NB: This article uses the terms “male” and “female” as they relate to assigned sex at birth. We acknowledge that this language is gendernormative and over simplistic and we do not intend to erase transgender identities or intersex bodies. For more reading on AFAB/AMAB click here.
Over the last two years I have trialled (and been destroyed by) at least four contraceptive pills. I get all the side effects. From the weight gain, to the acne and severe depression, it is clear my body just does not want any part in the anti-baby hormone rollercoaster. My endocrinologist agrees. She told me I don’t respond well to hormonal contraceptives, so it’s either condoms, abstinence, or Real Baby for Me 2016–ForeverTM.
I’m a bit fed up with these limited options (real baby?!?) and even more furious that I just spent two years as a bloated yo-yo puppeteered by Big Pharma, just ‘cause I want my uterus uninhabited and my vagina well-stimulated.
Recently, however, I found hope in the safe haven of the Rad Sex Condome. This hope was delivered to me in an engaging workshop presented by Dr Charlene Levitan from UNSW’s faculty of medicine. The hope is, one day, men might be able to use hormonal contraceptive methods and relieve us women of the bloating and mood swings.
Today, women can implant metal rods into their arms; have doctors insert small plastic devices in their uteruses, inject themselves with hormones every 12-14 weeks, place rings around their vaginas for three weeks at a time, take a small pill every day (don’t forget), or an even smaller pill every day at the exact same time (seriously don’t fucking forget).
Having agency and control over your body is 10/10. But when you’re in a long-term relationship and your partner complains that using condoms gets a bit annoying, I wonder why the dude who invented the pill didn’t think about a pill for men too.
The thing is, he did. The dude who co-invented the female pill – his last name is Pincus and I love that – also tested the same hormonal approach on men in 1957. Products are yet to hit shelves.
Fourteen years ago a study was published in the Medical Journal of Australia that concluded, “MHC (Male Hormone Contraception) appears to be acceptable to a majority of Australian men when surveyed in a postpartum context.” Yeah. Eighty-nine out of 118 men surveyed indicated they would consider trying MHC if it were available. This was in 2002.
In 2014, male contraceptive alternative, Vasalgel, was said to hit shelves in 2017. Vasagel is a non-hormonal polymer they inject into your junk to stop you from cumming sperm. It was inspired by a male contraceptive called RISUG, which has been trialed and used in India for over 15 years.
But according to the Victorian Government – who have a way better health website than us NSW mates – there are no current plans for a hormonal method of male contraception to be made available to the public in Australia. Christ.
These male hormone options would provide valuable alternatives for people like me who cannot use certain methods of female contraception. I don’t know how much longer we have to wait for MHC to hit shelves. All I have is hope.