Where is the Male Birth Control Pill?

The 50th Anniversary of the female birth control pill was celebrated in May, with fanfare appropriate for a nearly microscopic product that effectively liberated women like nothing that had come before it. It also forced many, such as myself, to beg the question: how long will it be until we are celebrating the first anniversary of the male birth control pill? And where is all the demand for the FDA to approve such a medication?

There are actually many male contraceptives awaiting FDA approval. Successful trials have been completed on a daily pill, a gel applied to the skin, a patch, an injection given every three months, and an implant placed under skin and replaced every year. Sound familiar ladies?

The media would have the American public believe that the male birth control pill is merely in development, but the truth is that it has been successfully tested in other countries, such as Australia, for many years.

Several clinical studies in Australia since the beginning of the decade show a 100% success rate, and a near absence of side effects. And for the record, libido is found to remain the same (now we can truly all rest easy).

Given the refusal of the American medical establishment or the media to acknowledge the Australian advances, can we add American elitism to the reasons why the male birth control pill still seems so far away in this country?

What is the real issue here?

From what I can understand, it is male reluctance that is driving the lack of development in this area. Much of the male thought on the issue, which is the same thing I have heard from more than one of my male sexual partners, is that they are wary of taking hormones and fearful of potential side effects.

It is not possible for me to roll my eyes with enough disgust to show how this really makes me feel. Nor do I really believe this is the reason.

Is it that taking a daily pill or gel is too “girly?” I wonder if various packaging for such products are being tested on focus groups. What about manly cases with race cars or masculine “bling” wording, such as “get some”?

(Funny that the fear does not seem to be that men will act irresponsibly once given the option to have sex without the “consequences.” It makes my blood boil given all the sexist rhetoric espoused about women, access to abortion, and access to the morning after pill.)

The lack of enthusiasm from those who are male and have sex with women is an ironic and frustrating symptom of the ongoing insistence we have in this culture to view women as outlets for male sexual gratification, and then expect them to shoulder all the responsibility. This includes initiating uncomfortable conversations with men who want to get too caught up in passion to remember to reach for a condom.

You know what I say? Neutralize that sperm now! Who is with me?

About Janice:
Janice is a Virtual Assistant, aspiring doula, and long-time feminist activist with a passion for women's history, nonfiction, nature, and wearing flowers in her hair. She is the Founder of The Feminist's Guide, a women's history travel website, which can be found at www.thefeministguide.com.

Comments

  1. I seriously LOLed. Great post, Janice.

    I wish that all dudes recognized the significance of birth control for themselves and their partners.

    I also think that another thing to consider is putting the importance of birth control equally on both men and women. Men carry a condom in their wallet, but they don’t typically think about carrying more than one in case it breaks or can’t be used due to damage.

    At this point, men don’t feel like safe sex is their burden. Maybe that’s an educational campaign to consider?

  2. So funny and so true! Frankly I feel all the makers of male birth control pills or gels need to do is get in touch with the advertising companies that do the Viagra and Cialis campaigns. Don’t they make pills look sexy? And don’t they manage to make sex seem like nothing but fun fun fun?

    I wish the culture could make up its mind. I mean, if we’re supposed to believe that men are uber sexual to the point that women couldn’t possibly understand, why can’t we also assume that their big bad sexuality is tough enough to withstand a widdle bit of hormones? Who’s the delicate flower here???

  3. You are right, perhaps I should have made a connection between sexual enhancement drugs and sexual responsibility drugs…

  4. freewomyn says:

    Neutralize the sperm . . . loving it! You know who would be the perfect spokesperson for this campaign? Kevin Federline. Lord knows his sperm needs to be contained.

  5. And yet, they pop Viagra like candy. If the advertising industry can convince men to dye their hair, moisturize, get manicures and buy hair products, I feel it is their duty to sell men on the idea of MASCULINE birth control. Maybe the company that does the Axe commercials can rise to the occasion.

  6. Given how much woman-hating vitriol I’ve heard from men who say that “girls” can’t be trusted (since, you know, we all want to trick them into giving us their babies), you’d think they’d all be champing at the bit for this.

  7. Actually, Janice couldn’t be more wrong about why the male birth control pill isn’t on the market yet. Men are screaming for it and most recent surveys show this. Many young men are opting for vasectomies right after university in order to avoid being trapped by predatory pregnancies. Germany and Switzerland are ahead of the curve on this and it’s no coincidence that these countries have the most draconian feminist policies.

