You know those scenes in movies where a woman nervously blurts out “I’M PREGNANT!” and her male counterpart stares at her stupidly with his jaw dropped to his knees? He usually starts pacing, running his hands through his hair, and shouting “how could this have happened?!”. Somehow, throughout all of this chaos, it is understood that the unwanted pregnancy is the woman’s fault. We think the man must’ve done everything he could – showed up with a couple of condoms and called it a day. This forces people to think “how could the woman have been so irresponsible?” or “Why didn’t she take advantage of any birth control options?”.
Now, thanks to huge developments in male birth control, men and women might share a more equal responsibility when it comes to preventing pregnancy. According to endocrinologist, Dr. Stephanie Page, “83 men who took [a new] oral contraceptive called dimenthandrolone undecanote, or DMAU, [experienced] a drop in their testosterone levels, as well as two horomones required for sperm production.”
Unfortunately, this initial trial was stopped in its early stages due to side effects such as acne and mood swings… because apparently those unpleasantries are only acceptable when women are the ones that have to deal with them. However, this remains one of the most promising options for male birth control that we’ve seen in a while. It’s about time, considering the condom was invented more than 300 years ago.
This is especially exciting considering that female contraception and reproductive rights remain largely under siege by our government. In a world where the majority of family planning still revolves around the female reproductive system, the presence of male birth control might actually increase accessibility and change the way we look at contraception. It’s unfortunate that our country doesn’t already view birth control as a necessity. If birth control becomes available for men, the conversation in America might actually start to change. As stated by Dr. Arthi Thirumalai, “It’s hard to solve a problem when you essentially exclude half the world’s population from doing anything about it.”
However, the question that still seems to come up, despite all the advances being made for men, is: will they actually take advantage of these new options? Or, is birth control something that our society deems an exclusively female responsibility? Perhaps, with increased access to different forms of male birth control, we’d see less of those cliché surprise pregnancy scenes. It’s time we all start putting in the same amount of work to prevent unwanted pregnancies – no more excuses.