American Sexual
Health Association

Male birth control is a saving grace for young women. Wait: a saving grace for young women? Yes! There is so much pressure to be (borderline) infertile these days! And that’s hard! Let me explain.

Here’s an insight into the minds of many young women getting birth control for the first time. First, there’s the phase of making an appointment and then getting over the irrational, rushing thoughts of, “Oh my God, what does this mean? Does this mean I’m a whore now? Wait, I’m a strong independent woman. It’s fine. Isn’t it?” (Even the most well-rounded feminists will become overwhelmed with these thoughts.)

Then there’s getting weighed, answering questions about your sex life, and the possible “necessary” Pap smear that many health care providers still insist on. After that, you have to remember to take the pill every day at the same time and buzzing at the thought of having to do this for most of your adult life regardless of your dating status (just in case). Yes, there are long-lasting implants and IUD’s but the initial cost barrier excludes them from being totally accessible just yet.

The idea that one day, men may also have a part in controlling fertility in a relationship is more than exciting. (They are 49% of the population after all- how come it’s taken this long in the first place?) Young male friends of mine practically click their heels in the air when I tell them about the impending trials of experimental male birth control options such as Vasalgel and RISUG. This couldn’t come soon enough. Men deserve a say in the fertility of a relationship just as much as women do. I can’t imagine the lack of control some young men might feel. And even though men always have the option of condoms, even perfect use doesn’t statistically stand a chance against some of the hormonal birth controls available to women right now. And the other option of vasectomy isn’t logical for young people just starting out their lives. However, whether or not men will take advantage of birth control and whether women will trust them to do so remains a question to me. A girl (or a little more than 3.5 billion girls) can hope!

—Emily Duberman