So far, the burden of birth control has fallen mostly on women. Almost every known contraceptive method was designed to be used by women. But it’s about time for men to start sharing the responsibility of preventing unwanted pregnancies. They are, after all, a part of the process that leads to it.

At the moment there are three tried-and-tested male birth control methods, these are:

The withdrawal method. Otherwise known as coitus interruptus, this birth control method requires a man to pull his penis out from his partner before he reaches his climax and ejaculates. This contraceptive method costs nothing at all. If this method is perfectly practiced, it can guarantee effective protection from pregnancy by as much as ninety-six percent. However, it requires a great deal of discipline from a man who wishes to practice this method.

The male condom. This is a device worn on a man’s penis during sexual intercourse. It is usually made of latex or polyurethane rubber, and is used to physically block ejaculated semen from going into the body of a man’s sexual partner. The condom does not only prevent accidental pregnancy, it also provides sufficient protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STD). Condoms have the advantage of being inexpensive and easy-to-use. It also has very few side effects.

Vasectomy. This is a permanent birth control measure that is done surgically and by means of cutting the vas deferens of men for the purpose of sterilization. Hormone production and sexual drive are not affected by this procedure and is totally effective in ensuring prevention of pregnancy.

There are currently new birth control products aimed for men that are still on their development and testing stages, these products somehow assimilates two female hormonal contraceptives. These birth control methods are:

Male contraceptive pill. Much like the female oral contraceptive, it works by suppressing the release of sperm cells during ejaculation. For this reason alone, the male birth control pill is being advertised as the “dry orgasm” pill. During ejaculation, sperm is propelled by smooth muscles lining the vas deferens from the epididymis to the urethra where it mixes with seminal fluids to become semen. What the male contraceptive pill does is suppress the contraction so that no sperm cell is mixed in the semen. The male birth control pill does not affect the sensation of ejaculation in any way.

Male hormonal implant. The implant consists of two flexible plastic rods that contain etonogestrel, which acts as a sperm blocker, and pellets containing the male sex hormone testosterone. The 3cm-long rods are inserted under the skin of a man’s upper arm, and the pellets are implanted into the abdomen. The plastic rods slowly and continuously release etonogestrel that switches off the production of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) which are both essential in sperm cell production. The testosterone pellets are important so that sex drive and male characteristics are still maintained.

They say making love is a dance for two. The responsibilities of it should be shared by both partners as well, not just by the woman. And now that more and more birth control alternatives are being created for them, it is high time they stand up and take part on preventing accidental pregnancies.

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