Why is there no male contraceptive pill?
Dear Dr. G,
I read with interest your recent articles about the different condoms for maximizing pleasure and minimizing risks.
I understand you have been "forced" to try out the various options; hope the "research" has not been to hard on you.
I am not a fan of condoms. Truthfully, I have tried out different ones, including super thin, latex, synthetic, natural. They are all rubbish!
I find the act of stopping the foreplay and putting on the condom really disruptive.
At best, I sustained the erection and get on with business with minimal sensation.
But most instances, I lose the erection as soon as I put on the rubber!
The truth is, I am already a father of four and the technique of "firing outside" has somehow not worked out for me.
I heard there are male pills in the pipeline. Are they available in the market yet?
Otherwise, surely there is a research to solve this problem of male contraception!
The female contraception pills were approved in 1960; nine years following a chemist from Mexico created a Pill by synthesizing hormones from Mexican Yam.
Despite the medical approval, the oral contraceptive pills remained illegal in eight States in 1964, and the Pope declared his opposition to the pills in 1969.
Facing the controversy, 6.5 million American women accepted the pills for birth control, making it the most popular form of contraception in the US.
The female pills, in many ways, kicked started the "flower power" sexual revolution, leading to the "liberation" of sexual health, as we know it in the 21 st century.
In the meantime, past 50 years saw the momentum of the race to develop the male pills dwindled compared with the range of options available to women.
Many may argue there is a conspiracy to let the women bear the full burden of family planning.
The reality is that it is technically near impossible to eliminate hundreds of millions of sperms production in men, compared to stopping the ovulation of just one egg.
For men whose partners are unwilling or unable to take the pills, the options are limited and suboptimal. Today, the only who methods of contraception available to men are condoms or vasectomy.
A condom is clearly a barrier form of contraception that prevents sperms reaching and fertilizing the eggs.
Unfortunately, the barriers also mean reduction in the feeling of flesh contacts for both partners. The vasectomy, on the other hand, is a minor surgical intervention that stops the delivery of sperms being ejaculated from the penis during sex.
Such procedure should be considered permanent, and unfortunately may not be the choice preferred by men who still would like to keep the options open" for future considerations.
Of course, there is always the "withdrawal technique". The men who pull their penis out of the partner's vagina before ejaculation are often falsely assured they have not spread their seeds of love.
Pulling out on time is rather difficult to do perfectly. In real life, about 27 out of 100 women who use withdrawal method gets pregnant every year, that is one in four.
Although some regards the withdrawal method is better than doing nothing at all, Dr. G regards that to have this form of contraception, you might as well don't have any form of birth control.
This is clearly demonstrable by our reader, at least on four occasions ended up with four lovely surprises.
The research is an ongoing quest for that perfect male pill, to stop new sperms created in the testicles, triggered by testosterone.
The goal of male pills is to find a way to temporarily block the effect of testosterone inducing producing healthy sperms. There is a fine balance to strike to achieve the total cessation of gamete production, without compromising on the libido.
The other potential male contraception in the pipeline is a reversible technique called RISUG (Reversible Inhibition of Sperm Under Guidance).
This technique enables a non-toxic chemical injected into the vas deferens. The chemical reaction will lead to temporary blockade, as the sperms are killed when they come to contact with the agent.
The chemical is effective almost immediately after the injection.
The good news is, the chemical can be washed out as soon as the men decided to have children again. The bad news is, the trial of RISUG is only demonstrable in rats, what is possible in rats and comparable to human males is another subject all together.
It is not the first time Dr. G is put on the spot to find a solution for frustrating men using condoms.
The lack of sensation, the allergy, the discomfort, breakages, and slippage are all the drawbacks that beg the question: "Why is no real male pill in the 21 st century?"
Men also realise we constantly take it for granted that women are shouldering the conscientious role in the meticulous compliance of the pills for family planning.
For Paul, the obvious solution will be the snip of vasectomy, before another "slip-up" with the withdrawal method.
For all the other men, we can only wait patiently for the male pills to get rid of the old rubbers!