My only objection to it is that if it catches on widely, we'll have added testosterone along with the estrogen and other medical byproducts already messing up the ecosystem.
My understanding is that this approach may dramatically increase the risk of prostate cancer.
Ignoring that, I see this as addressing evangelical concerns about birth control. The prospect of a growing convention in the evangelical community of shifting control away from the female partner, however, is disconcerting.
Unless men start using this to avoid getting their baby-hungry wives pregnant, it's not shifting control away from women. If anything, it frees us from the damnable burden of going on a prescription every time some man decides he doesn't want a condom on.
It'll be interesting to see what the long-term health effects are. I've gotten a large series of blood tests and dire warnings every time I've considered the Pill.
I'm psyched about this. There's a fairly large array of conditions and/or medications a woman can have that preclude hormonal birth control. So you're down to barriers or...whatever they develop now. Hooray for more options!
One more thing a lot of people don't realize -- testosterone injections are rather painful.
Man, an hour or so of pain every month? What a terrible price to pay for activities involving the reproductive system! Lord knows we women...oh, wait.
*shuts up and fishes her bra out of the burning trash can*
I mean no insult, but that snark was so irresistible! This injection 'solution' is probably not nearly as comfortable or promising as it first sounds. But I'm glad to hear they're working on it.
OK, so if it works, it's wonderful, and should be encouraged and will almost certainly lead to fewer unwanted pregnancies, abortions, abandoned kids, and unhappy marriages. However, I see a couple of problems of perception that might make it hard to get folks to accept it. The first is that some people are terrified of shots, and cognitive dissonance usually means that the easier to imagine fear is greater than the vague fear. So shot trumps unwanted fatherhood. The second thing is that at least now there is a low chance side effect of reduced sexual desire. Even if it were even a rumor, that rumor would be enough to keep a number of sexually promiscuous men from even considering it. But the idea of single guys who like sex and want to stay single using this would solve a lot of problems. I'm just worried that it's going to be a while before it lives up to its potential.
My reply to sirroxton
also responds to this comment.
If it works, consider me in line waiting for it. I'm just worried that unless there's a quick test to prove someone is on it, I can picture with human nature being what it is a lot of 'players' out there lying about it.
Oh, man. Horrible thought. "What, babe? Oh, these injection marks? No, beautiful, I don't do drugs, I take the contraceptive injections! Another drink?"
Shiny. I hope it works out.
My reaction is to worry.
Firstly, is it safe? Hormonal birth control for women isn't so great safety-wise as it is, but at least there are years of experience with it at this point.
The article says the failure rate was 1%, which to my mind is quite high. It's certainly not in the range where somebody could responsibly use it as the sole method of birth control. But lots of people are irresponsible.
Will it reduce condom use in cases where people are using condoms solely for the purposes of birth control, but they are actually also helpful in reducing disease transmission?
Assuming it were safe enough for widespread use, I suppose it's great news, given that it allows you to layer on a 99% reduction in pregnancy rates on top of whatever else you are using.
All good points. My general understanding of technological developments is once you have something that works and is in use, improved variants start showing up. I don't know what the failure rate or side effects of the first female hormonal birth control methods were, but I'm willing to bet they were worse than what we have now.
What demographic of men do you think are most likely to use it?
- Sexually active teens
- College Students
- Urban Professionals (single or married, who don't want children yet, or any more)
- Married men who plan to cheat on their wives
- People too dumb to avoid STDs, but at least now they aren't passing them to children
- College people too dumb to avoid STDs, but at least now they aren't passing them to children
- Idiot men who think they can skip the condom now with every pretty girl they meet
- Urban professionals who, yeah, may actually want a family down the line
- I'm coming up blank for snark on the last one.
All kinds of women are using the Pill for all kinds of reasons. I think it's great that men will get that chance now, too.
It's great having more choices, and it's good that men may get another option.
STI transmission may increase, though. Hormonal birth control does not protect people from infection. Only condoms (and of course abstinence) do. Because many men "don't like" using condoms, they may now have a more "valid" excuse not to... ("Of course I don't have VD. How could you think that? And the shot is good enough for preventing pregnancy anyway.")
Of course many men, including very promiscuous ones, don't use condoms as it is, so maybe the increase in STI transmission will be marginal...
I'm kind of in favor of any measure that decreases pregnancies while letting irresponsible morons spread diseases among themselves.
What, promiscuous sex with a no-pregnancy almost-guarantee? Sounds like a great recipe for spreading unpleasant illnesses to the people who deserve it most, without actually mucking up nascent lives.
None of the other comments seem to have highlighted this quote, so I'll pull it out:
"Despite the injection having no serious side effects, almost a third of the 1,045 men in the two-and-a-half year trial did not complete it and no reason was given for this."
Given historical precedent for the falsification of important studies whereby success would bring in major accolades, I take it to mean that there were complications of some kind with respect to those men.
Now I grant you that a shot that's effective for 2/3 of men to a 99% accuracy is not a trivial accomplishment. But until we get a study where everyone who starts it completes it and reports back effectively, or one in a country with effective governmental control over such things (like it or not, are way, way laxer in China) I'm not going to hold my breath.
Thank you for pointing that out.
My initial thoughts:
Male birth control: Oh, cool!
Needles and injections: AHHH! NEEDLES AND INJECTIONS!!!
I've always been iffy on hormonal birth control, because it messes with one's body and mind. I prefer physical barriers, just because they're less invasive. Both is probably best, I know, and hormonal birth control doesn't stop STDs, which are just as important to stop. If I was in a committed, long term relationship, I may try it if it's been tested and shown to not have horrible side effects, but in my eyes the female versions already have pretty severe side effects...