue with vasectomies, especially with young adults and in casual/early dating.
expat (Japan)
"If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament."
Teresa (USA)
Here’s a thought: Due to increasing health care costs, especially with regards to prescription medications, all erectile dysfunction medication will only be available at full cost AND must be accompanied by an appropriate male birth control method. I mean if you can inject your member you can handle a hormone pill. Just sayin’
EL (Philadelphia)
Used correctly a condom is 100 percent effective. There are steps and instructions on the package.
RSM (Philadelphia PA)
Let’s hope for a new Sexual Revolution and things to get better. Until then time technology and medical advances will make us forget.
Geoff Burrell (Western Australia)
Women would never trust us, probably with good reason!
Linda (New York City)
We have always had male birth control. How’s that working out?
Dorothy Wiese (San Antonio)
Male birth control and men’s ego don’t get along.
Milque Toast (Beauport Gloucester)
I bet there are quite a few men who would take a male contraceptive if they could get more sex.
Ng (Vermont)
Vasectomies for all men until proof of marriage
John (Olympia, WA)
In the world of unintended consequences, I wonder how this would impact the behavior of some men. Would some men become even more profligate than they already are? For that matter, would this impact the behavior of some women? The Pill was heralded as sexual liberation for women, putting their reproductive destinies in their control. I guess it did that sorta... I can't help but suspect it will create a different set of new problems, perhaps not as bad as too many unintended pregnancies, but whatever happens when there is one less consequence for one's actions.
Working mom (San Diego)
We've been subjecting women to a level one carcinogen for decades. Happy to hear there are some men willing to "share the risk" of side effects, but let's see how far that will go if it's all the same risks as the pill.
Eileen (Stewart)
I'd be in favor of giving any man who gets a vasectomy a break on his income taxes for the rest of his life. In the meantime, start doing a better job of enforcing child support collection. Non payment of child support doesn't even go on a person's credit rating.
A. Stanton (Dallas, TX)
I haven’t yet heard of any States with abortion bans mandating involuntary vasectomies of fathers and uncles found guilty of impregnating their daughters and nieces, so as to protect them from becoming pregnant again by their fathers and uncles -- but I would like to.
Seamus (Sedona)
Male birth control is a great idea -- as long as it is reversible. So far, eh, a little questionable.
U.N. Owen (NYC)
I have seen how lax men are with their hygiene and management of their health. Getting a man to go to the doctor even when he's obviously not well is like pulling teeth. Sorry, but there's no way I would trust the average man to responsibly take birth control every single day.
hkh (california)
@U.N. Owen So why are men in charge of everything else?
Angela (Midwest)
I guess the authors of this op-ed piece never heard of condoms. Maybe the subject should be is society ready for men to take full responsibility for their actions?
Eileen (Stewart)
@Angela - I guess you didn't read the article. Condoms were mentioned.
David (California)
Though it might seem to make sense and be far more efficient to de-fertilize sperm cells for a period of time, because it involves males needing to get a prescription to get something altered . . . don't hold your breath. I'm sure Republicans will fundraise off of the mere outrageous suggestion male birth control might become mainstream - "lol, what a silly idea". Your garden variety Republican thinks anything related to pregnancy is wholly owned by women and is thereby entirely their problem.
Robin (New Zealand)
I'm so sick of the "it takes two to tango" argument. Yes it does, but only one of the two gets to go home after the dance and forget about it. While women are called vile slurs, men are lauded as exceptional when they can't keep their zips up. Until there are real world consequences that are uniformly enforced, men have no reason to change a system that has worked for them since, well, forever.
Tintin (Midwest)
@Robin Conversely, more and more men are expressing no interest in becoming parents. They don't want to be fathers even in committed relationships. They don't want the enormous financial responsibilities that come with having to support a child and a spouse who suddenly opts out of, or cuts down on, paid employment to do caregiving. More men are now seeing parenthood as a trap, as a burden. The question becomes, are women prepared for this new development? Are women ready to encounter fewer and fewer men who want children? Of course they aren't. They are looking at a new world in which men are no longer willing to sacrifice their lives to the workplace in order to support a SAHM and child. Talk about real world consequences: This is now the real world consequence of women treating men as their financial livelihood for however many decades.
Robin (New Zealand)
@Tintin I agree with much of your argument, but think that you have missed something. By women "treating men as their financial livelihood" they have allowed those men to forge a life in the public sphere that has been largely denied to women. Every great man needs clean clothes, regular meals and (for those who do choose fatherhood) someone in situ to raise their very dependent children for them. I'd say that rather than the burden to men you are implying women are, it is reasonable to expect a return on the level of commitment this requires of women. And if you think that the job of SAHM is a doddle, clearly you have never been one.
Aimee (washington)
Male contraception already exists in two forms: condoms, and vasectomies. Every single man convicted of sexual assault, molestation, incest, and domestic abuse should be required to have a vasectomy. (But you know if you say that then suddenly guys start squealing 'my body my choice' while hypocritically legislating what women can do with their own bodies). Sure, they can make a pill for men to take, but every woman with a uterus knows ultimately it is their own responsibility to prevent pregnancy when having consensual sex by using confirmed birth control - i.e., what she has decided to put in her body. When I was single would I have trusted a guy trying to get in my pants who says "don't worry baby, I'm on the pill"? Nope. Just like men need to put on a condom to take responsibility for preventing pregnancy on their end (not to mention STDs), women need to be using their own forms of BC as well. Kind of like masks - honey, I'll still wear a mask in indoor public spaces to protect myself, whether or not you say you're vaxxed.
JustMe (US)
@Aimee Men in marriage or long-term relationships are more likely to be responsible. I agree, no way would I trust a man to use birth control for a fling.
Annie Towne (Wild Oregon Coast)
There is no man alive I would trust with the power to decide whether or not I get pregnant. No way. I'd probably want to be in the office during the vasectomy, to be sure it was really being done. It's just not smart to have any other attitude, and yes, I mean even if the man were my husband/long-term partner. The same man who asked me, every single time, where does the peanut butter go, I'm supposed to trust to remember a birth control pill?
B (Maryland)
@Annie Towne This makes me kind of sad. I would trust my husband, no question. He already takes medication every day and almost never forgets it. Yes, he does on the rare occasion - but so did I when I took birth control pills. None of us are perfect. If he’s serious about pregnancy prevention, he’d remember.
Annie Towne (Wild Oregon Coast)
@B For what it's worth, it makes me sad, too.
Tintin (Midwest)
@Annie Towne I know what you mean. I have a number of friends whose wives tricked them and became pregnant when they were supposed to be on birth control. They lied so they could have another child he didn't want. Those men were then trapped with a spouse they couldn't trust and children they didn't agree to.
Jill (NJ)
The reason the development of male contraception has been slow is that they are not the ones getting pregnant! Believe me, if they found themselves "in the family way," abortion would never have been banned and there would be multiple contraceptive options.
michael h (new mexico)
A vasectomy, which I had in 1998, has worked out just fine.
Serenity Now! (Columbus, Ohio)
Women have long tolerated the side effects associated with birth control while men often drop out of studies upon experiencing discomfort.
Ally (Dallas)
@Serenity Now! They sure do, and this should have been mentioned in this op-Ed.
Gardner (MN)
Yes, there should be more options for male contraception. If one doesn't want pregnancy to result sexual relations, takes steps to prevent it. That's true for men as well as women. Relying on the other person to prevent pregnancy is foolish, especially for a woman since her body is the one that gets pregnant. Ideally, both parties would use contraception, because even the most reliable contraceptives fail from time to time. Then there's the whole problem of whether they were used correctly or at all. None of that has anything to do with the recent push to criminalize abortion and generally remove women's agency over their own bodies.
Renee (IL)
So, only 2% of women would NOT trust their male partner to use hormonal birth control? Click the link - the study was way back in 2020 and was a "survey of 1894 women attending family planning clinics in Scotland (450), China (900) and South Africa (544)". Puhleeze - survey data on something like this is worthless...and coming from a family planning clinic in three disparate countries and fewer than 2 thousand surveys? This is extremely weak "evidence" of anything. No, I would not trust a partner.
L. (France)
@Renee I don't know - it does seem somewhat useful data. True, this is a sample of women attending family planning clinics, but that suggests they're invested in the issue. And those aren't tiny numbers. If the percentages were similar across the three countries, that would be pretty interesting, given the very different contexts.
c (Pennsyltucky)
In my 20s I would have loved a male birth control gel/injection etc but I still would have used a condom to prevent STIs. But would have made the "I missed my period" calls less stressful for everyone (even though she was using birth control too).
Nate (Stockholm)
This won’t be taken seriously until men are forced to engage in 50% of parenting, whether the mother initiates charges or not. What I mean is that every child is 50% the responsibility of the father, and the government will need to bypass mothers to ensure this. Then, and only then, will the incentive for male contraception be in place
Tintin (Midwest)
@Nate Sure, as soon as women are 50% responsible for the financial support of the family. Not 20%, not 30%. The full 50%. For that to happen, women will have to make earning a priority, and give up that passion job as an equine therapist, gallery owner, or "writer" and enter the cubicle for 50 hours a week like he does. Can't wait to see that happen.
hkh (california)
@Tintin Many, many women earn 50% or more of the household income.
Natan (Cambridge)
@Nate What if the male doesn’t want the child? Her body her choice - sure, but both parents should want the child to assume responsibility. Just like we shouldn’t force a woman to be a mother, we shouldn’t force a man to be a father.
Bill Barrett (Richmond VA)
What helped pass Roe more than 50 years ago was the public discussion that Men were just as responsible for a child's conception, birth, and continued care. Needless to say, Roe was allowed to pass so unmarried Men would not have to "ruin" their lives with equal responsibility for conception.
Tintin (Midwest)
Men are raised to be earners, and little else. They are not raised to be caregivers, or homemakers, or volunteers. This gendered role of earner is further compounded by women's mate selection preferences, which (according to all of the research) still strongly favor men who are able to support them financially. Even self-proclaimed feminists often have little difficulty with being financially dependent on a man. Why? Because women see themselves as caregivers, particularly as mothers, and that identity allows them to convince themselves "there is no more important job in the world than my baby". They quit the paid workforce, stay home to parent, become financially dependent like the child they care for, and leave the man to work the 60 hours weeks in a stressful cubicle in a stressful glass building, no time for his own passions which could very well involve more parenting if he was permitted to do anything but earn. As a result of this scenario, more and more men are less and less interested in fatherhood. Why have a child if it means being even more trapped by the workplace in order to pay for that child? Those fathers rarely have time to parent, to enjoy fatherhood, to be the caregiver.....they need to work to support the financially dependent spouse and child. You better believe men are ready for better methods of male birth control. The question is, are women ready for even more men to make it clear they are not interested in becoming parents? I doubt it.
JustMe (US)
@Tintin You are assuming most women want to be housewives. They don't. Most middle-class women have been in the workforce since the 1980s, when it became necessary for couples to have two incomes to support a middle-class lifestyle. But also, because feminism opened up job opportunities that women gleefully seized. That's *decades*. Working-class women have always worked. That's *centuries*. Most women now expect to work outside the home. Plus, given all kinds of personal and social issues (medical, financial, concerns about overpopulation and climate change), many *women* just don't want to be parents. Sorry, your stereotype of men want to work, women just want to stay at home and have babies is WAY out of date.
ThinkingCdn (CAN)
@Tintin Wow. I don't know one woman who agrees with your narrow 19th century view of female aspirations. This comment completely ignores the fact that about 48% of the US workforce is female and that more women than men hold college degrees.
Lola (USA)
I've always been amazed at how much trust men put into their partners. Sometimes they simply "assume" the women are on birth control. But even if they have the conversation, they just trust that women are actually taking their birth control pills on time, or replacing their IUDs once they expire, etc etc. I would think men would welcome the control that male birth control brings. For me, though, it would take a LOT of trust in a partner for me to stop using my own birth control method. So even better--we're both on birth control!
carolyn (raleigh)
bwaaa ha ha ha. Men take responsibility? I gotta open another beer.
Tintin (Midwest)
@carolyn In fact, 70% of men in straight relationships are the sole or primary earner. That number goes up when looking specifically at upper middle class straight couples. Men have been raised to think of themselves as earners, as responsible for making money. Women are raised to think of earning as a choice. This is why all of the research on mate selection still shows women weigh a man's ability to financially support her (and an eventual child) as a critical consideration, while that same research shows men do not weigh women's earning potential in mate selection. So, when it comes to financial responsibility, it would be women who should be looking at themselves in the mirror and thinking how willing they are to abandon financial dependency on a man. Of course there are women out there who are financially independent, though many are bitter about it and, regardless of what they see around them, they are in a significant minority if they are in a straight relationship and the sole or primary earner. See, it goes both ways, doesn't it?
Patricia Fonseca (Cambridge)
You need numbers to support your claim. I don't know a single woman who isn't financially independent. Of course they may make a lot less than their partners but they wouldn't starve or anything like that if they were single and living alone. The issue is that if there are kids involved women are usually the ones who need to stop investing in their careers (and make less money consequently) because their partners don't share the workload equally.
Tintin (Midwest)
@Patricia Fonseca If you want numbers, start with the Pew Survey of 2017 or 2018. It shows that 70% of men in straight relationships are the sole or primary earner. That same survey also shows that women consider a man's ability to financially support a family as the major determinant of his quality as a mate. Many women work, sure, but if they are not earning half of what it takes to support that couple's lifestyle (and few are) they are financially dependent: They do not make enough to support the lifestyle they live, the man supports most of it. Women opt out of paid work by choice. Very few women are willing to continue working full time in order that the man become a stay-at-home-father. Women earn less because they opt for passion jobs, not higher earning roles. Many men might also like to become an equine therapist or meditation teacher: They don't because they know it won't pay enough to support a family. Women need to practice some of the same prioritization if they want true financial independence and equality. Focus on earning to the extent you expect men to and watch how much greater equality becomes in the workplace and out of it.
Annabelle (NZ)
Yes. Imagine a rape trial. "So you raped X knowing that you were not using a protective contraception?"
lh (toronto)
How stupid would a woman have to be to trust birth control to a man? Pretty stupid. If only they could get pregnant what a wonderful world that would be. Of course, if men had to carry and deliver babies the population would drop like a lead balloon. Actually, if men had to carry and deliver babies there probably wouldn't be but 10 or 20 people left on earth.
Raindrop (US)
@lh. It presents the opportunity for a couple to use two forms of birth control for a lower failure rate, and most notably provides a more reliable option for women for whom hormonal contraception is medically not recommended.
SMedeiros (San Francisco)
Men appear to adore Viagra, but I doubt they'll show the same enthusiasm for taking contraceptives.
Raindrop (US)
@SMedeiros. Demand for vasectomies is way up. The NYT covered this recently.
ElleJ (CT)
As any intelligent woman knows, you’d have to be out of your mind to trust a man regarding birth control even before this Roe overturn horror.
Brian (Stanford)
Mistake!! Only a very small minority of birth control pills cause acne. Indeed most birth control pills are effective treatments for acne. Unless there is a specific reason to be on a higher dose pill , which could cause acne, the vast majority of pills used are either low dose or medium dose which do not cause acne.
Bernie Bro (Pi Gnu PutsOut)
We're laughing too hard to comment.
Timothy P. Dingman (Newark, NJ)
As (I hope) a responsible male partner, I have always tried to work with partners and reach agreements on expected outcomes and protections for sex. Not every male is as thoughtful (or terrified of consequences) as me. More easily available choices and much more education would help a lot. The internet (think You Tube) actually has some accessible, seriously professional sources (Think Dr. Doe and a few others). I wish I had access to Dr Doe when I was 17. It wouldn't have taken me to 22 to lose my virginity,,,,but I was always a late bloomer
CR (Minneapolis)
« Men are involved in 100 percent of unintended pregnancies. ». Gasp. Would never have guessed. I’d say it’s time for men to start being responsible, but I’ve never had any reason to trust them to do so. Women must have the control.
Juan (USA)
I find all this skepticism in the comments of men wanting to prevent pregnancy to be so bizarre. Unplanned pregnancies can be devastating to men. It can come with decades of child support and a lifetime of unintended fatherhood. I know many men would be overjoyed to take birth control if it came without side effects. It would provide so much peace of mind to have greater control over reproduction. Two people taking birth control would be much better than one.
ElleJ (CT)
@ juan Have you ever heard of a pharmaceutical that doesn’t have side effects? Neither have I, and therein is the problem. Men won’t wear a mask during a pandemic, they won’t cope with side effects, either.
