Condoms are such a chore. Aren’t they though? The expense, the foil, the smell, the feel, their general mood killing properties. Even the word: con-dom. It’s just so dead-sounding, so plosive.
I’ll tell you what’s also boring. Taking the contraceptive pill every night. At a certain time (we’re told that a pattern encourages its effectiveness which often leads to a mad dash home to ensure you pop at 10pm on the hour) and without getting it stuck in your throat so that you end up drinking two litres of water just to dislodge it which in turn means you wake up at 4.30am needing the loo. Then there’s the weight gain, weird mood swings, headaches, and all round plain weirdness of what a pill actually does. So yeah, as useful as they may be, you can’t escape the truth: that the pill is b-o-r-i-n-g.
So it should be with a flurry of joy that the latest news – that we are edging ever so slightly closer to the launch of the male contraceptive pill – arrives upon us. The male pill has been in the pipeline for some time now. Grazia alone has debated its merits at least twice. And yet it’s not come to fruition. So why are we talking about it?
A recent survey, albeit in Kansas, found that of the 300 women they interviewed, 92% were pro-male-pill. I’d hazard the figure is similar here. Any new form of contraception should be and is encouraged. But while survey was pro-male-pill, of these 280 odd women, almost ¾ said they would continue to take the contraceptive pill even if their partner was on the male pill.
Here the article stops and naturally we are left to ruminate our own theory as to why women would, the main one being that women just don’t trust men to take the pill.
It might sound shocking, but would you? Think about it. You’d trust your boyfriend to feed the cat when you’re away. But would you trust him to take the contraceptive pill? After all, should an unplanned pregnancy occur, only one of you is going to get pregnant. And emotional support notwithstanding, it’s your baby and your body. Ultimately when it’s you that will suffer the consequences, it feels like a quite a big deal, quite an onus to pass over.
Men, perhaps unfairly, are considered more promiscuous that women, which would suggest a large cultural shift for the majority of men to start taking birth control pills. Or maybe we’re being too unfair on men. But ultimately, when it comes to contraception, men have almost as many choices as women. They always have had. The real problem is that they just don't like their options, especially not condoms, so all too often don’t bother with them. And if they won’t sue condoms, who is to say they’ll take a pill.
I do think it’s pretty progressive that we’re even debating giving men a reliable way to control their own reproduction. Nor does it disempower women. We’re merely sharing the load. And until we find one infallible method of contraception, any new form of contraception should be encouraged.