    The fact is that various feminist organizations,politicians and activist’s forced the pharmaceutical companies to kill male birth control funding(if it wasn’t for feminist’s a male birth control would be on the market by 2011).

    The feminist leadership knows that the male birth control pill means the end of female stranglehold on men. If men can choose to prevent predatory pregnancies then the money channeled to their organizations through alimony, child support, planned parenthood and the like comes to an end. The money that is forced to flow from men to women also comes to and end and tips the financial scales back to men. Donations used for lobbying dries up when these two things happen.

    To top this off, the social scales tip back to men. The only bargaining chip women have historically held over men has been their children. By controlling a man’s ability to reproduce, and then access to his children, women have wielded power. Without that ability, men again regain the upper hand and can actually dictate to women when they can have children. If she turns up pregnant, he immediately KNOWS it is not his child. He can get DNA testing and not be held financially hostage. The only way a woman will be able to have children is with her husbands permission, or alone via insemination and without child support. Without the “victim” status of blaming “deadbeat” dad’s, the public support for stranglehold single moms will decline,a nd with it the public funding to support them.

    Feminists will fight to prevent the male birth control down to their last dollar. They know that when men get it (and they will sooner or later) then the game is over. The scales will re-balance and real equality will be re-established.

    So ladies, PLEASE continue to push for it. Although you are COMPLETELY wrong about why we don’t have it yet, you are right that we need it. Although you probably won’t like what will inevitably happen once men have it.

    • LOL jeff, your definition of “feminism” is so off-base as to be laughable. No real feminist is against men taking birth-control pills, you loon.

      • I believe Jeff was making the point that the people he refers to call themselves feminists, and since the term is used for more then one set of ideals it applies here.

  8. Stop pointing fingers at either sex and let’s agree to be responsible adults.

    The law should be: if you don’t want children, you are entitled whether you are male or female to take a contraceptive pill.

    I’m from Australia and abortion is legal here….wouldn’t it be better if you had a choice before it got that far???

    I’m also an owner of an advertising agency, so if there’s a manufacturer out there of the male contraceptive; I’ll produce the entire campaign and artwork for an exchange in some stock shares (and of course a supply in the pill for my husband). I’ll happily be invested into such a huge necessity that our society need.

    I believe in equal sex in the bedroom, politics, workplace and domestic life. I don’t want children, my husband doesn’t want children. Why would we want to bring a child into this world that wasn’t wanted. I’ve been on the pill for 15years used the morning-after pill numerous times and the side affects from both are HORRIBLE, especially the everyday pill. The male pill has no side affects and 100% reliable.

    Permanent sterilization or the female pill that has a list of cons so severe that us women take the chance of stroke, heart attack, weight gain, breast cancer, vertigo etc etc etc so that we can be responsible and prevent pregnancy…why should we have to choose lost in our own health when there’s a substitute out there READY and WAITING!!!!

    From a males point of view, my husband has never felt so helpless and is prepared to freeze sperm and get a vasectomy so that I can return to normal without all the side affects of the pill….This option sucks because if we do want children, then we have to pay to have them artificially. It just makes no sense!

  9. Robert O'Hara says:

    Pleas read my article “The Real Reason We Do Not Have a Male Pill” and you will understand perfectly why one is not available yet. Jeff could not have hit the nail on the head better!

    Here is the link: http://antimisandry.com/articles/real-reason-we-do-not-have-male-pill-35.html#comments

  10. My girlfriend brought up this article for me to read and I was about to post a comment (acknowledging how old the article is) regarding the “real” real reason there is no male birth control pill but I see that the poster Jeff already highlighted it. Those of you who are blaming men for there being no male birth control pill on par with the decades old female pill need to get a clue. I would also ask you to think about your own sexist stereotypes before you mouth off. It’s your ascertion that men want to chase women around and screw like junior high school students but it’s also your ascertion that we wouldn’t, or couldn’t possibly want an assurance of not getting an “I’m late” phonecall? For those that believe this, let me clue you in most men would crawl on their face down a gravel road to get the same option women have and pointing fingers and deriding men for your presumed reasons that they would give you are baseless and defy common sense.

    You also might consider that Jeff’s comments don’t necessarily have anything to do with your average woman, or even your average feminist but come on, if birth rates in socio-economic situations that lead to the associated problems go down do you honestly think that the people who benefit from billions of dollars in funding to “fight” these problems might not take issue with it or is it your belief that certain feminist factions simply wouldn’t deign to lobby for something that benefits them?