Juan (USA)
@ElleJ I still wear a mask. Women were about 8% more likely than men to wear masks, according to an Oct. 2020 study. A difference, but a modest one. There are millions of men who will jump at the chance to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
Mike (SC)
@ElleJ I must not have gotten the memo, because I wore a mask during the pandemic. Oh well.. The side effects of MBC are increased sex drive, aggression, strength, reduction of fat. You think men might take that? In fact, men are so keen to take it that it's near impossible to get legally. Testosterone is male birth control, just like female hormones are BC for women. The only joke here is that we've known this for a solid 50 years. It's probably the best kept secret in science. Don't believe me? Google it, there have been many studies showing that TRT (testosterone replacement therapy) almost always leads to "shooting blanks".
Koho (Santa Barbara, CA)
Pretty much the same discussion was had back in the 80's. The company that develops an effective male contraceptive will make a killing. Omitted here, I believe, is discussion about the difficulty in developing one. I don't remember the details, but for some reason(s) it's a big challenge. Maybe someone can comment on this.
radellaf (Raleigh NC)
@Koho The simple difference is between preventing one ovulation per month (or preventing one implantation) vs preventing a continuous and ongoing process of spermatogenesis (and/or delivery of that sperm with all chemical requirements for fertilization in place, such as "capacitation").
Mike (SC)
@Koho It's NOT a big challenge, we "invented" this close to 100 years ago. Much like taking their primary hormone makes women sterile, the same is true for men. Testosterone is male birth control. The only thing that this "new" drug does is BC without the positive benefits of testosterone. It's beyond laughable, we've known how to do this forever. Ask any bodybuilder, they'll be happy to educate on how this work. Test makes you sterile. HCG reverses the effect if you want to have kids. This is like completely common knowledge in basically every gym in the country. And yes, there's lots of "non-bro" research on this, feel free to Google it. It has been studied many times. Just a note, it's not as effective as the female pill (which approaches 100% when used correctly), but it's more effective than anything else available for men, including condoms.
A W (SF)
What percentage of unplanned pregnancies occur in stable relationships with a responsible male partner who could be trusted to take the birth control? And what happens when the woman strays, or, less likely but far more traumatically, if she is raped? In a world with no abortion rights I'd question the sanity of any woman willing to outsource the responsibility for whether she becomes an unwilling mother to a third party. I'm not saying male contraceptives shouldn't exist - more options are good, and men should have the ability to turn off their own fertility on a temporary basis the same way women do - but it's silly to suggest that they are a meaningful alternative to female ones in most situations where unplanned pregnancies currently occur.
Juan (USA)
@A W Did you read the whole article? It literally says “We are not developing male contraceptives to replace female contraceptives.”
Raindrop (US)
@A W. Condoms fail, birth control pills fail, and even IUDs fail. Having a back up method would reduce this. And besides, the pairing wouldn’t even have to be stable, as long as both partners were actually taking their contraceptive.
Maryanne (Savannah, GA)
It takes two to tango. So why leave it mostly by far to women to prevent pregnancies? Body politics exactly, suppression of womens' freedoms. Let's equalize contraception.
John (San Francisco)
@Maryanne Do you own a car? Would you allow someone else to drive the car if you didn't believe they would pay for any damage they caused in an accident? That's why it's on women, unfortunately. They're the ones that pay.
SW (North Dakota)
I agree that there should be more options for male birth control. But also, as a woman, I would never, ever entrust my birth control to anyone else. Sorry. I just can't. Yes, I am monogamous and happily married for 31 years. We knew we didn't want kids, and I had my tubes tied when I was 32 - which was as soon as I could persuade a doctor to do it. My husband volunteered to have a vasectomy, but I wanted to control my own reproductive capacity. Besides, him having a vasectomy won't help in case of rape. To me, controlling my own body is vital. I just can't entrust anything this critical to anyone but myself.
Alex (USA)
@SW If I were a man, I would feel the same way--I wouldn't want to trust someone else with my future! As a young woman, I always was on birth control and used another form of protection as well. I think more male contraception is good for men and women.
Timothy P. Dingman (Newark, NJ)
@Alex As a male, I tried to accept partners carefully. Many women frieghtened me. I was not afraid of sex but was unwilling to dive deeply into emotional or physical relationships as I could not always (or never) sus out long term consequenses, That hesitancy possibly save me and a few willing young ladies from unwanted complications
John (San Francisco)
Most males don't care about birth control because they don't have to give birth. Period. Unless you're going to do something about that, women will always be primarily responsible for preventing pregnancies because their lives are more drastically affected by getting pregnant. You might not like that, but it's biologically reality. It's kind of like how homeowners generally treat their homes better than renters do. Renters don't have to live with the long-term consequences of damaging property. Women are homeowners. They'll *always* feel more responsible. You can call it sexist or unfair or whatever, but it's biologically based.
Renee (IL)
@John If there was a 100% chance they'd have to pay thousands a month in child support, that might even out the playing field!..Sure, they still won't have to deal with pregnancy and the joy of childbirth (!) but men pay attention to where their money goes. If paternity can be made to stick, they will start to care a lot more.
Mike (SC)
@Renee Can you please help me understand what's missing from the laws today to make this function as you describe? I'm not saying you're wrong, but I was always under the assumption that if I got someone pregnant, I'd be paying CS. Sounds like that's not the case, and I'd like to understand what I don't know about the CS system.
Shane Lynch (New Zealand)
@Renee I think you would find that more guys would go for one night stands, or at least short term relationships, where he didn't see her often, always at her place and give her false details about name, employment etc. Once he gets found out, he then moves on. Not all guys would think like this - true - but the "playboy" type, the smooth fast talkers, the narcissist and the arrogant would. Unfortunately, these are the types young girls seem to go for because generally they are also good looking and know it.
AG (Dallas)
I can totally relate to the arguments from many of the posters here - especially the women who aren't that keen to trust a male to be honest about contraception (after all, the women are going to be the ones dealing with the consequences of any dishonesty). For myself, once I reached age 40, and understood the potential risk to my partner at the time of long term use of the pill, it was an easy decision to go with a vasectomy. Minimal pain, no drugs required and I never wanted to be a father anyway. Would have done it years earlier but it was never part of our discussion. Having been on hormone deprivation treatment for cancer, I can safely say that it is not for the faint hearted (but it does give you a small understanding of what menopause must be like). A reversible vasectomy or a non-hormonal contraceptive would be much better, but, as I mentioned earlier, the trust issue needs to be resolved somehow - easier to do in a stable relationship of course.
Allison (Richmond, VA)
Birth control is based on trust. Trust doesn’t work when the penalties fall on the party who doesn’t bear responsibility for making decisions.
Jemima Hickman (Springfield)
I would never trust a man to keep me safe, not from pregnancy or anything else that would change the course of my life. But the strongest incentive for male birth control would, in my opinion, be forcing men to spend equal time, money and energy on pregnancy and child rearing, under threat of whatever punishment women who seek abortions will face. Until they are personally facing a few decades of complete derailment, too many will stay careless.
Jackie (Missouri)
I know that I am going a little overboard, but if the next step of the anti-abortion/pro-birth gang is to abolish birth control for women, then what is to prevent them from abolishing birth control for men? Their object seems to be that A.) abstinence "should" be the only method of birth control; B.) nothing should prevent implantation and a birth from occurring, whether that obstacle comes from men or women, and C.) nobody gets to have sex because "sex is evil."
APS (Olympia WA)
"Would men use contraceptives if more choices were available? Multinational survey data suggests that 29 to 71 percent of men would use a male hormonal contraceptive." Well that sounds like a definite maybe.
Juan (USA)
@APS I think the variance is probably due to the unknown side effects.
Mike (SC)
One more thought on this. It's one of those "be careful what you wish for" topics. The BC pill was released in ~1950. At that time, the birth rate was 24/1000 women. In 2021, the birth rate was 12/1000. A lot of that is a result of the BC pill. Give men the freedom to make the same choice, what does the birth rate go to? Even if we assume men want children as much as women (which I'd hold is a flawed basis), if we extrapolate out the trend established by female BC, that takes us to 6/1000, which is FAR below replacement. The other major issue that will come up, with men on BC, women will have to "negotiate" pregnancy. Today, with women solely responsible for BC in most relationships, it's pretty much a uniliteral decision; if she wants to get pregnant, it's pretty much going to happen. Giving men the power of undetectable BC that can be easily reversed is going to open a whole different box of issues. The "reverse oops" (I forgot to stop taking my pill) will become a significant problem women will face. Net of this, men should have the option as well as women to control their fertility in a reversible way that doesn't impact pleasure. But the repercussions of that control are going to strongly shift the power dynamic and, at the same time, drastically lower the birth rate. Long term, that will be a good thing for the planet, but, short term the pain would be immense. Because of this, I'm not sure we'll ever legalize MBC.
SW (North Dakota)
@Mike Do you really want children born who are not wanted? Sorry, but I don't. Replacement or not. The planet is also severely over-populated, and likely to be worse in the future. Can we not just make it easier to manage having a family? Or to immigrate? No? Well, I still don't think the solution is to have kids born who are not wanted. I wasn't, and my childhood was pretty miserable. Am I glad to have been born? Not really. And the world isn't massively better off for my presence. I do good, and no harm - but the planet would be fine without me.
Mike (SC)
@SW "Do you really want children born who are not wanted?" Absolutely NOT. I'm only pointing out the logical result. I, like you, believe the world is vastly overpopulated and a collapse in the birth rate would be a good thing. Problem is, it's a good thing 100 years from now when we stabilize at a much lower population, today, tomorrow, and for all of us here, it would be a disaster. I was wanted SW (and I'm sorry for your experience), but, like you, the world isn't massively better for me being here. In fact, it might be worse overall, not because I try to make it that way, but I, like most of us, consume a lot of resources. Very very few people would, IMHO, pass the "made the world a better place" test.
"Why the loss of engagement? It’s possible that the novelty of male birth control is seen as too risky for profits and that the market is underappreciated for pharmaceutical involvement. Moreover, developers suffer from a lack of regulatory guidance from the Food and Drug Administration on how effective these products must be for market introduction." These are such pathetic excuses. Men are too scared & too comfortable in their carefree ejaculations to take the same risks women have, do, and will continue to do. Anyone knows if they actually wanted it, if pharma actually wanted it if the investors wanted it - the FDA and literally every other pharma or three-letter public agency would LEAP to get something, anything done, on the shelves, or in an office procedure before the other guys. But women putting their lives at risk for not only contraceptives AND pregnancy AND the risks of pregnancy afterward for a lifetime - are risks that the men who run this place have decided are acceptable payments for carefree ejaculations. Therefore we get excuses like, "Well, we've had half a century, but it just isn't enough time."
Chris (Georgia)
"Who would trust men to become engaged in contraception?" Most men do not welcome a 'surprise' pregnancy. Before I got married I always used a condom. I did not ask or expect the women to take care of contraception. An unexpected pregnancy represents considerable burden on the part of the man as well as the women, so why would they not take the responsibility?
Alex (USA)
@Chris Amen, Brother.
lh (toronto)
@Chris Because they so often don't!!!!! For thousands of years!!
John (San Francisco)
@Chris Because they're young horny men who don't care about the consequences of their actions. I applaud you and others who have always taken responsibility for their actions, but sadly, most young men don't.
Adrienne (Boston)
Great that this might be available for couples. Now how about something that works for young people and those who may have had a few too many. Women need something that works all the time, because government isn't going to go after the dad for child support as they do in other countries. Oh sure, honey, I'm on the pill! But he said he had a prescription. And you believed him? Glad if other options are available, but that's not the solution. You know I'm just flabbergasted by how xenophobic and white right leaning the GOP is. But if that's what you believe, how does restricting birth control and abortion make sense? If these laws only affect those who cannot jump on a plane and get what they need, who is having a baby? Most likely a brown woman. And that outcome is actually quite okay with me. At this point I'd rather the US have a firm majority of people of color. Maybe someone whose culture is different than the old boy network will actually see the value of caring about a woman's right to her health and future.
David Williams (San Diego county)
Ready? I was ready in 1970.
lh (toronto)
@David Williams But what woman would trust you? I wouldn't.
Catherine (Kansas)
But would you trust them? After all, for some men getting women pregnant is a badge of manliness.
jb (Kansas)
oh pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease, the majority of men will never EVER subject their own bodies to hormones to prevent a pregnancy. There is a reason women's rights are rapidly deteriorating. That reason is men. Particularly, wealthy white men.
lh (toronto)
@jb You are most likely right but I would blame all men. I have been saying for many months now (and my husband agrees) that the men have to go. Enough. We should keep a few to make babies but the rest have to go. They do nothing but make trouble.
John (San Francisco)
@jb Right, because wealthy men are running around impregnating lots of women. Look, I'm sure it happens, but I'm assuming most of the women get abortions. The sad reality is that most children born to single mothers have fathers who are less than financially responsible.
Fran (Portland, Or)
Male contraceptives are way overdue. I won't even ask why, why the delay. We all know the answer.
vishmael (madison, wi)
Mandatory vasectomy at birth, reversible only upon proven socioeconomic stability required to sustain a newborn until age of majority, and then only by contractual approval of chosen birthing partner. Let the Handmaids thus empowered govern for the betterment of all.
John (San Francisco)
@vishmael So in a racist society or in a very expensive housing market, only the rich (and White) would be able to have children. Kind of sounds like genocide to me.
Machiavelli (Firenze)
The guys who should be using them are not and won’t. Ever. They will also NEVER get a vasectomy. It’s a male MACHO thing. Write about that.
Mike (SC)
@Machiavelli Maybe if women didn't sleep with men like that, we wouldn't have as much of a problem? I know, equally unlikely to happen, but it does take two to tango, and women are selecting for these men. In fact, they are selecting strongly for these men, as the birth statistics show.
Irina (not sure)
@Mike Strongly fertile women do select for risk-taking males, it's a biological thing, and how the species has been so successful over the long run.
Bonnie Luternow (Clarkston MI)
The potential mother has a vested interest in not becoming pregnant. Unless we give the potential father equivalent "skin in the tame" he will not have equivalent motivation. Have you never heard of "stealthing"?
David Duval (Texas)
Condoms = male birth control plus guards against STD. Vasectomy= permanent male birth control.
bodie (los angeles)
Oh, is this a serious question? Because, I haven’t stopped laughing.
ML (Boston)
The overarching question for the rightwing Christianist judges trying to foist their beliefs on the American people -- which will certainly soon include a prohibition against birth control, female or male--is: where does their condemnation stop? About 50% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, usually before a woman misses a menstrual period or even knows she's pregnant. About 15%-25% of recognized pregnancies end in a miscarriage. So how does this jive with the Supreme Cult's edict that every fertilized egg is God's will? And--back to the men--why isn't every sperm sacred? Why aren't men jailed every time they waste the sacred sperm after logging on to the internet? If courts and legislative bodies keep moving the line back--so far now that it makes God into a criminal when it comes to the miscarriage of 50% of the sacred fertilized eggs--where does it stop? It's good that this article focuses on the men, but the Supreme Court has decided to punish women who have been raped more severely than the rapist. So I don't have much faith that this court's focus will ever veer from subjugating women. We need to vote, before they repeal the 19th amendment. Call me hysterical, but that's what I was called when I said a woman's right to choose would be overturned by the forced-birth movement. Is it so far fetched to say they will go after a women's right to vote? It's not in the Constitution, & it's certainly not part of our "tradition" if we've only had the right for 100 years.
Sequel (Boston)
Short answer: Nope. Not ready. Try Clog-Dancing as the solution to climate change.
music observer (nj)
I doubt it, society is just too full of blaming women for unintended pregnancy. Standard line, from men (and yes women) on unintended pregnancy? You don't want to get pregnant, don't spread your legs. The right wing, not surprisingly, harps on women having sex, the 'purity movement' was aimed squarely at girls, and when you hear the religious right talk about women getting pregnant, you often hear having to give birth as 'the wages of sin'...and when they talk about sex before marriage, it mysterious seems to revolve around women....and they maintain with the men, 'boys will be boys' with a wing, whereas women are daughters of Eve. Want to know why women get pregnant? Because many men are literally still boys. When asked to use a condom, they say "it ruins my pleasure", or say "What, you think I got a disease?". And it is a fact that when an unwanted pregnancy occurs, and the woman has the child, the states now banning abortion do little to nothing to go after the fathers, child support is rarely enforced and when it is, it is a joke. You can bet the same kind of misinformation will spread with a male pill, Carlson will say "it makes you sterile", in the inner city there will be 'facts' that it interferes with sex, doesn't work as well, and you will see right wing groups publish "facts" about side effects. Meanwhile, the pill has consequences and side effects, but it is the woman's duty to be protected *sigh*.
