When observing birth control inequalities, the spotlight shines on the difficulties that child-bearing people go through to prevent pregnancy while ignoring a big problem assigned males face. Most birth control is meant to be taken by the child-bearing person and contains hormones that may lead to side effects such as weight gain, acne and mood swings. The imbalance of what assigned females go through versus males regarding birth control gets its much deserved outrage regularly. The lack of options for male birth control continues to be overlooked.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2022, there are only two approved forms of male birth control, male condoms and vasectomies. Condoms are made in many different styles and materials to fit the wearer’s needs. No matter the type used, a common complaint is that they make sex less satisfying. Vasectomies are a form of sterilization. Reversals are possible, but expensive. Even if it can be reversed, a person should go into getting a vasectomy thinking it is permanent.
While lowered sensitivity experienced when using the male condom may not be as harrowing as the distress that female birth control causes, it is a valid reason to not want to use them with a partner where sexually transmitted infections are not an issue. A vasectomy should only be done if the patient is done having children. Insufficient options for male birth control means it is less likely for assigned males to find a birth control that suits their needs. By not finding something that fits their lifestyle, they may go without birth control, leaving it in the hands of their partner. If their partner is also not using birth control, an unplanned pregnancy may result.
Assigned males deserve the ability to take control over their reproductive rights. They should not have to rely on their partner to use birth control and they should not have to become sterilized just to enjoy sex. By creating more options for male birth control, we can also take stress off child-bearing people who struggle with side effects from their birth control, but continue using it to prevent pregnancy.
While we wait for more options of birth control for assigned males, it is on ourself to be prepared for any situation. We always expect the other person to be prepared but we must also always be prepared. This can be a difficult assignment to ourselves when it comes to preparing for sex, because most times if it’s not planned its after a date or hangout. This can be an uncomfortable conversation but it is necessary. The only person you can control is yourself and how you react to these situations. So, if you are going on a date and you don’t know if you are going to have sex but think it could be a possibility it is your job to be prepared.
The question now is how do you prepare as an assigned female. There are a couple different ways to prepare, some include the pill, or an implant but something more accessible would be female and male condoms. Another way to prepare could be asking the person you’re seeing what they prefer or their size.
This can be a very difficult conversation, as it can create the expectation of sex. The goal isn’t to plan having sex but to be prepared, so stating that fact could prevent those uncomfortable conversations from turning into an expectation for sex. Any situation when it comes to talking about sex can be difficult and uncomfortable. However it’s better than starting the act and neither party being prepared, leading them to bend boundaries or not being able to have sex.
Overall, sex shouldn’t be complicated or uncomfortable, and conversations about it shouldn’t bring any expectations or worry. The only way for this to happen is through open dialogue between partners. While we wait for more forms of male birth control to come out, we should start the conversation.