Except for those guys who wear 'Meninist' t-shirts, people who still have the egg as their Twitter avatars and Piers Morgan, most men would agree that true gender equality has not been reached yet in society. Men get paid more for the same work, hold more positions of power and have to push fewer tiny humans through their urethras. When it comes to sex as well, men have it pretty sweet. Men orgasm 95% of the time compared with women's 65%, and don't have to worry about the hormonal side effects of female contraception, which can include weight gain, mood swings and acne, among many others.
So a faint hurrah for the latest splash on womankind’s collective foreheads in the ongoing water torture that is the painfully slow and erratic drip-feeding of gender equality, which comes in the form of a potentially realistic method of male contraception.
It's called Vasalgel, and is basically like a vasectomy, but instead of snipping the sperm tubes it's just an injection of gel in the balls that can be easily reversed by flushing it out with a bicarbonate solution. In a recent study done by the California National Primate Research Centre, it was 100% effective in monkeys.
Also, unlike the female pill, the gel would only need to be applied once, and would not affect men hormonally or affect sperm production. So, it seems like a no brainer, right? Well, I asked a load of real, human men to see if they agreed, and also if they had any thoughts on contraception in general.
Hi Nigel, so what do you reckon about this new male contraception?
Yeah, super keen. I think all 16-year-old males should have that injected and then fill in a form when they want babies. It should be like the MMR jab but a dick jab for teenagers.
Do you think more onus should be on men in that regard?
Yes, definitely. But only as a one-time thing. I trust my girlfriend when she says she's taken the pill but I dunno if that trust would go both ways. I just don't think I'd be that good at taking something everyday.
What if it gave you side effects like the pill does with women?
I'm down with that, unless it was like, pain. Pain not so good.
But what about mood swings and acne?
Yeah I'd take them all for the peace of mind. I literally would fucking freak if I was to have a baby before I felt like I’d lived my life. Well, I reckon I'm all philosophical about it now but if I started getting depressed and stuff I might be like fuck this, the old system was working well for me.
So what you think about this new gel then Duncan?
I'd have to check with my doctor because I'm on prescription, but other than that I'm down.
How do you see men reacting to it if it came out?
I doubt men will go for it in general because we're weird about our dicks and weird about responsibility. I think you'll get a lot of men going "I've had the injection" when they haven't.
Do you think the female pill has made us lazy?
I'm not sure lazy is the right word but it's definitely led to us thinking contraception isn't our responsibility.
When would you use the gel, all the time or just in relationships?
All the time, and then doom myself to not having sex for a year!
Hi mate, would you inject this gel in your balls or what?
Yeah, I'm really pro male contraception. It's a joke it's all been on the women for all this time now. It’s a scary thought to us men but women have been putting themselves through hell just so that we don’t have to wear condoms and putting all kinds of chemicals into their bodies.
Do you think men just say they would take it because of some misplaced show of chivalry?
I don't think it’s really a case of chivalry, in a relationship you are a team at the end of the day, so you're both gonna work out what is best for the situation. If no contraception is working well with the woman then it would only make sense for the man to step up and give it a go.
How do you see it affecting our sex lives?
I'm not sure. I think it's a good thing and makes everything fairer. I don't think people will be having more or less sex, it will just more responsible. Men can finally be a part of the process beyond just having condoms. I just hope it will help relieve women of the emotions, stress and unbalance they go through so we can all enjoy better sex.
Hussein, male contraception, talk to me.
I think it's good. The strongest contraceptive at the moment is the pill which can really fuck women up in ways that are really bad in many cases, the gel at least puts some of that burden on men. Plus it's easy to apply, so you'd have to be stupid as hell to not do it.
Do you think it might change male attitudes towards sex?
Nah not really. It's just another add on and I don't think men think a lot about kids when they want to fuck. It might change sex for women though.
Well because it puts less pressure on them. I don't know how it would change things specifically because I am no lothario but I'd imagine that it would mean they could spend more time actually enjoying it.
Hi Sean, so there is this new reversible gel you can inject in your balls that prevents you having babies, are you up for it?
Woah. That's unbelievable.
What do you think about it?
I've considered vasectomy as I'm certain I don't want children, but this seems to be a more attractive proposition because it's reversible.
Would you take contraception if it had negative side effects like mood swings and hormonal imbalances?
I probably would, mood swings and hormonal imbalances are par for the course with me anyway.
But if they made it worse?
If it made it worse, so be it. You have to make sacrifices for anything you want in life.
How do you think it would change society if the male pill was a thing?
I'd hope that men would be open to the idea, but I somehow doubt it would change much. There would have to be a seismic shift in male attitudes towards women, sex, and the penis for most men to consider it.
Hi Ben, what do you reckon about this new male contraceptive gel?
This actually sounds awesome. As long as it doesn't have negative effects on libido or sexual performance, this is perfect.
Would you use it in a relationship or all the time?
My case may be slightly different from the other men – I identify as queer, and 90% of my relations are with cis men, but I have been intimated with trans men (most of which were apprehensive about penetration, understandably) and women. So, I would take it not so much for me but for the peace of mind of my sexual partners who aren't cis men.
If this injection became widely used, how do you think it might affect society?
I think it'll change society in at least two major ways: For straight or bi men it'll lift the weight off women who feel pressured to take contraceptives – while this doesn't necessarily replace female contraceptives, I think it's finally time that the onus is taken off women for something that takes two to happen. For trans men, I learned about some of their fears during sex when having honest conversations with them, and their huge fear is the fact that a lot of men think they're immune from pregnancy. This would finally help open that conversation, while helping the sexual partners of these trans men not worry about this and actually just enjoy sex.
But do you think it will bring change about in reality?
I think if it was a pill they’d take it on a Monday, Tuesday, forget about it on Wednesday, get back on it on Thursday, complain about the side effects on Friday, then go back to asking their female partners to use the pill by Saturday. Maybe I'm being too skeptical, but I've had so many conversations on hypotheticals – "what if you could get pregnant? What if they invented the pill for men?", and the usual response I get is that they'd rather women kept using the pill regardless, I think because of what they've been used to. Maybe generations coming up now and future ones will be more open about it all.
Hi Keith, are you up for this male contraception?
If it stops my Mrs moaning at me for her having to remember her pill, then sounds great.
Is that it?
In all honesty, I think it's only fair that men take more of a precautionary responsibility with contraception, as really, the condom is really a good back up, but you'd rather there was something maybe more "medical" helping you out also.
What effects would it have to have for you to refuse?
Serious weight gain, serious acne, things like that.
Don't women already have those though?
Not all pills have that, and I mean serious weight gain. I'd put up with a little weight gain, or a little acne, but if it was seriously bad, I'd have to reconsider.
Do you reckon there might be more STDs if both sexes were on the pill?
It leaves the door open for STDs if the condom is used less, for certain. In an increasingly sexual society, a product that could see a decrease in condom use will only lead to bad things.