"The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Development and the Population Council, together with 15 centers across the globe ... are conducting a study in over 400 couples of a hormonal contraceptive gel " Named after a mother of 5. Not as prolific as her brother Bob who had 15. /i
Mark Johnson (US/Canada)
As a man, there is zero chance I'd ever take a hormonal birth control pill. I'd rather be celibate!
Teresa (USA)
Really Mark?
Lorraine (Kerhonkson, NY)
@mark Johnson. I am with you. I am a woman and I have never taken hormonal Birth control! Why mess with your body’s natural chemistry. Can’t be healthy.
Neelam101 (Columbus OH)
"Is Society Finally Ready for Male Birth Control?" Society may or may not be ready but you can bet that Justice Thomas will do all he can to get it banned!
Tobi (Oregon)
Why is it when I watch tv shows about zoo veterinaries I see male primates being given implanted birth control? Obviously something exists. Why has it not been marketed? Does it decrease testosterone? Is that necessarily bad? Is not testosterone responsible for the majority of our culture's violence?
RSM (Philadelphia PA)
Whose fault is it when a man is born lazy?
Kinda Kind (NY, NY)
Development of required male member control by, say, a required reporting ring around the male member should be pursued with the same urgency that prevention of abortion is now pursued because if you want to prevent abortion, prevent both of the two people "responsible" for a pregnancy. See, the woman doesn't get pregnant all by herself. Male masturbation involves waste of sperm that should be used to impregnate willing or, depending on the particular odiousness of the U.S. state, unwilling women. Therefore, to counter this waste, male masturbation should be criminalized just as abortion is. The male-dominated Supremes or mostly male-dominated state governments would be required to abandon their "Huh? me?" responses to pregnancy and would by law have to authorize male ejaculation only for purposes of conception. In the case of rape, since the woman--or girl--might, under some state laws (here's looking at ya, Gov. Abbott) be required to continue the pregnancy, all men adjudged rapists in a court of law should be castrated. Please refer your questions, objections, and/or outrage to whatever governmental authority is now in charge of your sex life.
A Monaghan (Boston)
Even if invented & safe, with today’s laws about abortion, I don’t believe any sane woman would trust a man to have taken it. IMHO
Thomas B (St. Augustine)
Rubbers do double duty.
K.A.R.D. (USA)
Yes. Duh.
Sad Sack (California)
The Indian Supreme Court put this succinctly: paternity is a probability - maternity is a certainty. The only thing that could empower women is IVF through an unseen sperm donor! Go shopping and get the sperm you like-why have a middle man?( Pun intended)
Irina (not sure)
@Sad Sack I want to see the container before imbibing the contents.
JoeyReader (Los Angeles)
A fertile male human ejaculates between 2 and 5 mililiters(ml) of semen in each ejaculation. There are two eggs. It is easier to stop 2 eggs than it is to stop millions of sperm. This is the reason birth control is easier for women.
Jeff B (San Diego)
@JoeyReader I disagree, vasectomies are far easier and lower risk than tubal ligation.
Ann Petersen (New York)
@JoeyReader I just read in Sweden’s biggest newspaper Dagens Nyheter (Today’s News - I gre up there) that the male hormonal contraceptives lower the number of sperm. They don’t eliminate it. Even when a man is considered sterile he still has millions of sperm when he ejaculates. The male hormonal contraceptives lower the amount of sperm. So your theory is not good - men still have millions of sperm
Raindrop (US)
@JoeyReader. What on earth are you talking about? There are not “two eggs.” Also how do you get any more basic than a physical barrier such as a condom?
Steven Hether (Mesa, Arizona)
If a women trusts a man to use birth control, she is playing Russian roulette. Too many men let their penis do the thinking 24/7. Note to women, men lie. If no vasectomy that you have first handle knowledge of, then you protect yourself. Good test is to see if he offers to use a condom, you should not have to ask. Even with a condom, use birth control. If you cannot find a decent man and they are few, stick with sex toys. The latest generation use chips and micro motors.
Ann Petersen (New York)
@Steven Hether the solution for women is to carry the male contraceptives with them on dates, smear it on their hands and rub it onto the guy’s shoulders. That’s how they work. And they contain testosterone. I know because I just read about the new male contraceptives in Sweden’s biggest newspaper dagens nyheter (I grew up there so I read and speak swedish)
Nevermore (Denver, CO)
I got a vasectomy a few years back but if male contraceptives had been available to be previously I would have eaten them like candy. There's a lot of pearl clutching that goes on in some circles regarding the plummetting birth rate. (Personally, I'm a huge fan of there being less people on this earth) I'd expect to see a lot of righteous fury coming from that group if and when these types of contraceptives become widespread... especially if the birth rate plummets - which I'd expect to happen given that most guys in my experience don't want kids, they just want the sex.
P-dizzle (New York)
If we hold men accountable for their sperm a large part of the issue will disappear..
lh (toronto)
@P-dizzle One can only wish!!
Montreal Moe (North of the Vermont border)
I am an autistic Canadian one of 8 billion or so homo sapiens on this planet. I don't do time well I don't do calendars and watches and phones make me crazy. They are like alcohol to an alcoholic they are both heaven and hell. I never did school well. I never go back deliberately school was cruel and unusual punishment and the harder I tried the worse I failed. My wife who is recognized as a Doctor of Philosophy won't let me hang out my Metaphysician shingle . She can't spend her days making coffee and donuts for the multitude. Do we really want to reproduce ourselves before we learn enough is a feast? I have become a narcissist; I 've fallen in love with my own jokes and I am too old to try and translate. Once I start pontificating 24 hours is scarcely a cosmic picosecond. Funny thing for this autistic genius the Gaon of Vilnius was more important than Benjamin Franklin and Franklin was more important than Voltaire. I hate Empire I have the space between my ears to care of. In Quebec there is no such thing as established law. We are a liberal democracy looking to establish equal justice and law is always subjective in a non binary reality. The integrity of the individual is our metaphysical metaphysics. Institutions have no human rights. That is like trying to explain Ben Franklin a patriot and a communist. I don't know how to explain history to the brainwashed. Much to his credit Marx said of Franklin I am standing on the shoulders of giants. When will Musk thank Franklin?
Montreal Moe (North of the Vermont border)
@Montreal Moe Not only did Franklin know how to print money. He Kinda invented the bitcoin and the storage battery. Franklin didn't believe in servants he was a LIBERAL, he was a SCIENTIST, he was an ABOLITIONIST and he believed in the tyranny of the masses he was a product of the Commons of Boston and London and the communes of Paris. He objected to the rule of the East India Company. Franklin knew the monarchy had no power and all power rested with the House Lords. The Lords or Barons as they were once called . We call them LANDLORDS. Franklin believed authority should rest with the governed not the government and Franklin kept a jouirnal.
Bruce Williams (Chicago)
Getting into a wage assignment for child support can get you in trouble with an employer, as with other wage assignments.
spinoza (Georgia)
I am too old for this to be of benefit to me but when I was young I, and I believe many more men, would have jumped at the chance for such contraception. (And I was married for most of my adult life.) The options for men were, as they noted and everyone knows, just condoms or a vasectomy. I hope this becomes available as soon as it can be legitimately approved.
Chris Lawrence (Ottawa)
Although I might have been reluctant to take male hormonal contraceptives as a teenager out of fear or ignorance, the pregnancy/relationship issues in my mid 20's would have changed my mind. Although it's almost never brought up in abortion related articles I have more than a male few friends that got a young girlfriend pregnant who stopped taking contraceptives specifically to tie that guy in a far more committed relationship. I LOVE the idea of both sex's having a say in contraception!
Aimee (washington)
@Chris Lawrence Both sexes have always had a say. Men can get a vasectomy, then get it reversed (or bank their sperm) when they're ready to start a family), or they can - gasp! - wear a condom. Men should already be wearing a condom along with insisting women they have sex with have their own form of protection as well. Not a new concept.
TMBM (Boston)
So many comments about harsher enforcement of child support laws if men don't take responsibility for their part in procreation. It's so baked into our culture, even among the more liberal NYT readership, that this is primarily what children and mothers are missing out on when men duck their responsibilities! It's so retrograde. 1. Irresponsible men are probably not the most consistent earners out there, and you can't get blood from a stone. 2. After basic needs are met, the hardest part of parenting isn't the cost, it's the unrelenting nature of childrearing. If the consequences of fatherhood without intent to actually parent included, say, conscription into 18 years of public service on most evenings, weekends, and occasionally the middle of the night without warning, I think the unintended birth rate would be close to nil. True partners/parents balance meeting the complex needs of their kids, only one of them being financial. There can be no meaningful parity when one party is only deemed responsible for part of that equation.
Chuck (Phoenix, AZ)
I found the article to be very informative, not reaizimg there were hormonal options for men to prevent unwanted pregancies. Definitely something that should be explored and promoted.However, the authors' statement that "access to contraception and safe abortions is a fundamental human right" is merely the authors' opinion, an opinion not shared by our Supreme Court and millions of Americans. And, as long as the "pro choice" movement continues to view their opinion as a fundamental right and the ONLY viable optipn, our country is doomed to the increase in acrimony that has arisen since the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Aimee (washington)
@Chuck Not your body, not your choice.
@Chuck or, so long as the forced birth side sees their position as the only viable option, our country is doomed to the increase in acrimony …. Forcing women to bear unwanted children does not lead women (and their partners) to be magnanimous and docile.
men should be required to take birth control from age 10-60. when they and their partner want to have children. they can both sign a consent contract, with terms and specifics
Jean (michigan)
@Mary M I think you must be very young if you thing the age for men ends at 60.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
@Mary M: Senate malapportionment treats large liberal states with active economies as gold mines for states with small populations.
Transcendental Meditation (NYC)
60?!…men are just getting started at that age
William (Minnesota)
The built-in bias in our legal system that ignores male responsibility for all aspects of unplanned pregnancies while ignoring the plight of females is unlikely to change, given the obstinacy of the Republican Party and the religious lobbyists cheering them on. Even contraception options are likely to be restricted by self-righteous crusaders marching under the false flag of moral absolutism.
Heidi (Upstate, NY)
Until it isn't easy for men to just walk away from an unwanted child, they will not take responsibility. Forcing women to give birth, will the courts back the women as they go after support for that child?
Helene (NYC)
I think this is a great and necessary idea, and I don't see in the least why it would be controversial. For those who think it won't be used, mind your business and give people options!
TMBM (Boston)
I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that while hormonal birth control options for women are a lifesaver and life-changer compared to unwanted pregnancy and birth, let alone unplanned parenthood, they're problematic. I don't know that we're going to solve many problems by expecting men (especially the less mature among them) to deal with irritating physical side effects and extra doctor appointments to avoid knocking up women they don't care about or perhaps even know all that much in the first place. Then there's the sticky issue of potentially adding millions more humans contributing to the synthetic hormones washing into our waterways... I like where researchers are going with reversible vasectomies. With nano technologies improving by the year, this has to be something scientists can begin moving on, and not just for men but perhaps women too. I think many of us would appreciate improvements on physical contraceptives like the IUD that don't also muck with our natural chemistry.
Aimee (washington)
@TMBM Vasectomies are already reversable, and have a fraction of the side effects that hormonal birth control has on women. "Irritating side effects" - aww poor fella! Kind of like how women on the Pill are at a greater chance of blood clots (among many many other 'irritating' side effects)?
Elizabeth Blackwell (Highland, Utah)
What is needed to stop unwanted pregnancies is male accountability for pregnancies. Financial responsibility sharing for any child until age 18 who is proven by paternity test to be a man's progeny should be court-ordered. Regarding male contraception, it sounds great, but if there are any side effects or if daily reminders are needed, I wouldn't count on it.
Jim (Tacoma, WA)
@Elizabeth Blackwell " Financial responsibility sharing for any child until age 18 who is proven by paternity test to be a man's progeny should be court-ordered. " This will open the door for husbands to sue to reject financial responsibility for children of their wives proven by paternity test not to be theirs. Are you ready for that?
Snippy (Virginia)
The time for safe and convenient forms of male contraception is long overdue. I believe the male contraception will level the playing field between men and women over whether to that couple wants to have a child. I also think male contraception will change the meaning of "unintended pregnancy." I wonder what will happen to the guy who says he's taking the pill for men, but "forgets" because he wants to have a child. Men have been dealing with the situation since women started taking (and forgetting to take) the pill.
Trina (Indiana)
@Snippy Exactly!
Reasoned analysis (San Francisco)
I don’t know about you all, but I was ready for one forty years ago. Being able to make sure that I wasn’t going to have any kids I didn’t want would have been a real relief in a world where condemns and the pill fail.
Caitlin (Delaware)
Having been a victim of “stealthing” for years by a partner who wanted me to get pregnant long before I was ready, I would be hesitant to trust a man who says he’s contracepting. The only good thing about my baseline infertility was that his deception never resulted in pregnancy. Also, if I can’t convince a man that putting his own socks in the laundry basket instead of on the floor (or shoved in the sofa cushions) is worth his time for the sake of marital harmony, there’s no way he’s going to take a daily pill or monthly injection or undergo surgery to prevent pregnancy.
RSM (Philadelphia PA)
You do have several points there!
Snippy (Virginia)
@Caitlin You stayed with a guy who was stealthing you for years? His actions are inexcusable; and you enabled him.
Aimee (washington)
@Caitlin Yep, it's our bodies we should always have the right to protect from pregnancy, whether it be birth control, plan B, or abortion. I will disagree on the last part - if you tell someone you're not going to stay with them unless they get a vasectomy (which is reversable), they can be convinced. Socks and sperm don't go hand in hand :)
Wordperson (LA)
The Left should stop pushing male birth control in the wake of the Roe overturn. It’s yet another unpopular, non-starter agenda item that will further alienate moderate male voters, galvanize the right, and siphon focus away from issues that Democrats could actually build a platform with.
Reasoned analysis (San Francisco)
@Wordperson Is this satire? Who would be alienated by more options and control?
Wordperson (LA)
@Reasoned analysis I’m not against male birth control. I’m against the sudden spike in male birth control-related content from the Left since the Roe overturn. It plays right into the GOP’s hands by framing abortion as fundamentally about reproduction, not healthcare and fundamental personhood. Strategically, I think it’s the wrong time to be focusing on this.
J (Lansing)
@Wordperson While I agree with you on a few issues the some (often a minority) on the Left push, how is this "pushing"? And how is this from "the Left"?
Tony (New York City)
If the GOP want all of these babies born, then they need to enforce child support from fathers. We all know men can be in love with the fetus and when it is time to pay for the baby after it arrives many of these men can not be found. The days of men disappearing are days of the past someone has to pay for all of these unexpected children. Blue states are not going to be held responsible for men just making babies because they can. We needed this male birth control decades ago but glad it is in the works now.
Neelam101 (Columbus OH)
@Tony Tony, You don't get it. The GOP doesn't give a hoot about the babies. This is all about controlling women, nothing else.
Aimee (washington)
@Tony It's just another option. Men have had condoms, vasectomies, and actually taking responsibility and ensuring their female partners were Also (not either/or) on birth control. Having dealt with and walked away from a predatory adoption agency based in Texas, the adoption industry (and yes, it's definitely an industry...and unregulated at that) is drooling about all of this where they can sell even more babies to the highest bidder.
dap (San Marino, CA)
Male contraceptives are needed yesterday and decades ago. I don't understand the thrust of this article. The emergency is now. The authors should tell us what reliable methods exist now. Vasectomies are an answer; condoms are a less reliable method; then?? I think the authors are simply seeking research funds, too late.
Sally Jandrall (Colorado)
Nothing is approved by the FDA yet.
Aimee (washington)
@dap You are online where you can easily find out the answer, yet say the author should tell you what reliable methods that are out there? You just named two of them. I'm guessing you know what's out there for women. Heterosexual couples are BOTH responsible for providing forms of birth control and STD protection - this is not new information. Bank your sperm, then get a vasectomy, and problem solved. If you want to have kids, you don't even need to get the vasectomy reversed, your female partner can have an IUI and the pregnancy is truly planned.
