This past week the Internet blew up (for about 46 seconds, as it normally does) over a trial on male birth control that was shut down. The World Health Organization had been running a trial of male contraception, injectable in the arm, which started in 2008 and ran through 2012. The reason Cyber Space lost its mind is that the trial was halted and shut down due to the side effects reported by the participants. Severe acne, depression, and mood swings were among the most concerning. With this being the cause behind the early ending of the trial many women were crying foul on the Internet, saying that we as women have been dealing with these side effects for decades. Which is true.
The behavior from women though was deplorable. Memes were created and many women mocked the men on the trial, saying they were too weak to handle the side effects. If nothing else, as all of us are of the human race, no one should wish these kinds of side effects from an elective medication on another person. No one has to take birth control. But in most cases of maturity and adult responsibility of being sexually active, a woman may choose to go on some form of contraceptive. The first contraceptive is dated all the way back to Antiquity times where ancient Egyptian Women were creating homemade suppositories. Birth control has come an incredibly long way since then and there are a variety of different types to try and accommodate every woman that chooses to take it. I myself have been on the pill since I was 13. I have debilitating menstruations: cramps, back aches, and nauseous that would keep me out of school. Going on the pill was the best choice for me to live a normal life, and this was well before I was sexually active. Women’s birth control can be used to normalize our monthly cycles, combat acne, normalize moods, and ease the monthly pain. There is also the side of the argument that women drop one egg every month, making it predictably easy to combat the fertilization of that egg. Men, on the other hand, are a constant sperm factory going twenty-four hours a day, every single day, producing 1,500 little swimmers every second. Due to this high production volume it makes everything but sterilization a little difficult. That is an option though! A healthy male can choose to have a vasectomy that neutralizes the sperm. Some women are inclined to question why men don’t just choose this route, when it has a three week recovery period minus any serious complications, and then that’s it until a man chooses to reverse the procedure if or when he wants to have children. On the same hand there is also a procedure for women called a hysterectomy that is considered more complex and has no reversal option like that of men. The recovery from such a surgery is also longer and can be seen as more difficult.
There are options for having safe sex for both genders. As with any kind of medication there are side effects. The attacks on men saying that they are weak because they can’t handle the side effects from a trial drug are unwarranted and cruel. Drug trials are working as fast as they can to create a male contraceptive because it is in demand and a wanted product. But that is one reason why we have trial runs of medications, to test their effectiveness and to smooth out the side effects before being released to the general public. When a participant who has no background of depression tries to commit suicide while on the drug, that is enough of an adverse symptom to turn heads and raise caution. Men are strong. Women are strong. No one should have to take a medication and deal with side effects that make them feel like they want to kill themselves. So please ladies, quiet the battle cry of unfairness and put down the clubs. Compassion towards the men that underwent the trial and put themselves through all of it because they want a product to help our sex lives just as bad as we do.