Birth control isn’t just a woman’s concern. While men have far fewer birth control options available than women, they do have options.
Abstinence: Abstinence (not having oral, anal or vaginal sex) is obviously a sure way to avoid not only pregnancy, but sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as well. But while avoiding sex, partners can still engage in sex play like sexual massage, mutual masturbation, or other activities that don’t involve penetration. However, know that some STIs, such as genital herpes and HPV, can still be transmitted even if there is no penetration.
Condoms: Condoms* are not only highly effective at preventing pregnancy, but also protect against STIs as well. Of course, that is when they are used consistently and correctly. (Unsure how to use a condom correctly? Click here.) Even if a woman is using some form of birth control, the male partner can still use condoms to provide extra protection against unintended pregnancy (and STIs).
Vasectomy: Vasectomy is a surgical option of contraception that involves cutting or blocking the vas deferens (the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles) to prevent sperm from mixing with semen. While a vasectomy is a highly effective way to prevent pregnancy, it is also typically a permanent one. While it is possible to reconnect the vas deferens through surgery, the procedure is expensive, complicated and not guaranteed to work, so this is not the best option for men who want the option of biological children in the future.
Withdrawl: While not a very effective method (about 1 in 5 who use withdrawl as birth control get pregnant), it is inexpensive and convenient. Withdrawl is just that–withdrawing or “pulling out” the penis before ejaculating. For withdrawl to be successful, a man must be aware and in control of his body and be able and willing to pull out in time. However, even if a man does withdraw before he ejaculates, there may be viable sperm in pre-ejaculate (or pre-cum, fluid that comes of the penis before ejaculating) that can cause pregnancy.In addition to low effectiveness, withdrawl does not protect against STIs in any way.
For more resources on how to have safer sex visit this page.
While there are few birth control options for men available now, there may be more in the future. Researchers are currently looking at both hormonal methods involving preventing sperm production as well as non-permanent methods of blocking the vas deferens. But more research is needed to give men more viable options to share responsibility for pregnancy prevention.
*Male condoms are available in latex, polyurethane, polyisoprene, and lambskin. Lambskin condoms do not protect against STIs. If using latex condoms, use only water-based lubricants, not oil-based ones