Madge (Northeast)
I certainly agree that a broad range of contraceptives for men as well as women would be a good thing. However, oral contraceptives —or any contraceptives — for men shouldn’t be mistaken for a solution to the grave blow the radical right has struck against women’s equality, privacy and dignity. The SCOTUS decision and the actions in conservative states are an unjustifiable attack on women’s fundamental rights. Traumatised little girls have already been put at risk of further victimisation. Women with autoimmune diseases have been denied access to necessary medication. Women suffering miscarriages have been investigated and threatened with criminal charges. Vigilante laws have been designed to isolate women from medical care and supportive communities. These are not abstractions; and the legal chaos will only get worse as long as women’s rights are dictated by a technocratic minority.
Aimee (washington)
@Madge Amen to that. And considering the misogynists on the SCOTUS want to go after birth control next, why is this even an article, you know? Girls and women should always be empowered to take care of their own bodies - turning over birth control to the man and not taking any concrete action themselves (that is, unless they went to the vasectomy appointment with their male partner) is putting your reproductive health in his hands instead of having the bodily autonomy that is our human right.
There is definitely a lot of man-hate going on in these comments. An unvoiced opinion though is an option for men who actually DO NOT want to get a woman pregnant but may be sexually involved with one. Married men + family planning are not the only responsible ones in this situation. It may be that unmarried situations exist where for whatever reason the woman does not want or just isn't using traditional birth-control methods. They often have side effects, and women will be better not using them. I've supported partners in that choice before. It affects both partners who are responsibly thinking about this. Given these circumstances, sometimes established relationships don't want to rely on condom use indefinitely. Especially with STD testing clear for both responsible parties. This provides the man the option for a viable alternative birth control solution as well. More options is always better. Skip the man-bashing please.
@MH It is men who have subjugated women for millennia and are doing it very well in the allegedly most free, best place with all the awesome health care and wants to save all the babies - in the world. They have sentenced us to death. If men wanted these advancements for hormonal birth control, they'd have demanded it & we'd not be talking about what-ifs half a century later with a professional in the field explicitly saying, "Yeah, nobody's interested enough to actually do what we need to make it happen." So women continue to die for birth control risks, pregnancy risks, and live a life with a body that's never the same (if she lives through it at all) forever. It is because men we are here.
A (FL)
@VC The most recent Pew Research Poll called "America's Abortion Quandry" conducted in March 2022 shows that abortion views are pretty equal by gender. In fact, 9% of women responded that abortion should be illegal in all cases, one more percentage point than men at 8%. This fact is important to establish as a premise for the debate over how to prevent the Supreme Court from further eroding people's ability to control their own healthcare and make their own decisions around family planning, because it reveals that there's no gender discrepancy between the two sides.
Cheery (San Antonio)
Man hate , I don’t think so. It is the reality that women will always bear the brunt of unwanted pregnancies. Any woman that miscarries,has a non viable fetus, or decides for any reason not to remain pregnant, will chance running into legal problems. If women decide to continue with an unexpected pregnancy, she is the one who will have a lifetime of responsibility, if she survives the birth. Even in a committed relationship, it is not uncommon for the men to walk. Not saying women never do, but it is highly unlikely. Any woman who desires to remain child free best rely on herself. There is too much to risk otherwise.
Buck 05 (Tacoma)
Since Adam and Eve.
The option for men to have access to hormonal birth control seems to go a long way to address the issue of unwanted pregnancies. But, if the Supreme Court is considering, as Clearance Thomas suggests it might, to rule against women's access to birth control, shouldn't that ruling also apply to men's access? Shouldn't condoms, vasectomy, pills, and other means of birth control also be denied to men as a matter of "Constitutional" law? And, while we are balancing the scales of responsibility and access, if a woman, who gets pregnant unintentionally and seeks an abortion, is charged with murder (perhaps along with the abortion providers, even if in another state, and all the etceteras that are attaching to the SCOTUS ruling and states' laws being passed) shouldn't the impregnating man be charged as an accomplice? I wonder how long it would take for the nation to hear the wheels of the law squeal in reverse if the SCOTUS ruling and states' laws controlled men's decisions about their bodies and fertility choices and included them in any criminal charges facing the women they impregnate.
Diane Taylor (California)
@BB Absolutely. DNA tests would clarify that in a hurry. Any charge against the woman must include the father!
Onereasonableidea (Wilmington, NC)
Oh yeah fish could use cars too! I would not trust a man as far as I could throw him to use birth control that I could not see. The only equitable solution for male responsibility is to develop a way for them to carry a baby to term and get a c-sec tion to deliver. Dream on.....
Snippy (Virginia)
@Onereasonableidea The distrust about using birth control is mutual. I think it's great that men and women could both take their own birth control--and only when they both agree to refrain from contraception will they be fertile as a couple. Reproductive equality at last.
bioprof (New Vernon, NJ)
@Snippy Trust within a relationship and discussions of pregnancy (intended and unintended) would also be a good first step, rather than proposing endless rounds of contraceptive chicken.
Tobi (Oregon)
@Onereasonableidea Some of the men who would be using it would be married men. If we can't trust our husbands, we're in big trouble -- we probably shouldn't be having sex with them at all?
Jacquie (Iowa)
"men need to become more engaged in contraception." That line makes me laugh out loud. Who would trust men to become engaged in contraception?
Channa Miriam Knuckey (New Zealand)
@Jacquie ....makes one smile and shake one's head to read... "Men are involved in 100 percent of unintended pregnancies, and most men remain fertile for much of their lives." It really should add that male fertility is one of the benchmarks of many mens' perception of masculinity. I too, doubt that many will ever want to become more engaged in contraception. I deeply admire the men that do.
Jacquie (Iowa)
@Channa Miriam Knuckey I agree, I admire the men who become engaged too!
Aimee (washington)
@Jacquie Well, if we're talking about consensual sex? I always trusted myself as a woman to require the men I was with to be engaged in contraception. The pill doesn't protect against STDs, after all.
Curmudgeon51 (Sacramento/L.A.)
Yes, society is ready, but the anti-abortion fanatics are not. Some of them have stated that banning contraceptives is the next step.
Paul (Pittsburgh)
@Curmudgeon51 You’re confusing anti abortion people with Clarence Thomas
steve schaffer (oakland, CA)
The real question is or should be: When will America's welfare system stop incentivizing the births of children out-of-wedlock. Never married uneducated low income girls and women ought to be following other pursuits. Tens of millions of welfare covered offspring have given us a weakened society. We act as if it is perfectly acceptable to be blatantly irresponsible and then reward such behavior instead of condemning it. Let alone attempting to stop it.
Rita (New York)
@steve schaffer there will be many more low income women and poor women who will not be able to financially support a baby. Some don’t choose to be one pregnant, often men force themselves( in different ways) to have unprotected sex with women.Tge men can pull up their pants and move on to the next uneducated young woman. They sweet talk women and say” I want you to have my baby.” SMH
Poppy (California)
I've got some bad news for you, steve, regarding what's about to happen to the households of poor, unmarried, uneducated girls and women of childbearing age in red states, thanks to five religious zealots on the Supreme Court.
Berkeley Bee (Olympia, WA)
@steve schaffer You point the finger at "girls and women," but the same admonition applies to "boys and men" who are the reason, the ONLY reason, cause of females having children out of wedlock. Tend to your own gender/sex, Steve. Make them be responsible. Condemn their behavior. Good luck.
GWE (Ny)
I had to tell you, I am having a day when I am really mourning being a woman in this country. Even this revered paper doesn’t see its own sexism. What hope is there for us to expect men to take up the slack when even the most liberal institutions can’t be counted on to see women as autonomous adults. What has me in such a state. Well Dobbs, obviously but today it was reading Brett Stevens describing AOC as an unqualified celebrity. Listen, I don’t like her politics, but even I have to admit she is an impressive young woman of color who is beyond accomplished. Yet the NYT saw fit today to print something dismissing her and her accomplishments as celebrity. This on top of last weeks’ fashion piece on Liz Cheney and Casey Hutchinson. We have to challenge sexism at every turn. I know my comment is not about birth control per se, but it is all tied together. I have never felt less hopeful than I do today about the potential for my daughter to have the same dignity and options as her brother….
Paul (Pittsburgh)
@GWE Both the NYT and the WaPo have opinion writers who explain a different concept in all phases of this country The WaPo prints opinions by Hugh Hewitt, Henry Olsen and Marc Thiessen, 3 of the most right wing admirers of Trump and MAGA. None of what they write is supported by the editors or publishers of that newspaper. The Times does the very same to allow different opinions from conservatives
GWE (Ny)
@Paul Of course and as a moderate liberal, i welcome those opinions, particularly when they are reasoned. My issue is not the writer but the BIAS and how casually we accept it when the target is female. Take the AOC thing….I don’t like her. I would not vote for her. Her tax policies scare me. But she is a highly respected elected official with an academic track record, intellect, and inherent gravitas as such yet Brett Stevens dismissed her as “unqualified celebrity” . If he had been referring to Congressman of color, it would be a much more obviously glaring problem but no, he is referring to a young woman of color so it is just swept under the rug despite the opinion having zero basis. If getting elected to Congress at a young age and having a following of millions is not enough gravitas, then what is? Sure, when JFK did it he was Presidential but when it’s a young woman, it’s a fluke. Read up on her-she is impressive even if I don’t like her politics. My other issue is the focus on what women wear at their work. There was an entire piece of what Liz Cheney and Cassidy Hutchinson wore. This happens regularly. How can women be taken seriously if they are routinely dismissed as walking adornments? Perhaps as a man, you can’t see this but take it from a woman, these are all the ways we are marginalized as an “other” and it is this “other hood” that has gotten us to this point. I am 54 years old and I am at the top of the heap and I am still EXHAUSTED. Enough already
Aimee (washington)
@GWE It sounds like you are pro-choice from your comment, yet you say you "don't like her politics" about AOC who is one of the few congresspeople calling out the rampant inaction by both parties that has brought us to this point?
John Perry (Rancho Mirage)
Been there, done that. Vasectomy
jimerson (Seattle)
What if contraception is not the central issue? There are biological realities (only women get pregnant), so aren't we really talking about responsibilities? How do we make men responsible for their role in fertilizing an egg? Let's explore other possibilities. If a woman gets pregnant and doesn't want to carry the pregnancy to term, let's find a way to implant the fetus into the man's body and let him act as incubator for nine months. That would be an equitable sharing of responsibility.
A (FL)
I was really excited about a male hormonal contraceptive in development, dimethandrolone undecanoate, as I read in a science magazine that it had passed clinical safety tests. It was only when I actually dug into the paper itself that I realized the mechanism of action of this pill immediately sends a man's serum testosterone levels to castration levels, and below most women's testosterone levels - from 300-1000 ng/dl to 10-20 ng/dl. This immediately closes the door of this pill to anyone involved in strength sports like myself, and I don't appreciate that this pill would be marketed to me without any mention of what most people with knowledge of endocrinology would consider an obvious show-stopper. Luckily, the trial also showed that after discontinuation, serum testosterone reverted to previous levels over the next month. However, anyone familiar with this knows that repeated stop-start use of exogenous androgens quickly erodes the HPG axis's ability to bounce back. There's a non-hormonal male contraceptive called YTC529 in development which works by blocking a Vitamin A receptor. I'm very excited for updates on this! Us men have a responsibility to bear an equal share of the burden of pregnancy planning, and non-hormonal male contraceptives are definitely most promising way forward.
jimerson (Seattle)
@A I think Tucker "The End of Men" Carlson just had a fainting spell.
Mike (SC)
@A Testosterone is male birth control. We've know this for decades.
bioprof (New Vernon, NJ)
@A dimethandrolone is an anabolic/androgenic steroid (an androgen receptor agonist), which means that it acts in the body the same way that testosterone does, so the anabolic effects are still there with regard to strength and muscle. and the androgenic effects on libido are there, too. It's just that the local production of testosterone by the testes is too low to sustain sperm production. For the record, "stop-start" use of ANY steroid is not recommended for males or females, but that is not the way hormonal contraceptives are intended to be used.
Bloomington Cook (Bloomington, IN)
I appreciate this column more than I can say. In so many articles about the recent Supreme Court decision, people write as though men don't have children. It is certainly true that men don't gestate children. But they beget them, and decent men raise them. It's time the national conversation were not just about the responsibilities of women, but also of men.
Paul (Pittsburgh)
@Bloomington Cook Men won’t bear the brunt of any pregnancies that women must endure Even a husband, let alone the father of a child born out wedlock.
Christina (NYC)
I see male contraceptives as a great addition to safe het sex practices, and a way for men to feel more autonomy in preventing an unwanted pregnancy (and to take more responsibility for that prevention). But it's a complement, not a replacement, for other forms of birth control. As a woman, I know I have more skin in the game and I'm ultimately the one that would face the consequences of an unwanted pregnancy, so I'm never relinquishing my control in the matter. Two forms are probably better than one, though, so I'd love to have my partner taking on some of that responsibility with me.
music observer (nj)
@Christina If both the man and woman are using birth control, the odds of conceiving become significantly less than 1% I would guess. If the woman forgets to take her pills, the guy has that covered, or vice versa. If the woman takes antibiotics and forgot or doesn't realize that wipes out the pill, guy has it covered. When my girlfriend (now wife of many decades) started having sex, we used condoms and she a diaprhagm with spermacide jelly. Sounds like overkill, but I had a condom break a couple of times, and having that could very well have prevented an unwanted pregnancy.
Aimee (washington)
@Christina That's why you can require they wear a condom, or bank their sperm and get a vasectomy til they're ready to procreate. Condoms are there for STD protection as well.
Paul Dixon (Boston, MA)
To answer the question posed in the headline: Yes. Emphatically, yes.
Louise (USA)
Well if he can get a drug to get it up to impregnate, he should have something to get it down, not impregnate...
Diane Taylor (California)
@Louise You win the comments section today!
Charles Becker (Politically nonbinary)
There's basically one way to have sex that involves the risk of pregnancy. There are dozens of other ways that don't. What we have here is a lack of imagination.
Moly (San Francisco)
@Charles Becker I was thinking about this just today! Though I've certainly felt the biological urge to have procreative sex when ovulating, and it requires some discipline to avoid that activity then, there certainly are plenty non-procreative activities. Not to make light of the SC decision, but I confess it gave me a much-needed chuckle to fantasize that an unintended consequence of the overturning of Roe could be an open-minded, pansexual population. It was surprising to me that in all the talk about overturning Roe, it wasn't until today that I started thinking about all the options.
Denna (Midwest)
Forgive my cynicism, but I'm not sure I would trust many men to be honest about whether they're on birth control while pushing for unprotected sex. A truly responsible person probably shouldn't trust anyone but themselves to prevent unwanted pregnancies, woman or man.
John (San Francisco)
@Denna But that's unfair! As this youngest generation reminds us all the time, it's unfair! There's no way actually to make it fair, but it's still unfair!
Sylvia Calabrese (Harlem, NY)
As a woman, I would never want to depend on males to provide me with birth control. Why would I want to hand over my bodily autonomy and personal agency to yet more men to control?! There are excellent birth control methods available to women.
Aj (Ct)
Many women cannot tolerate the pill or other hormonal forms of BC. Men should bear the burden of this for a while. Can women stop shooting down ideas that will help other women? What is wrong with you all?!
tj (ny)
As a man, I would never want to depend on females to provide me with birth control. Why would I want to hand over my finances and personal agency to yet more women to control?!
Aimee (washington)
@tj And, pray tell, who are all these women controlling your bodily functions right now? What women have legislated your rights as a man to your reproductive organs?
Who (Midwest)
I’d be first in line to use one of it were available. It’s less a question of demand and more to do with the scientific challenges of inhibiting sperm production or blocking it during ejaculation. Hopefully we can make real progress on this soon. An ex of mine could not tolerate hormonal birth control, so we relied on condoms and learned the hard way that even with perfect use it’s not all that unlikely they will fail at some point over the course of years. We hear a lot about people who struggle to conceive, but I think most people (especially young people) vastly underestimate how easy it is to get pregnant.
Aimee (washington)
@Who One in eight couples battle infertility, and being one of those I can tell you that the majority out there tell us how doggone easy it is to get PG even though for many, it never, ever happens (IVF is not a cure and only works in 1 out of 3). You could have avoided "learning the hard way" by getting a vasectomy, right? Men don't like to hear this but they are reversible, and men have been able to bank their sperm for many years, so condoms are not the only option for men, never have been in the modern age we live in.
