I wrote this post for my column over on www.ieatgrass.com.
I recently stumbled on a great Huff Post article where three men weigh in on the question, can men be trusted with a birth control pill? As the concept of male oral contraceptives becomes more of a reality (this has been in the works for decades) and scientists continue research, people are wondering if, should a pill for dudes become available, they can be trusted with taking it regularly.*
While I would like to shout out a resounding “yes!” in all directions, this question does have a bit of a complicated response, because nearly any definite answer would be a generalization. I think stereotyping men as unreliable creatures who can’t remember to do something as simple as pop a pill—or worse, that they are so desperate for sex they may lie and say the are taking a pill when they aren’t—is unfair. I think that any man who is purchasing an oral contraceptive is obviously concerned with not procreating. Being in my early 20s, not many of my guy friends are itching to knock up their girlfriends or bootycalls. Most are more concerned with paying rent and student loans while also affording groceries and bar tabs.
And I don’t think that men in general are less reliable than women. Plenty of women have messed up on taking their birth control. Most oral contraceptives state they are 99% effective, and that 1% leaves room for user error. I have many friends that do things like set a birth control alarm on their phones to help keep them in check. And if they mess up their cycle and have unprotected sex, well then they go to Plan B—which would still be an option if the man was taking the pill and fesses to an oopsie. So if we are looking at a scenario where we have a couple and one of them will be taking an oral contraceptive, then I think it is safe to think that a man can be trusted to take it just as much as a woman.
Now, that is assuming that someone—either the man or woman—will be taking an oral contraceptive. The problem that I see with this scenario is not the male pill replacing the female pill, but the male pill replacing the condom. Because oral contraceptives do nothing to prevent STDs, and I would hate to see a rise in chlamydia, herpes, or other fun communicables because the either party is thinking all is good because he is popping a pill.
Additionally, should the guy mess up and forget a pill one evening because he had a few too many with his buds and passed out, as many ladies do, it sucks that if a pregnancy occurs, the woman has to (physically) bear the weight of that mistake. Hopefully they will both hold themselves accountable, but at least if a woman makes the mistake of messing up her pills, and a pregnancy results, she has no one to blame but herself.
And as far as dudes lying about taking a pill? Sure, there are some creepers out there. But I think they are the minority, and we shouldn’t lump all men in one unreliable douche category. That is just unfair. Men also have a bad reputation for wiggling out of condom use, but most guys I know carry and use condoms on the reg. I’ve never actually run into a guy who refuses to wear one…
There is my long, babbley answer. What do you think? Men, would you take the pill? Women, would you trust your man to take it?
*Note that no oral contraceptives, male or female, are certified vegan. Many of them contain an animal product in the actual casing of the pill, and they all test on animals. So, for any vegan readers, there’s that…