  11. jill williams. says:

    As a woman, I’m more concerned that my husband would not tell me he’s on this pill. I have my male friends, and I’ve gotten pregnant before, and my husband didn’t question it. If he’s on this pill and doesn’t tell me the next time, I could end up blowing my cover and wind up on the street. This could happen to a lot of women. The male pill should be opposed by women for this reason alone. It takes options away from us and could endanger our marriages.

    • Me thinks Jill Williams is a troll from an MRA site. Your post sounds fake. For the last time MRA’s…no womean are aginst male birth control!

      • This is what drives me away from feminism… the idea that as a woman, I am too stupid to form my own opinions and that feminists somehow represent the views of all women. Just look at, “no womean are aginst male birth control!”

        For being something that no woman opposes, there are over three million hits for “feminists against male birth control.” The feminist organization does my represent my views.

  12. Even it’s a financial success, the religious right is going to attack it, groups fighting against STDs will attack it… And what about cases where it doesn’t work? Will the drug companies get sued for child support? It will rehash the last 50 years of crap that the female BCP went through. I assume getting a new drug approved is more difficult and expensive than it was 50 years ago so we might have basically regulated ourselves out of the option, because for a drug company the current social and political risks may be too high compared to the financial benefit. I think the male pill will become available eventually, but I don’t think it will become available anytime soon unless feminists demand it. Feminists are the only ones who have political clout on par with the religious right on reproductive issues. This could be an even bigger step ahead for women than the female birth control pill, and the majority of women are in favor of it, so why aren’t feminists putting forth more effort to demand it?

  13. Doug Furst says:

    What a hit piece this turned out to be…got any evidence to back up your claims? Thought not.

    I wonder if this feminist site supports the idea that a woman’s exclusive choice be her exclusive responsibility as well. If not, and I’d wager not, you all should change the name to Women for Female choice or somesuch, because a true feminist would hardly embrace such a patriarchal notion as “paternity” based child support, but I digress…really, any evidence MEN are fighting the male pill?

    Thought not.

  14. I see a lot of enthusiasm from men. They want this pill.

    There are two groups of people that would oppose such a pill: religious nuts, who oppose all contraception; and people who want men subjugated to the whims of women (that is, feminists.)

    But I don’t expect feminists to become open about their opposition until such a pill comes close to being available here. I don’t buy claims that no women are against male birth-control. There are women who have tried to to get pregnant (and attach themselves to the wallet of a man) through used condoms. Anyone who would do or support that is going to oppose this pill.

  15. Janice, of the men I have actually discussed the issue with, most of them seem to want more options. I think the issue is that men don’t know that this is a viable option, and that they’re kind of arrogant in that they don’t stand up for more options until they need them, because they don’t see themselves as much like a group as feminists do. So that is the problem on them male side.

    Another problem is that every time this comes up in the media, some big news station get together a handful of what they claim is average women who will say “But I don’t trust a man to take his pill”-ignoring the fact that this is a very ironical statement, since men are hesitant to trust a “I’m on my pill” from a woman too. I don’t think these women are representative of the general female population, but that’s what they’re presented as.

    The third big issue is that every time a “shortcut drug” is presented, big pharma tries heavily to find some people that had some minor side effects that might be related to it, and fly it for the world to see with millions of dollars worth of both medical and corporate lawyers behind. An example of this is the way the chickenpox vaccine release date was delayed by 20 years in the US because treatment for the dicease was more profitable. This only first changed when the dicease grew to the point that the majority of people knew someone that had at some point had chickenpox. I don’t see how the way that media circus works have changed today.

    If this is average Joe’s fault in any way, it is because he is ignorant of his options, not because he thinks male birth control is silly. but hey, even if it is because they are silly, do shout their options at them. As will I. Either way it’s the proper course of action, so thank you for raising awareness :)

  16. I think some folks here may be be interested in checking out two informative, referenced articles I wrote a while back.
    They show the non hormonal male birth control pill goes on sale in Indonesia in 2013. So it will be here in the west a lot sooner than some people imagine. To check that out go here –

    http://www.avoiceformen.com/men/mens-issues/the-next-red-pill/

    http://www.avoiceformen.com/men/mens-issues/the-next-red-pill-part-ii/

  17. fidelbogen says:

    How would the author excuse the tone of anti-male bigotry which pervades this article? It reeks to the high heavens.

  18. Male reluctance? Yes men just loooove condoms.

  19. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JymN5yu-K_o#t=6m01s

    The real culprits behind keeping male pill off the shelves.

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