Antonio (Brooklyn)
Ultimately its the individual's choice and personally, as of today, I wouldn't. Hormonal contraception isn't going to prevent STDs, so until then, no glove no love.
Glenn (Brentwood, CA)
The world is over populated and either we get this under control some way or sooner or later a virus now hiding in a jungle will get us with far more morbidity than Covid. I grew up in California when it was half the population and it was paradise, now with 45M people it feels over run with human beings, basically too many people competing for too few resources. Male contraception would not just help in the abortion debate but would be a boon to mankind, who is poisoning the planet with hordes of humans and making it uninhabitable.
R.G. Frano (NY, NY)
Re: "...Male contraception would not just help in the abortion debate but would be a boon to mankind,.." {@Glenn} 102% agreement! I am enjoying my vasecotomized, (for birth control purposes...), state, immensely! BTW: Nether my buns, nor my wallet have seen the inside of a basilica since 1969...
Tim (MA)
It would be cool if a male hormone contraceptive came with some sort of at-home test that could confirm to others that it was working. Like at-home covid or pregnancy tests. Men could keep some on hand to reassure partners.
Jo (Tampa)
@Tim Great point! I know my husband is absent minded and would probably forget to take his "pill." Not an issue for us due to age, but this would be ideal.
Mike (SC)
@Tim Testosterone for the hormonal BC and a microscope. Take's about 30 seconds to check. A bit longer to get the sample. ;) The problem is getting the testosterone, that part is not easy.
Lyn Robbins (Southeast)
In my opinion, consequences for rape and abuse must be much more impactful to the point that they are actual deterrents to said crimes. Also, false allegations of rape or abuse should have equally severe consequences because lives can be totally destroyed even if innocence is proven.
Joe (Chicago)
@Lyn Robbins That's a false equivalence. Unlike unintended pregnancy, false reports of rape and sexual abuse are practically nonexistent (despite what so-called men's rights activists claim). Further, the harm to a man's reputation due to a contested rape or assault claim is negligible compared to the actual impact of pregnancy and delivery on a woman's short and long-term well-being. Men routinely go on to enjoy rewarding careers even when they've been credibly accused (and even convicted!) of sexual assault. There's no crisis there.
MAC (New Mexico)
A marketing campaign that destigmatizes vasectomies is long overdue.
A. (NJ)
@MAC Why? Birth rates in the West are through the floor and many people seem content to "try" to start a family well into their 30s, which is far from guaranteed no matter how much money one throws at the issue. Go advertise that in Nigeria, or Indonesia, or anywhere else it might actually help, and see where it gets you.
sing75 (new haven)
Until the year I graduated from college, condoms were illegal in my home state of Connecticut. Even now, I recall the individual tragedies caused by unwanted teenage pregnancies: attempted suicide, death by car crash, messy and horrible illegal abortion, lives diminished by shame and lost opportunities. The children this happened to were 13-15 years old--at the least the ones I knew: there may have been others who were closer to adutlhood, perhaps 16 or 17 or even 18. This could never happen again, right? We couldn't go back to this, please, could we?
music observer (nj)
@sing75 If the Catholic Church has its way it will. The law you mentioned in Connecticut was because of the power of the Catholic Church in the state, it was that law that the Griswold decision in 65 overturned. And with male contraception you can bet the church will really scream, after all every sperm is sacred......seriously, they and the like will scream even more about 'interrupting nature', since in their world men are gods.
Diane Taylor (California)
@sing75 Exactly. The sad thing is that my anti-abortion acquaintances tell me that I am wrong and none of those things happened when I bring it up. I’m 71 and like you, I witnessed this among students in my high school. They honestly think these things are made up.
jimerson (Seattle)
Male oral contraception should be as easy and available as female contraception. But if a contraceptive fails (or isn't taken), it's the woman who has to live with the consequences. She's the only one who can get pregnant. Can men be trusted to take responsibility for contraception? Would you simply take a man's word that he was taking "the pill," knowing the risks if he's lying or maybe hasn't always entirely followed the directions on the box?
Mike (SC)
@jimerson "Would you simply take a man's word that he was taking "the pill," knowing the risks if he's lying or maybe hasn't always entirely followed the directions on the box?" I never took a woman's word for it. I'd suggest that if this ever came to pass that women take the same stance.
Susan Anderson (Boston)
@Mike Oh for Pete's sake! Women get pregnant. Men walk away. Women are more easily dominated or forced. Blaming women is just so dishonest. The numbers are out there.
Mike (SC)
@Susan Anderson And that has what to do with my guidance that nobody should take anybody's "word for it"?
Martha Shelley (Portland, OR)
I wouldn't trust a man to use contraception faithfully. They have so little skin in the game compared to women.
Kurt Freitag (Newport, Oregon)
The solution to all these problems is, as usual, dead simple. Unfortunately, the people with power are uniformly too stupid to see it. Every pro-choice state should pass into law two measures, which could, now that I think of it, be amalgamated into one: Every woman aged 13 to 43 MUST be pregnant at all times. Those unable to conceive will be dressed in all in black to indicate that they are dead to us. In addition, all men who are deemed by a commission -- which I hereby volunteer to manage -- to be "undesirable" sperm contributors will be permanently and irreversibly sterilized. Any act with the intention of impregnating a woman is decriminalized. Then we sit back and wait. If forcing a woman to be pregnant against her will is not unconstitutional, neither will this law be. If women do not have control over their reproductive rights, then neither are men. And how could a sacred event like pregnancy arise from a criminal act? My guess is that the religious nitwits on the Supreme Court will suddenly come up with something pretty much identical to "privacy" that they just now noticed in the Constitution. Call it autonomy. Maybe a bunch of other people will decide that if the government can't stick a needle in your arm, they also can't stick a baby in your womb.
@Kurt Freitag That book has already been written. The TV series of it for Season Five starts in a couple months.
JH (Planet Earth)
I like this idea of Male Contraception. Having known men that have been trapped into fatherhood by their partners who lied about being on birth control, it seems like this would eliminate that issue. It would create the right to choose about parenthood for both Women and Men. I believe that that equality would engender more pragmatic conversations between couples about whether or not they are truly ready to take on parenthood.
L (TN)
@JH So, men need more rights when it comes to pregnancy? Lying is not a female or male trait. Men lie equally about their intentions in sexual encounters, and just like a woman, they know fully well that any sexual encounter can result in a pregnancy, contraceptives used or not, Of course, use of a male contraceptive may give more cover to a rapist or a serial cheater. Nevertheless, the majority of the consequences of a pregnancy fall on the woman. Her body bears the physical risks, and she bears the medical expenses and loss of income due to recovery time. A man may, if the woman takes him to court, bear some financial responsibility, but in the real world, most of the provider role falls to the woman. One would have to have very limited life experience to think otherwise. The statistics on single parent households leave no room for doubt as to who shoulders the majority of responsibility for raising a child.
Sam (Seattle)
I always wonder why men are having sex with someone they don’t want to be “trapped” into having a baby with…
Atticus (Georgia)
@JH Condoms
Frances (West Michigan)
Rather than further developing a contraceptive method that men will only lie about using, put that R & D money into mass- producing Del-Em devices. Put them into WOMEN’S hands, and distribute them widely!
Garth (Berkshires)
Tamsulosin is effectively a male contraceptive pill. Used to treat an enlarged prostate, it also turns off sperm production while in use. Production is restored when the pill is not taken so it's effects are fully reversible.
FarTraveler (MD)
@Garth Interesting, but since it takes up to three months for existing sperm to work their way out following vasectomy, I'd have to be taking it now to protect sex around Christmas!
Transcendental Meditation (NYC)
It’s only young unmarried ppl who actually have sex…I’ll tell you…when I was a young guy a male contraceptive injection would have been more popular than beer…
Mike (SC)
@Transcendental Meditation You would have had to have teams of men with guns keeping my dorm from storming the building when I was in college. We all hated condoms but hated the idea of child support more.
bioprof (New Vernon, NJ)
@Transcendental Meditation Well, 14% of women who got abortions were married and another 31% were living with the person who got them pregnant, so some sex does happen in committed relationships as well...
Transcendental Meditation (NYC)
I said unmarried not uncommitted…
L (TN)
Just what women need. More men empowered to engage in sexual activities with no consequence. That's what male contraceptives would provide. Why would a woman trust a man who claims to be on a male contraceptive? He has nothing to lose if he lies. She has everything to lose.
Margot Smith (USA)
@L And what are the consequences now?
RidgeS (Austin)
@L Have you heard of child support?
L (TN)
@Margot Smith. Don't get your point. We are talking about the risk of pregnancy. If she is presently using contraceptives, at least she is reducing her risk. And she is already fully aware of the consequences of an unwanted pregnancy or she would not be using contraception. The SC has made that absolutely clear.
Dr B (San Diego)
Unplanned is very different than unanticipated. Many, perhaps most, people having sex are not planning on having children but certainly know that pregnancy can result. Unplanned pregnancies are overwhelmingly due to failure to use contraceptives. Gay and lesbian couples have fulfilling sex lives but only very rarely have unplanned pregnancies. Perhaps heterosexual couples should follow their example.
Mark (Germany)
@Dr B I think you will find it is hard for man to get pregnant from having sex with another man the same for a woman having sex with a woman ? there is no example to follow here in terms of responsibility. If you can think of a way that homosexual intercourse can lead to a pregnancy please let me know I would be interested scientifically.
Mike (SC)
@Dr B Gotta break out my biology book again, but I'm pretty sure that gay/lesbian couples having sex results in exactly 0 unplanned pregnancies.
kateB (brewster ny)
@Dr B that is because men w/men and women/women can't get pregnant. I'm sure you know this, what is your point?
n1789 (savannah)
Will our macho men really take a contraceptive pill? Would it change their drives? Would it make them more feminine?
Mike (SC)
@n1789 Yes, yes and no. Testosterone IS male birth control. We've known it for years, but we don't allow men access to it for that purpose. Yes, it changes your drive, higher. No, it doesn't make you more feminine, it makes you more masculine. If you, as either gender, take exogenous sex hormones of your gender, you become sterile. We've kept that under wraps, and we pretend we're "trying to find" the MBC solution. It's all a ruse. Look at the research, it's out there in many medical journals; we've long known how to do make a "pill" for men, but we don't allow men access to testosterone for that reason.
Margot Smith (USA)
@n1789 BCP for women currently run the risk of cancer, stroke, heart attack, and lesser effects of weight gain, acne, mood dysphoria, etc. Sorry, a little reduction in toxic masculinity is a small price to pay since men passed the reversal of R vs. W.
Jerry (San Diego)
@Margot Smith Birth control pills actually reduce the risk of ovarian, endometrial, and colorectal cancer, but slightly increase the risk of breast cancer.
Have any red state anti-abortion bills including anything about who bears the expense of raising the child, and what the responsibilities of the man who impregnated her are? It’s astonishing that the female species has put up with men for as long as they have. Abbot and the GOP clown car should remember that women could — if they wanted — wipe out the male species in less than a generation (except for breeding stock, of course).
Barbara (Leland Nc)
Hmm. I can't credit for this, as someone in a free weekly paper in Portland, ME wrote an opinion piece/article about it in the 80s or 90s when republicans (Gingrich?) were pushing to house single moms in dormitories because they were bleeding the country with their children. How about an ejacumeter? A sensor that is put into every male child at birth. It measures every time they ejaculate. You could then tax every ejaculation, and put the money into a fund to cover costs of all the "illegitimate" children born. That way, the government/women could cover the costs of bringing up the children, especially since many men don't seem to pay child support? Could keep the population up (right Elon?) and that way men could not sully their bodies or brains with birth control.
sophia (bangor, maine)
Will the theocrats say that sperm are alive and rule against anything that 'stems the tide' of life? And if so, will we have men arrested for spilling the little buggers, killing life? How many lives have men wasted, all that potential from god, by doing the dirty deed? I want them arrested and charged with murder. Now. And no more tight jeans, guys. Because tight jeans stifle your potential life. And taking anything internally that can harm them, like drugs or cigarettes or alcohol, you will be charged for harming potential life. Women in half of this country are now second class citizens. That's the point.
L (TN)
@sophia I do not see that red states who wish to eliminate contraceptives would differentiate between female and male usage. Any ban would ban both sexes from contraceptive use. But I share your frustration that male contraception would change absolutely nothing, except add an additional male entitlement to sexual encounters. No pregnancy risk encounters do not exist and therefore cannot resolve the problems created by unplanned pregnancies.
Karen A (Rochester, NY)
@sophia I agree and have made the same argument as women are next facing laws against the use of contraception. If a woman has sex, it's for procreation, only. If she has sex for pleasure she's a whore. Any resulting pregnancy is God's Will. To prevent it in any way, is to go against God's plans. This holds even when the pregnancy is the result of rape and/or incest (even of children). It's beyond understanding that so many women follow their husband's, pastor's, etc. beliefs and accept this - even if just passively by not working against these misogynist attempts to control and rule women. Yes, men - spilling your sperm at any time other than when both parties agree to procreate must also be against God's Will too and therefore should be equally punished! Yeah, right. The anger, disbelief, fury, anxiety, hate, etc. that I feel these days is eating at me. I hope enough women and men see the writing on the wall and vote for democrats this fall. It's only a first step but it is a critical one in stopping the rapid descent into loss of privacy and rights. Women are the first casualties but minorities, people who aren't heterosexual, etc. will be next. Far sooner than most would have believed possible before SCOTUS was packed with judges who lied to get nominated and who now openly show that they are working for a white male dominated country. Everyone else will be second class (or lower) citizens. How soon will livestock be worth more than women? A joke, but...
bioprof (New Vernon, NJ)
@Sophia Good point. And it is estimated that about a third (or more) fertilizations result in spontaneous abortions, also known as miscarriages. so is God a divine abortionist?
April (NYC)
I do think there is some underestimation on how many mothers would put their teenage sons on male contraceptives. Then the question is if you have been on it for your teenage years and your mother is nagging you does that use continue into college. I’d put my kid on it. I don’t want his life derailed because of a pregnancy. He gets zero say whether to have an abortion (not to say this should change but rather that it’s a fact that this decision stays with her). I believe in taking equal responsibility so he should be doing his part. While I support condoms for STIs they aren’t the most effective and have problems. Lastly, I don’t trust that he will be smart enough to identify a girl looking for a meal ticket or an out of her life who will get accidentally pregnant so I don’t think he should trust her to take care of this.
VirginiaAnne (Southern Ontario, Canada)
@April I was with you for your first paragraph and most of your second. I wish you and your son well and commend you for instilling in him his responsibilities. But you went off the rails and totally lost me on your "a girl looking for a meal ticket" or "an out of her life" comments. Really??? This ain't the 50's anymore my friend, and those ridiculous 'realty' shows are scripted made up garbage. I doubt there are many lurking predator femme fatales out there seeking to entrap hapless men (or 'innocent' teenage boys).
Jackie (Missouri)
@April When the average women makes less than the average man, and cannot afford her own apartment, washing machine, dryer, car, or a T-bone steak, much less support her own children, can you really blame her for "looking for a meal ticket," which is simply another term for "good provider?" Flip the disparity between women's earnings and men's earnings on its head, and pay women who work traditional women's jobs more, and men who work traditional men's jobs less, and see who exactly is marrying whom for money.
Pen (San Diego)
We hear the anti-abortion, anti-women’s right zealots will not be satisfied with outlawing abortion, that they will next go after all forms of birth control. Given the heavily male composition of every legislature in this country, however, I can’t see them gaining significant support for the passing of laws banning the forms of male contraception discussed in this article. It’s one thing to restrict the rights of women, but God forbid they should ever curtail their own male freedoms!
Barbara Lee (Philadelphia)
As a society we can't train men not to rape. We can't train them that women are not sexual objects to be used at will. We can't train them to understand that they have no "right" to a hot woman (cue the incel movement)... Why on earth would we trust that they're actually using birth control? And women who want tubals shouldn't have to beg for 20 years. If 18 is old enough to have a baby, it's old enough to know kids aren't in the picture.
VirginiaAnne (Southern Ontario, Canada)
@Barbara Lee Spot on. And not only the Incel creepos and others of their ilk are not about to make any effort to sully their precious bodies with any form of birth control, you can add most supposedly pro-choice enlightened chappies to the list. That old cliche of talking the talk but not walking the walk is the unvarnished truth. I knew at a very young age I did not want children of my own. I did not trust condoms, birth control pills created havoc on my entire body and health and I could not tolerate them despite years of misery. I could not find one doctor that was willing to "let" me have my tubes tied. Forget about removing my ovaries despite many many cysts, and frequent surgeries to deal with them. After decades of invasive IUDs implanted in my innards, my ovaries were finally yanked along with my useless uterus in my early 60's. By an oncologist, after being diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer. Welcome to the real world of some women's lives, guys.
Transcendental Meditation (NYC)
This is for the MAN’S peace of mind…the woman is a lucky beneficiary…of NOT getting pregnant…never met a man who wanted kids …or who didn’t regret it…
Jennie (WA)
Men have a near perfect contraceptive already. All they need to do is freeze sperm and get a vasectomy. It's reliable and much safer than any of the hormonal birth control methods women use.
Mark (Germany)
Certainly, men and women need to be involved in contraception and family planning. It is of course easier to stop an egg once a month from being fertilized and implanting compared to stopping the millions of sperms released upon ejaculation. I had a vasectomy once it was clear we were not going to have any more kids. I can recommend it as very simple procedure – it only takes a few minutes really - yeah it is sore afterwards for like half a day - it takes the burden of contraception away from the women in your life – no need for someone to keep taking hormones etc.
Bonnie Huggins (Denver)
I can't wait until we can start arresting men for being baby killers. Finally, some justice.
RG (upstate NY)
The technical challenges with a male contraceptive are substantial. Blocking millions of sperm produced daily or weekly is much more challenging than blocking one egg a month. Doing so without impacting libido or performance is even more challenging. It seems like good politics but weak science.
Margot Smith (USA)
@RG Except that blocking that egg has a high risk of clots, stroke, heart attack and cancers. Ahhh poor baby with a slew of 'technical challenges' and reduced libido. They won't die from it.
P H (Seattle)
@RG ... Lions, Tigers, Bears ... Oh My! Do not mess with a man's precious libido or performance! But, sure, go ahead and cause all sorts of side effects in women with various forms of birth control! Just. Sit. Down.
Diane Taylor (California)
@RG It is amazing how many men here are afraid of having to take some form of responsibility on this issue. Not all, but too many.
Pen (San Diego)
We hear the anti-abortion, anti-women’s rights zealots will not be satisfied with outlawing abortion, that they will next go after all forms of birth control. Given the heavily male composition of every legislature in this country, however, I can’t see them gaining significant support for the passing of laws banning the forms of male contraception discussed in this article. It’s one thing to restrict the rights of women, but God forbid they should ever curtail their own male freedoms!
n (toronto)
Your article should be the headline instead of a side opinion. Finally, someone is talking about being proactive vs reactive. Let's put the money into that rather than millions against abortion. No one is pro abortion. It is a lousy method of contraception. People are pro choice if it occurs. Thank you for your article. I hope it happens soon.
Pen (San Diego)
We hear the anti-abortion, anti-women’s rights zealots will not be satisfied with outlawing abortion, that they will next go after all forms of birth control. Given the heavily male composition of every legislature in this country, however, I can’t see them gaining significant support for the passing of laws banning the forms of male contraception discussed in this article. It’s one thing to restrict the rights of women, but God forbid they should ever curtail their own male freedoms!
boston doctor (boston)
Because reproduction is inherently a greater investment for a woman, a nonverifiable form of male birth control will never be as widely used. Not as big of a "solution" as it seems.
kateB (brewster ny)
Thank you and keep on trying. Men who wish to share the birth control burden are the men of the future.
me (here)
I LOVE the illustration by Jon Krause!! Such wit!
Mike (SC)
@me Took me a few seconds of looking at it to get it. Yes, it's very good, quite witty!
Anastasia Lewis (Boulder, Colorado)
The fact that male as well as female commentators have such a low opinion of male commitment to preventing pregnancy tells me all I need to know about the wisdom of permitting 7 men to dictate abortion law.
Ski bum (Colorado)
The debate begins. Men have always gotten away with little participation in birth control. I’ve heard from a few women that another form of birth control is for women to go on a sex strike. No sex, no babies!
bioprof (New Vernon, NJ)
@Ski bum and for the women who actually like sex?
Mary Martin (California)
Every few years I hear in the news about how male contraception is right around the corner, and it never happens.
Zamboanga (Seattle)
We need a morning after pill for men.
Lumberjack Bear (The Great Northwest)
Make a male contraceptive that also promises 'bigger and better'.......the pharmacies won't be able to keep it in stock.
NCSense (NC)
All the women who would trust that their male partner was conscientiously using contraception, raise your hands. Bueller? Bueller?
Larry Figdill (Seattle)
I really dislike these self promotional opinion pieces.
Dan (Lafayette)
Nope. Male contraception (I believe one form is called keeping your pants zipped) is all fine and well. But if females are relying on their rapist, daddies, violent boyfriends, frat boys, dates, and irresponsible husbands to use contraceptives as a replacement for a female right to bodily autonomy, that is a never gonna work scenario. Restore Roe.
Frank (Raleigh, NC)
Again, and as you suggested, capitalism often fails us. Not only in the outline that Karl Marx gave us of worker lacking all control and the huge, vulgar disparity in wealth between capitalist/worker but in true rational needs of people. It is an outdated economic system. The profit motive never produces enough incentive to give us valuable, low profit or no profit products or services. We see this constantly. One recent example is the horrid lack of personal medical protective gear during COVID; you can find estimates of patients and medical personnel who died because of that. No profit in manufacturing this gear and just storing it for when needd. No profit in building of finding homeless people shelter. No profit in creating a minimum wage or a solid national medical insurance for all. You and I could each list ten more quickly. Our two party system, which is really one, helps keep this nasty economic system going. Again Loaded with money bribe payoffs (profits). Large scale corruption. Take a look at the party system in Portugal and France; multiple parties to chose from that range from democratic socialist to green to middle of the road, etc. Our strict, profit only, markets only, production system is slowly weakening our country. Capitalism will fade away just as the slave economy did and just as the medieval economic systems did. Some countries are far better with rational economic systems protecting all people. Profit alone is a selfish, narrow motivator.
Philip Roberts (Portland, OR)
This article makes good points. But remember, the Supreme Court's next point of attack could well be contraception. So, no matter how well meaning and factual this op-ed is- the real issue is women's control over their own bodies. Politics, not pharmaceuticals will solve this manufactured crisis. Prohibiting abortion is enforced/forced pregnancy. Perhaps enforced/forced male sterilization or contraception would be a morally equivalent counter. But I can assure you- the misogynistic majority on the Supreme Court would not like that. Nor would most Americans. Yet, it I likely the future, as over population and environmental destruction will dictate choices on who is born and who lives.
Kathleen (Colorado)
Parents and schools in my community talk openly and early about sexual health. Most mothers inform and support their teenage girls’ contraception as vital ingredient to a successful future. For our boys there is only one option and it’s not very reliable. There is definitely a market for the injectable gel. When can we get it?! The relief in knowing your son’s future will not be sabotaged by accidental fatherhood would be celebratory. Some men can’t perform with condoms. They desperately need another option.
Jennie (WA)
@Kathleen Condoms are still necessary for disease prevention.
Lorraine (Kerhonkson, NY)
Condoms are always necessary for sex because of STD’s. So not sure a male birth control pill is ever going to be popular. Single women I know take birth control as double protection but they still expect guy to wear a condom. No sex is worth HIV or hepatitis C.
Brigette Quinn (Tucson, AZ)
Human sexual behavior and drive have not changed since we emerged from the muck. Attempts to sequester sexuality fail and result in pathology. Sex education at an early age helps, but the religious right is still confused about what leads to human behavior. Females accept the risk and benefits of receiving the HPV vaccine at puberty. What if males accepted an injection that sequesters sperm production or motility until age 30? Most males and many females lack the functional and emotional maturity to be a good parent before age 30 in US/Canadian culture. While clinics and emergency departments would still treat countless sexually transmitted infections for males and females, fewer unplanned, unwanted pregnancies would occur. If the US supreme court is going to remove the rights of all females, it is time to also remove the rights of males as causation of unwanted, unplanned pregnancy. Congratulations to Dr. Page And Dr. Amory at UW for bringing this conversation to the forefront of informed readers!
Mark (Germany)
@Brigette Quinn I really doubt sterilizing men or women until they are XX years old will fly as an idea – basic human rights kind of stuff, I could be wrong but taking away peoples control over their own bodies is why everyone is upset about that ruling. And yes, you can’t just make the men sterile in the spirit of equity and inclusion you would have to do the women as well as (also the LBGT+++ community as well to be fair).
lemon (MTL)
@Brigette Quinn Boys should be getting the HPV vaccine as well as girls.
Brigette Quinn (Tucson, AZ)
@Mark My proposal is mostly foddered for science fiction and perhaps a comedy. However, court-ordered birth control is not. Imagine how many fewer neonatal abstinence children would suffer if we really cared about children/infants. Daily life in any hospital is not funny, nor fiction. As an RN Case Manager, I called in 8 women on one day shift from one hospital to the Department of Child Services due to positive drug screens for the mother and baby. In the US, we reportedly care about the right to life, but not the quality of life.
northlander (Michigan)
Life always finds a way.
Ron (Florida)
Some testosterone medications come in the form of gels that are applied to shoulders or limbs. They can be very irritating. Can any women really trust a sexual partner to reliably go through this ritual every day without missing applications?
Mike (SC)
@Ron "Can any women really trust a sexual partner to reliably go through this ritual every day without missing applications?" You've obviously never taken testosterone. Yes, they will remember, because it confers benefits to overall well being (perceived anyway). Also, as a note, gels are a terrible way to take this drug, they aromatize more heavily and, as you said, can be irritating and wipe off on others, etc. SC or IM shots are the way to go.
Anastasia Lewis (Boulder, Colorado)
The partner could apply it.
Tournachonadar (Illiana)
What about vasectomy, that venerable snip? The world is vastly overpopulated and men are accessories to reproduction, after all. Do we really need such fecundity in our midst?
June (Charleston)
Baloney! Many, many men refuse to pay child support or spend time with the children they produce. Men will not use birth control, that's for women to subject their bodies to, not for men.
Poet (USA)
Oh my, this is just hilarious. The vast majority of men will never do anything that would affect their sacred potency or pleasure. The majority of vasectomies are done on married men with budget concerns, and a small number for single men with a very personal rather than a socially conscious horror of having children. I have never read anything so absurd in my life.
Mark (Germany)
@Poet I had one after we were finished with the family planning to take the burden of contraception away from my wife - nothing to do with budget concerns. More to do not wanting her to have to keep taking the pill as there can be complications.
lemon (MTL)
@Poet Vasectomy does not affect potency or pleasure. Fertility, yes. That's the whole point. Nothing else is affected.
Robertp✡️ (Spring Creek Nv.)
To me this is about saving lives. Both sexes know how to not get pregnant. By not unintentionally getting pregnant we save the life of both donors and the unborn babies. Then all we have to consider is the small percent of rape victims. My suggestion is to start by teaching and encouraging people to save lives. Save a Life it May Be Your Own.
yes!! (DC)
How does giving men more options help women?
Mike (SC)
@yes!! It doesn't. Helps men a lot though, in some cases, a WHOLE lot.
kateB (brewster ny)
@yes!! well, they will have more ways to NOT get pregnant, this isn't rocket science, this is conception and sex.
Richard Cohen (Madrid, Spain)
Does anyone believe that a man who cannot be bothered to use a condom -- a cheap, available and reliable form of birth control and disease prevention -- will be willing to use a product that may have side-effects and/or have a higher failure rate than a condom?
Mike (SC)
@Richard Cohen When those side effects are increased muscle mass, aggression, fat burning, power/speed and sexual desire. Yeah, I think it's safe to say that men will take it. Men don't use condoms not because they are too stupid to do so, they don't use them because they have a negative impact on pleasure. Men have no reversable options that don't significantly reduce the pleasure they feel. Give them an option like that, yeah, a lot will use it, especially if using it means they don't need to wear a condom.
Irina (not sure)
@Mike Oh wow just what we need, hormonal male birth control that increases aggression, power / speed and sexual desire. Yikes.
Myasara (Brooklyn)
Why are male contraceptives taking so long? Because men don't bear the physical brunt of pregnancy. I remember reading an article about male contraceptive pill development that was going nowhere because the men didn't like the side effects. I'm sure they didn't. Newsflash: women don't like the side effects either, but between that and an unwanted pregnancy, they choose the former. We've come a long way from men standing around a hospital waiting room, cigars in hand and far away from the actual pain and blood of delivering a baby. It's encouraging to see men taking more responsibility here. Better late than never I guess. I hope this goes somewhere.
Mike (SC)
@Myasara We've known to create a male contraceptive with hormones for a solid 75 years. Testosterone, that simple old school, long out of patent drug is, for most men, a very reliable means of birth control. The biggest question is "why is that knowledge not common". And that's a much bigger question, IMHO, leading me back to the "world will collapse" argument if we have our birth rate drop dramatically. And we would, test has a lot of side effects, many of them positive (strength, speed, aggression). A lot of men take it today for it's other positive aspects and don't even realize it's also functioning as BC.
Chris Bunz (San Jose, CA)
Women get pregnant, men don’t. For most of human existence men did not worry about procreation and most of them still don’t. Proving fatherhood is a recent invention with genetic testing. People have sex mostly for fun, rather than to procreate. Why would any woman trust a casual partner to be the responsible one and tell the truth about using contraception? Literature is rife with men abandoning pregnant partners and denying culpability. Male contraceptives might be a great idea, but it also carries responsibility that a large percentage of the young male population does not possess. Up until now, our culture taught young men that it was always a woman’s job to practice birth control and they need not worry. To consciously stick to a routine like rubbing on gel and accept its possible side effects requires discipline that very few young males possess. If male contraceptives are to be effective, there also needs to be social engineering to teach young men of responsible behavior.
yes!! (DC)
@Chris Bunz "People have sex mostly for fun, rather than to procreate. " I think this is a false dichotomy. Evolution has equipped us with incentives to procreate, including the urge to have sex and enjoyment of sex. It's true that unlike most other animals, humans like to have sex when the female is not ovulating (suggesting some other reasons to have sex). But, its also true that males tend to find the most fertile groups of women most sexually desirable and women tend to try to emulate these fertility signs (make up to look younger, etc.).
Dan (Lafayette)
@yes!! I don’t think it’s a dichotomy, false or otherwise. But if it is, here’s a question for you to consider: over the course of a week or month or year or lifetime, what is the worldwide sum of sexual encounters, and the worldwide sum of pregnancies? That ratio suggests that people have sex mostly for fun, which is a facet of the fascist theocratic abhorrence with all things reproductive.
JerseyGirl (Princeton NJ)
@yes!! Not only that, but in every time and place before our own, people absolutely wanted children and having many children was something to be greatly desired. No man wanted an infertile woman and no woman wanted an infertile man. In the Bible, Rachael says to her husband Jacob "give me children or I will die." The sex drive evolved only as a proxy for the drive to procreate.
Jeff B (San Diego)
So many comments here based on the assumption that men face no legal, social, or emotional consequences from an unintended pregnancy. Well, fellas, what can I say? Look up the law on child support. Read about the incarceration rate for failure to pay child support. Look at the frequency of unintended pregnancy and failure rate due to mechanical and human error for birth control methods. Go somewhere other than the comments section of the NYTimes to do this research. Ask yourself if you really think it's wise to leave something this life changing in someone else's hands (again, take a cold, clear look at those failure rates). Women have already done this, and yet, errors remain common. High time you take it seriously too. First, to protect yourself, second, to create a system where two systems have to fail, not just one. Everyone's better off this way.
Dan (Lafayette)
@Jeff B But but but. According to the local parish priest, God says sex is only to create babies. If everyone is out there practicing safe and responsible sec, how can gods will be done? /s
X (New England)
@Jeff B - I wish I could recommend your comment x 1000! I look at birth control the same way I look at my seatbelt. I’ve never had a car accident. But I always wear my seatbelt. I don’t depend on other people driving well to keep me safe. I do everything I can to keep myself safe too. Both men and women should be using birth control. If one fails (which happens), there is a backup method in place. Neither group should cede all control on such a life altering issue to someone else.
John (San Francisco)
@Jeff B And look up the rate of just how many child-support orders there are. For each one you find, there are dozens of others in which the woman either doesn't know she can file for child support or doesn't have the time, money, or competence to do it. It's a pretty hollow threat. Plus you're also assuming that people make cost-benefit calculations anywhere near rationally. Hasn't COVID proven that people are inherently bad at judging individual risk in almost any situation?
Amy S. (Chicago)
The only way that there will ever be a market for male contraceptives is if there are life-altering consequences for getting a woman pregnant. As long as men are free to walk away from pregnant women, they will continue letting women bear the risk.
chickpea (California)
@Amy S. We may be there, although I expect it will take quite some time for men to understand they are no longer able to impregnate without consequence. As a person who only recently learned her biological grandfather was not the man to whom her grandmother was married, but a medical doctor with a habit of coercing patients into sexual relationships, I can tell you remaining unknown for fathering a child has become pretty unlikely.
Mark (Germany)
@Amy S. I really doubt that men can walk away from a woman that have made a child with these days - unless they join the foreign legion or something. Normal people have jobs, a place of residence, bank accounts etc. and can be found taken to court made to pay for their offspring. I think being on the run from the law is probably a life-altering consequence, as is being taken to court and made to pay for the child’s upkeep.
April (NYC)
@Mark, while money is helpful what is really crippling is the loss of time and control of your time. It’s trying to hold a job down when childcare doesn’t align with work days. When a sick child needs someone to watch them now and you miss that critical meeting. It’s when you lose work days for medical appointments. It’s when you are up all night for days on end but need to be mentally proficient the next day at work. Women need to stop just going after money and need to go after time. Men can absolutely do it. I think doing it would also lead to a much better understanding all around. Something you hear from fathers who are single fathers or stay at home fathers.
Anonymous (South Carolina)
The development of male birth control is a well intentioned effort, but women cannot cede control of their health and their bodies to a partner as the consequences of a pregnancy fall disproportionately on women’s shoulders. For those who are questioning why women say they can’t trust men with regard to the use of birth control, please look up the term “stealthing” or the non-consensual removal or damaging of a condom during intercourse. Statistics on the prevalence of stealthing are limited. However, multiple studies show it happens much more frequently than one would think. A 2014 study by Kelly Cue Davis and colleagues reported that 9.0% of participants in their sample of young men reported having engaged in condom sabotage, which included non-consensual condom removal. Other studies indicate a similar level of prevalence.
Erik Frederiksen (Asheville, NC)
From the draft of a recent IPCC report "these and other devastating climate impacts are accelerating and bound to become painfully obvious before a child born today turns 30." When I see young people starting families I sometimes think that they haven't been paying attention to climate science. Here are the recent words of a young and pregnant Australian climate scientist: “I’ve had conversations with my husband as these heatwaves were occurring this summer, going are we doing the right thing? Is it right to bring kids into this world, with me knowing how bad it is going to be? There is so much wrong with climate change, and there are so many impacts that we are already locked into, that I can't change, that no one can really change, it's going to be bad. And it's almost why would you inflict that on someone?" 1 1. Video of a conversation with four Australian climate scientists frankly discussing what it is like to live with their knowledge and where they are relocating their families to to minimize coming impacts: If I were a woman of child bearing age I'd get my tubes tied pronto.
I love my children more than life itself, and they’re growing up to be brilliant scientists (both are STEM majors at top universities, both studying climate and ecology), but there are days I regret bringing them into this toxic world.
Emory Hoelscher-Hull (Bozeman, MT)
As a young woman involved in efforts to address and adapt to climate change, I have to disagree. Yes, I've had these same conversations with my partner. We have the same fears, that it's irresponsible and setting our children up for future suffering. However, I think it's incredibly selfish and unfair for older generations to look down on us and proclaim, after everything they failed to address in their time, that not only do we have to "solve" climate change, but now we can't even have children of our own. I don't think it's unreasonable for young people to want to experience having biological children. Every generation suffers. And sure, we will be facing incredible new challenges, as will our future children. However, I don't believe it's time to just throw in the towel. I am no world-renowned climate scientist or activist, but my daily conversations, writing, and activism around climate change within my community are strengthened by my commitment to my future children and their generation.
Erik Frederiksen (Asheville, NC)
@Emory Hoelscher-Hull Thank you for that perspective. Something else to consider is that every day more human babies are born than the entire global population of our nearest relatives, the great apes, comprised by gorillas, chimpanzees and orangutans. Perhaps it's time to slow that birth rate down a bit. Also, considering the climate impact of each individual the best thing you can do to lower your carbon footprint is to not have kids.
kentuckyliz (.)
There is an injectable polymer that lines the vas without obstructing it, that explodes the swimmers as they pass through. So an ejaculation is still produced; no hormonal side effects; lasts about a decade; reversible; high patient satisfaction. Would be nice if the US FDA would approve it. What peace of mind it would give parents of young men starting their dating life.
DL (Menlo Park)
It’s not about how many men might use it. It’s about how many women would trust a man who says he’s using it, and how many of them would be sorry they did.
Jeff B (San Diego)
@DL Where in this article did anyone suggest that women stop using birth control and rely entirely on their male partners to use it effectively? Who, anywhere, is seriously suggesting this? And you must know that there are an awful lot of men who are sorry they relied on a woman to take birth control. This is hardly an uncommon story. Its... weird. I'm only going to leave this response once, or I'd be that crazy person we all know on chat forums who seems to feel obliged to bounce around making the same point several hundred times. So here it is, once: Men absolutely face serious emotional, legal, and financial consequences from unintended pregnancy. Women make mistakes all the time with birth control. How can it possibly hurt anyone that now there are two people instead of just one taking precautions?
P Wolf (Durham, NC)
One thing that may raise interest in male contraceptives is a law that makes unprotected sex with a woman by a man a crime. This is after all the true cause of most unplanned pregnancies, which is of course the reason for most abortions, which are now crimes in many states. Just as a person who hires an assassin to kill somebody is guilty of a crime even if the murder is not committed, so too a man who has unprotected sex with a woman. Police would be able to interrogate men as to their method of contraception and men would have to prove that their act was protected. You know, sign, date and have notarized a used condom container or present a dated blood test to show they were taking an effective contraceptive or present surgical evidence of a vasectomy. Only when men are put at risk will men stop making laws that effect woman’s privacy.
Mark (Germany)
@P Wolf I guess you are joking. In an ideal world there would be no unwanted pregnancies and people would behave responsibly - we don’t live in that world. In the scenario you are talking about then both the man and woman would have to prove they are using an effective contraceptive 😊 fair is fair shared responsibility between two adults and all that. Thinking ti through maybe there could be a new TV show called "sperm police" where men accused of not using an effective contraceptive could me put on show trial and the viewers could vote on guilty or not guilty ?
Atikin (Citizen)
Good luck getting men to care about birth control. Not only do they hate putting anything “unnatural” ON any particular body part, they sure as heck won’t put anything, like medication to prevent pregnancy, IN it. The only thing that will make men take preventing unwanted pregnancies seriously is if they are faced with the CERTAINTY of having to support the fetus/birth/child — and for that you need the courts and law enforcement to take it seriously, as well (and more than half of THEM are men — so good luck with that).
LAH (Port Jefferson)
No woman in her right mind would trust any man to take full responsibility for contraception, no matter what method for men science can invent.
Transcendental Meditation (NYC)
It’s not for the woman’s peace of mind…it’s for prevention of pregnancy…believe me, young ppl are gonna do it…
Joe (NYC)
It's great to avoid unplanned pregnancy. But the problem is not unplanned pregnancies. The problem is one's right to control one's body, to make decisions about it without being dictated to by a theocratic-minded state. Do you have a treatment for ridding us of religious zealots trying to force us to live by their doctrines? That would be useful.
woman (america)
We need to be clear about who “has” children. Whose life is in danger during pregnancy and birth and after. And who takes care of them. Wipes their noses, changes their diapers, breastfeeds them. Loses sleep. Worries about them for 18 years and beyond. I was listening to a podcast yesterday discussing Johann Sebastian Bach. The commenter said “Bach was busy. He had 20 children.” Excuse me? Where was the mention of Mrs. Bach? Both of them? He fathered 20 children with two wives. Maria Barbara birthed seven, when she died, he immediately married Anna Magdalena and had 13 more. She also worked for Bach, copying his manuscripts. I wonder how she had the time? The two Mrs. Bachs had those children, not Johann. How often do we hear that about the man “having” the children? How many children he fathered? It’s really not difficult to father children. It’s the mothering that’s the heavy lift. It’s the mothering that’s life-threatening and life-draining.
Joshua Schwartz (Ramat Gan)
Well that was great free publicity and PR for Drs. Page and Amory. When I googled them I arrived at ResearchGate (they too can get some publicity) and lo and behold, and not surprisingly, they do have scientific publications on male hormones and contraception. I think that it would have been a lot fairer and user friendly if this essay had linked to some of this research, giving a reader a chance a delve into their work a little beyond the generalities. This is not nit picking. The NYT often provides links to the actual journal articles of publications or theories discussed. They should do it here. This is the link to Dr. Amory at ResearchGate: This is the link to Dr. Page: Interested readers can peruse their articles here.
R. Anderson (South Carolina)
Any woman who lets herself be impregnated, has only herself to blame 90 percent of the time. But there must be strong national penalties for males who disregard their obligations to protect females from pregnancy and disease.
EPPH (New Jersey)
I hope you get some well-written and eloquent backlash to your statement about “women have themselves to blame” because I’m too angry to do anything but sputter.
Jennifer (CA)
@EPPH agree 100%!
David Williams (San Diego county)
@R. Anderson "Any woman who lets herself be impregnated, has only herself to blame 90 percent of the time." I'm sure you wouldn't offer this absurd number without proof. So please give us at least one decent link.
Todd (key west)
What women is every going to believe that a man who says he is on a contraceptive unless they are in a serious relationship? So it doesn't real change the picture that much.
yes!! (DC)
The SC takes away a woman's right to choose whether to continue a pregnancy and then the NYT publishes a column suggesting that we should ALSO put the control of pregnancy in the hands of men!! It seems like the SC and the authors are walking hand-in-hand toward the Handmaidens Tale.
April (NYC)
@NYTimes, there have been a number of articles stating that women are having fewer children then they want. This article makes me wonder if you asked the same question to men do they feel they are having fewer children then they want?
Jean (Syracuse NY)
Wondering if what people will say for survey purposes and what they will do IRL has been accounted for. Sounds good on paper to say you'd trust your male partner to use a contraceptive. Sounds bad to say you wouldn't use a male contraceptive even if there are side effects. Kinda like those who say they'd never have an abortion or encourage another to have an abortion until they are faced with the reality.
TheGreatRenewal (New Zealand)
I'm 78 (woman). I grew up before the Pill or IUD or safe/legal termination. Until Women have Reproductive Equality, we will always be oppressed. It is Men who blame Women for either being sexually permissive or irresponsible. Yet, if Men got pregnant, abortion would be available in every barbershop. The burden to carry, birth, and raise a child falls onto Women who willingly, begrudgingly, or are forced to give up their lives to do so. I am furious at the 'pro-live-birth' people who are so anti-life. They've always said: "We need to give women support' while they tear down every Government initiative to do so under the term 'socialism'. I resent the take-over once again by the white, Christian, conservative nationalists (in my day the Democratic Jim Crow/segregationist) who are the Minority that oppresses the Majority.
Whitneyd. (NYC)
Do you believe that there is ine woman on God’s green earth that would trust a man with the responsibility of contraception? If so, think again!
I Am Here To Ask Hard Questios (Miami)
“Men are involved in 100 percent of unintended pregnancies.” Was this clarification necessary?
Mark (Germany)
@I Am Here To Ask Hard Questios OK Women are also involved in 100 percent of unwanted pregnancies as well. I am not sure what your point is, only men bear any responsibility or only men can be blamed what is your point ?
Ng (Vermont)
Men need to wear condoms.
I Am Here To Ask Hard Questios (Miami)
@Mark My point is that there is no need to make that statement. Both men and women are always 100% involved in pregnancies, both intended and unintended. It's just a poor writing-style choice and as subscriber of the NYT I expect more of them.
susan (nyc)
A contraception for men? I wouldn't trust any man who claims he took it.
LB (Florida)
As a woman, it’s easy to imagine how frustrating it must be to have even less control over getting someone pregnant than women do over getting pregnant. Let them have control over their reproductive systems!
Relying on men won’t work.
Ellen (Colorado)
Male contraceptives haven't evolved because unwanted pregnancies have been considered a women's problem. If Clarence Thomas really wants to outlaw contraceptives, then why wouldn't he outlaw them for men, too? With these laws in place, virtually every fertile female in the country will end up pregnant at some point with no option. But hey, that's all good, right, because America will then be a "Christian" country.
Louis (NH)
The biggest takeaway is that 20% of women are underestimating male cruelty and selfishness.
Hugh Massengill (Oregon)
There is a significant chance that this religiously dogmatic Supreme Court may try to return us to the times when contraception was outlawed. I grew up in CT. in the 1950's, when it was so outlawed. That wasn't that long ago, and goodness knows, the Republican Party is determined to force America to return to that time of not only male supremacy but Christian domination as well:
If only the research/development for male contraceptives were funded as generously and enthusiastically as erectile dysfunction, we would have a plethora of options. Priorities prevail!
K. Molyneaux (Missouri)
@NZM The evening news headlining the overturning of Roe v. Wade was punctuated by ads from a local clinic for E.D. All dressed up and nowhere to go...
Nmtm (Mi)
Unless attempting to conceive, both parties are responsible for using birth control. The only time two people should have unprotected sex is if they are actively trying to have a child. Men need to be held accountable for inseminating women if they have engaged in unprotected sex. That means they should share equally in raising their offspring. Not just monetarily, but life long physical engagement.
WonderLost (Plantation, FL)
I have to wonder if the same anti-choices will find male contraception against “God’s will” and protest their use. Since this really only comes down to economic repression against women in the guise of religion, my first instinct is to think not.
Guy in the Middle (Minnesota)
Yes, let's cut down the birth rate by 40%, all of the unplanned pregnancies, and watch our nation wither away. We already have a fertility rate 20% below replacement (~1.7 children per woman versus a replacement rate of 2.1). I'm not saying we shouldn't have more options for planning births, but I do worry about the unintended consequences. And yes, I have two unplanned children, who are the greatest blessings in my life.
Ng (Vermont)
Don’t worry. There will always be plenty of unwanted children. Along with unwanted children come more poverty, more domestic abuse, more crime, more violence, more stress, more addiction, more sickness, more homelessness
Christina L (California)
What a funny article. I’ve been hearing about this close-to-being invented story on male contraceptives now for at least forty five years. It reminds me of when we were kids and thought by the time we could drive we’d be flying around in our cars like the Jetsons someday. Ultimately, since it’s the woman who gets pregnant, she’s the only who can be counted upon to use an effective contraceptive.
anonymouse (seattle)
Why would I trust something so important -- to have a child or not -- to a man I'm not married to? Yep. Hence the low demand.
Scott Smith (Chicago)
Inventing new contraceptives is great, but I don't understand why people don't use condoms. There are no side effects aside from it might not "feel" as good. Isn't that a fair trade off to avoid creating an unwanted human? Also, this article seems to imply that abortion is a form of contraception. I support reasonable abortion rights up to a certain number of weeks, but it should be used as a last resort, not in place of condoms.
Christina L (California)
@Scott Smith I don’t know how old you are, but like most men you certainly haven’t bothered to learn much about contraception. At best, condoms are about 85 percent effective at preventing pregnancies. Condoms are useful for preventing STD, but should never be relied upon for birth control.
Susan (Montana)
It’s not a form of contraception. It doesn’t prevent conception, obviously. It is necessary when contraception fails. It prevents an unwanted BIRTH. In that sense, I guess you could call it “birth control.” But, right-wing misogynist propaganda aside, this is nobody’s primary form of birth control. It involves being pregnant, first of all, which you didn’t want to be, and then it also involves a medical procedure. So, no, most people would probably opt to prevent conception in the first place. (And even assuming there is a vanishingly small number of people who would use it as a primary form of birth control, electing to have the same medical procedure over and over again with all that entails, such people should absolutely NOT be compelled to be parents, that’s in nobody’s best interest.) In a perfect world, contraception would be enough. But we don’t live in a perfect world. People make mistakes. Birth control fails. People are taken advantage of, either physically or emotionally. People find themselves suddenly in different economic circumstances and unable to afford a child. People are in bad relationships that unfortunately they only realize are bad once they get pregnant. Men are stronger than women. It’s not always a choice. Etc.
Scott Smith (Chicago)
@Christina L This is not true. Condoms literally block the sperm from entering the vagina. How are they not 100% effective (assuming there's not a hole in it)?
Eric (MI)
Not a helpful topic and just a distraction. The Supreme Court has just made women subjects of the states without liberty or freedom.
Colorado Reader (Denver)
I would really like to see someone focus on giving every child at birth a birth cert with both genetic/bio parents (and any formally adopting parents) listed. It's optional for fathers to be listed, which I think is a violation of the child's rights. Also, focus on "equal parental responsibility in all aspects" rights held by children. While the GoP often gets blamed, correctly, for pushing paternal responsibility onto mothers (including even responsibility for the sex act itself), currently Dems saddle women with too much responsibility, via the Child Tax Credit and other structures that subsidize (directly or indirectly) sole breadwinners, whether married or not, who do not take equal responsibility for all aspect of the child's needs, to the child's detriment.
Tom (Show Low, AZ)
The University of Washington has one of the best medical schools in the country. You would think that such a product would have so much financial upside that a major drug house would jump in with both feet.
Anna (Baltimore)
I think this is very important and a lot of these comments miss the point. A lot of men are interested in avoiding an unintended pregnancy, particularly young unmarried men, and this would give them more protection than relying on their partner to remember to take a pill every day. Ideally both men and women would use contraception if needed to prevent a pregnancy, as two methods are better than 1! I have young boys and hope that they will have this as an option when they are older, and if so I will definitely encourage them to use it!
John (San Francisco)
@Anna And ideally, we'd all exercise and eat right and not drink too much and get enough sleep and not look at our phones too much. Back in the real world, we need workable solutions to actual problems. The men who would use the birth control aren't the ones who do a lot of the damage.
John (San Francisco)
@Anna Or instead of wasting all this money on pills that have side effects, we could just use condoms every single time. But, oh, I forgot, it's much easier to remember to take a pill every single day of your life than it is to use a condom 5 times a month.
r mackinnon (concord)
Until there is a central DNA database (and I’m not necessarily suggesting there should be), so that men would be financially on the hook for 18 years for any progeny, men as a group will take a hard pass on male contraceptives.
Mike (SC)
@r mackinnon Why do we need a central DNA database for this? I mean, I guess if you have no idea who the father is, then it could be useful. I'd also say one should seriously examine their life choices if you literally have "no idea" who the father may be. But if you have an idea of the father, you can already demand a DNA test in court. A refusal can lead to a contempt charge (jail) or an automatic win for the mother (man has to pay CS). I'm just not sure what exact problem a central database would solve that wouldn't better be solved by not sleeping with men where you have no idea who they are/their name. That said, in cases of forced sexual activity, then I agree with you, but if you're just talking about hookup culture; at some point, we have to say "start making better life choices" don't we?
Colorado Reader (Denver)
@r mackinnon I would really like to see someone focus on giving every child at birth a birth cert with both genetic/bio parents (and any formally adopting parents) listed. It's optional for fathers to be listed, which I think is a violation of the child's rights. Also, focus on "equal parental responsibility in all aspects" rights held by children. While the GoP often gets blamed, correctly, for pushing paternal responsibility onto mothers (including even responsibility for the sex act itself), currently Dems saddle women with too much responsibility, via the Child Tax Credit and other structures that subsidize (directly or indirectly) sole breadwinners, whether married or not, who do not take equal responsibility for all aspect of the child's needs, to the child's detriment.
r mackinnon (concord)
@Mike Agreed that men should definitely “examine their life choices” especially when engaged in casual or unprotected sex. But most don’t. As usual, is it all on females. And god forbid if a female has what you call a “hook up” . Such a sin! How dare they ! But for men -it’s their right and the natural way of the(ir) world ….
Noley (The Late Great United States)
But having men take responsibility is unlikely. Speaking as a 72 year-old male, married for nearly 40 years and father of two daughters, I can safely say that most men do not “do” responsibility.
Mark (Germany)
@Noley I don't think that is true that most men don’t do responsibility, there is minority of men who are very irresponsible indeed and enjoy causal sex for all its worth….they are not looking for any thing long term or meaningful just fun. That is of course a legitimate way to live I am not making a moral judgement – such men would indeed benefit from a male contraceptive that is easy to use and effective. That might indeed reduce unwanted pregnancies due to male empowerment, I would really doubt that men in a phase of really enjoying casual sex would want to get a woman pregnant and end up paying child support for many years. Thus, there should be a market for such products among young men who are sexually active.
bob moore (.)
@Noley 2-way street my friend.
Claude (Los Angeles)
@Noley as a 77 year old French immigrant who consistently used condoms in his young years, I nevertheless agree with you. Especially since the population at higher risk of lack of both control, the socio-economic disadvantaged, is extremely unlikely to ever use such methods. And wait for the rumors that they cause loss of virility in men or other such nonsense. A waste of talent and money imho.
April (NYC)
Anything that spreads responsibility and provides a degree of control to both parties is a good idea. My only concern is all this focus on pregnancy does forget that you aren’t protected from an STI by any of these methods.
Jan N (Wisconsin)
@April, I have two brothers and I love them dearly, and several brothers-in-law who are all "good" men. None of them would have dreamed in their younger years or now to consider taking a male contraceptive. THAT is for "women" - it's OUR problem, not theirs. They only shrug when male politicians and a fake "christian" religiosity has forced more pregnancies on females in the United States. This attitude is NOT going to change simply because some new pill comes on the market.
H E Williamson (Canada)
@Jan N I would certainly argue that they aren't "good" men at all.
B. (Brooklyn)
Sorry, folks, but you can't trust men to use these or any contraceptive methods. Unmarried men, that is. Men who love their wives, and to whom building a healthy, financially secure family life is important, will use contraceptives. Men who will not commit to a relationship in which, yes, money is entwined, have no incentive to do so. And then there are the men for whom getting (yet another) woman pregnant is fun. Look, people don't have to get married, and I am in no way religious; but very practically, absent marriage, women had better take care of their own bodies. And even then,
Frank (NYC)
@B. I find it interesting that while the research cited in the article said about 2% of women wouldn’t trust their partners to use male birth control, about 50% of commenters here feel that way. It says a lot about the readership of this paper.
April (NYC)
@Frank, who said anything about trusting their partner. Both parties should be doing something to control their future because they don’t trust their partner. Abdicating responsibility of this very costly part of your future to someone else whether you are married or not is unwise.
Butterfly (NYC)
@Frank How cynical you are. Wpmen are more practical and far more honest. How many men willingly use a condom? Men should use contraception and women too. Double protection. I say it's about time contraception is developed for men. For those so adamently against abortion it's contraception for men and women that will make abortion a rarity. Keep the repressive religions OUT of medicine.
M (Cambridge)
All good, but as the author briefly touches on, all beside the point of recent events. A fundamental human right was taken away from ALL Americans. Rubbing a gel on a guy’s shoulders doesn’t change that we are still less free today than we were in early June. Besides, Republicans will just outlaw that too. This is a political problem and a power grab by Republicans, not a science problem.
DuckSoup (Anatidae)
@M The lack of human and civil rights for females is a U.S. problem well beyond politics, encompassing every aspect and every corner of this country. The U.S. is one of the most dangerous 1st world nations for girls and women; just staying safe is a full time job. Because boys and men want it that way. America was founded as a fetid misogynist religious outback in the late 1500s and remained so after 1776 for the last 246.
Joyce Kamanitz (Hartford Ct)
I think the best male contraceptive would be for Congress to pass a law mandating paternity testing for all pregnancies, to include financial responsibility for pre- and post-natal life. From what I remember from my med school days, there is another participant besides the female required to create an embryo. How about raising the stakes for this other participant to be equal to the stakes the female has in the equation?
Katniss (US)
Yes! I'll add, however, that while financial responsibility is necessary, it is not at all sufficient. Someone needs to get up with a sick child in the middle of the night, find child care, get food, clothes, and school supplies, do pickups and dropoffs, cook and do laundry, make sure kids learn important skills and go to school, go to parent-teacher conferences, bring kids to the doctor and dentist, give love, answer kids' questions about the world, manage one's own energy and emotions and remain calm and kind all day-- usually, also while keeping a job and trying to be an individual with wants and needs themselves. Why some men don't see the need to step up and do this when they bring a child into the world, or even think about whether they are ready for this responsibility when they choose to be sexually active, is beyond me. As a society we need to create consequences for men who fail to parent or manage their fertility-- well beyond requiring child support. It is time for a societal discussion about what the consequences will be; legal, moral, financial, I don't know. But until men face lasting, life-changing consequences for unintended pregnancies too, the burden will continue to fall on women.
kentuckyliz (.)
@Joyce Kamanitz stricter enforcement of existing child support laws would be good. Only 44% of custodial parents get the full amount ordered by the court.
Curt (Madison)
@Joyce Kamanitz I couldn't agree more Joyce. For what ever reason, the women hating pro-lifers have been in denial about the bilateral event of pregnancy. Seems the over whelming number of legislators are male and have a a number of complicit famales unwilling to mandate the testing you suggest as well. Clearly - it's time for these people to wise up.
HLW (Phoenix)
Better methods and more methods for birth control that are more effective with less side effects are clearly needed. At the end of the day women get pregnant not men. That's really what Roe and access to contraceptives is all about. Protecting women by allowing them to have control over their bodies. Men deciding to take or not take responsibility doesn't play into a women making an independent choice for herself.
Deborah Mahoney (NY)
As much as I’d like to see men also take responsibility for using birth control methods themselves, I am not sure if all women would trust that it was completely safe. Could be just about their errors in using the method; or could be just basic mistrust because after all, WOMEN are the ones getting pregnant. Theirs are the lives that change radically. Their bodies are the ones undergoing procedures, tests, etc.
Our One Voice (Greenville, SC)
Thank you… also, as women are the ones who give birth, this decision by the court is so inherently sexist, patriarchal, misogynistic, you name it giving men the ‘option’ of contraception is beyond offensive!
Sapphire (NH)
There is one problem with this. Men can't be trusted to take them, at least not single men. They aren't the ones to suffer the consequences of unwanted pregnancy, so there is no incentive to be vigilant about it. And Republicans want to do away with contraceptives next anyway, so it's a moot point.
Whitneyd. (NYC)
@Sapphire Agreed! I think it’s only fair in a case like this that mandatory vasectomies be also put into place. It may sound like a flip idea, but so does making abortions unavailable for women who might have to choose to make this most difficult decision in their lives.
Claire (NC)
@Mike your 'both-sides' attitude is misplaced. I am not denying that women have manipulated birth control, but to state that no gender is above the other implies that the weight of the issue falls equally upon both sets of shoulders. If sex only happened in a stable marriage, this might be true, but as long as we have any degree of sexual freedom, the burden falls far more heavily on women. Male contraception, unless they develop something that is as directly visible as a condom, will primarily be useful in a long-term relationship, and for men who are independently interested in not impregnating someone. It will not change anything for a woman who cannot independently verify that her partner is currently infertile.
Mike (SC)
@Claire We agree Claire. I don't think this will at all remove the burden of BC from women. I do think that it will give men a choice they've not had before to control their fertility. And I do think that this would lead to a lot fewer unwanted/unplanned pregnancies. If you went back to my 18 year old self, I can promise you, as terrified as I was to prevent from getting someone pregnant, you're problem would be keeping me from ODing on this, not making sure I took it! I don't think this will help many women, that's not my argument. I think it will help, a tremendous amount, some men who don't want to be fathers. And, from the statistics, there's a whole lot of men out there that are fathers by chance vs fathers by desire.
Mike (SC)
As was stated in this article, somewhere between 40-60% of pregnancies today in the US are unplanned/unwanted. Giving men undetectable birth control that doesn't impact their pleasure would be a boon to them. The "reverse oops" will become a very real thing, which won't be so great for women. But the real issue is that the birth rate would collapse. Without those unplanned pregnancies, the birth rate in this country would be way below 1 (total fertility rate), which isn't just a "slow shrink" (which we need, IMHO), it's a demographic collapse where the next generation would be about 1/2 the size (or less) the generation that came before it. Yes, this needs to happen. In fact, we already know how to do this pretty well (testosterone is pretty effective, by itself, in getting sperm counts to the level that makes pregnancy impossible). But we also need to think through the repercussions, which will be far reaching and society altering.
Charlotte (Planet Earth)
If one of the impacts of this technology is a population reduction, then it will be highly beneficial to the environment. I look forward to it. Our economic model which requires continuous population growth is myopic if not selfish and punts to future generations to determine when there are enough humans. But by then the planet will be inhospitable.
Mike (SC)
@Charlotte Absolutely no argument from me. The decision to have (or not) children is by far the most impactful thing that almost all of us will ever do to impact the environment. Adding another lifetime of carbon consumption on top of your own (and then the lifetimes that follow should your children have children) is so far above the carbon impact of other decisions that it's really "the issue" not your thermostat setting or the deleted diesel pickup truck you have in the back yard. The issue is the follow on impact; if our birthrate collapses (from it's already below replacement rate) there ponzi/pyramid scheme that we've come to rely on, taxes, SS, etc will fail in spectacular fashion. I'm not saying it would be all bad, in fact, it's a foregone conclusion, it MUST happen; the earth is a limited system and we've been banging at the limits for a long time now. But it's going to be an incredibly painful period in human history as we learn how to deal with a no growth economy and society.
Louis (NH)
@Mike "Without those unplanned pregnancies, the birth rate in this country would be way below 1 (total fertility rate), which isn't just a "slow shrink" (which we need, IMHO), it's a demographic collapse where the next generation would be about 1/2 the size (or less) the generation that came before it." This is a logical fallacy. Just because someone doesn't have an unplanned pregnancy doesn't mean they won't still have a planned one later. The birthrate would certainly decrease some amount, but definitely not by anything close to 50%.
Our One Voice (Greenville, SC)
I think many are missing the point when it comes to this completely horrible ruling. It is not about preventing unwanted pregnancies but pro forced birthing. Contraceptives are next if you haven’t been listening! It’s never been about men stepping up because they have no reason to, other than what their moral compass dictates. Pregnancy of their partners is their choice to accept or move on from in most cases. Sounds harsh? Think of what the entire American female population has just been handed!
R. Anderson (South Carolina)
@Our One Voice Male moral compass is not something I would ever count on.
Sheila Bolton (Chicago, Illinois)
@Our One Voice This entire article misses the point! It’s about forced birthing (as you say) and revoking women’s statehood. Until Men who claim they love women (and actually do), step up, in mass and shut the movement to declare Women chattel? They are, in effect, shrugging. Simply paying service to this crisis. So, men are going to make that happen about a quarter past way too late… thanks guys.
Andy (DC)
not interested in anything hormonal for either male or female contraceptives. Come up with something that doesn’t affect peoples emotional self. animal intestine condoms too archaic ? The come up with something that sprays on and washes off with the right kind of soap. Separately, which populations are the target of new contraceptives ? with birth rates already declining in developed countries, it seems the target would be the developing world if the goal is to create sustainable global population growth. In most of those places the challenge to contraceptives is religious and cultural. Not something a new tech alone can fix.
Our One Voice (Greenville, SC)
Nice to see you have a choice in the matter.
lemon (MTL)
@Andy Condoms need a receptacle for the semen. A "spray" would be pointless.
The Heartland (The Heartland)
A lot of questionable statements in this piece about men's interest in using birth control. As someone who had a vasectomy after the birth of our second child 37 years ago, I support men taking responsibility for their reproductive choices. I just don't think most men will step up, just as many men don't step up to their parental responsibilities after impregnating a woman.
dc (Here)
@The Heartland You said it better than I. I see so many single mothers where I live, and question if their receiving any kind of support from the fathers. I truly doubt it.
Valerie Luke (Toronto)
@The Heartland Yes. They don't take responsibility. This is the problem. A male problem. And also terribly traumatic when rape is used as a weapon in war zones. Children born, without support.
ML (Boston)
@Valerie Luke Literal war zones and our society, which is a war zone, because we live in rape culture. There is very little accountability for rapists. See: the backlog of untested rape kits, the light sentences of rapists who judges don't want to see adversely penalized, see the excusing of men who abuse women and girls, can even serially drug women, or rape children, while everyone around them knows and stays silent. I could list all the recent names, but we know them. And very few of them are serving any time.
Birdman (Texas)
This is long overdue. Share the responsibility as well as the benefits !
See also