Author Topic: Why we can't have the male pill.  (Read 856 times)

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Why we can't have the male pill.
I suppose stuff like this is relevant to everyone's interest :P. It's interesting biology and an interesting glimpse into medical risk-calculation as well.

 

Offline Nyctaeus

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Re: Why we can't have the male pill.
My comment are simple three words: Make this happen!

I would be interested in something like that and reasons are...Obvious :P. It's quite not fair for woman to take pills all the time, and in long period it's destructive for their hormonal systems. Weight gain and fluctuations of moods are actually just a tip of the iceberg.
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Offline karajorma

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Re: Why we can't have the male pill.
True, but I've heard that some doctors recommend taking it for at least 5 years to prevent ovarian cancer.

But yeah, it would be nice for men to have a bit more control over this sort of thing rather than having to leave it all up to the woman.
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Offline MP-Ryan

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Re: Why we can't have the male pill.
Speaking as a father of two who doesn't want any more and a husband of a wife who doesn't want him to get a vasectomy yet:  I really, really wish this would get going.

Also, I don't regularly drink alcohol and I'd give it up entirely if this was the tradeoff.  Where's my WIN, dammit.
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Offline karajorma

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Re: Why we can't have the male pill.
Well it depends on how sensitive the drug is to alcohol. If you can set it off by eating a chocolate liqueur, I'm not surprised the manufacturers haven't started selling it.
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Offline 0rph3u5

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Re: Why we can't have the male pill.
I didn't know this was still newsworthy - maybe this is just a different drug then from what I read previously...

However the article is faulty for different reaons IMO ... (aside from providing a source for the cited 18% failure rate of condoms - quite important in context of my argument to check that)

While I agree with Nyctaeus and karajorma on the fairness argument, I am more concerned with what the presence of a chemical counterceptive for men might do to our sexual education, esspecially in regards to STD prevention. Everyone who has worked at the information side of an HIV awareness drive might be familiar with the ammount of misconceptions that are around in regards of the transmission of HIV alone (and that is before getting into the unpleasentness of social aspect of it, e.g. trust, information and stigma).

This article wholy ommits the aspect of STD prevention, which is one of the upsides of condoms. I guess if it aimed at an older audience that's okay considering the older people are the more likely they are to have stable relationships etc etc but still it might be something to mention and consider. Esspecially the market for male contraceptives includes men who already have children or might have children in the future (delay is a valid option in family planning after all) and one day have to give "the talk". And if "the talk" is informed by a culture in which safer sex is only framed in the context of contraception, that leaves quite a few aspects to pick up for other people (e.g. LGBTQ+ communities or government health agencies)...

(Now of course the cultural impact isn't primarily the concern of scienstis but, you know, some awareness to outside effects never hurt)

EDIT: ps. Of course I am aware that condoms are not the only means of preventing STDs and that they don't provide a 100% success rate in that regard either. But the link between contraception and STD prevention has made condoms widely stigma-free, which is a silent boon for gay and bisexual men.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2017, 02:46:00 am by 0rph3u5 »
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Offline Luis Dias

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Re: Why we can't have the male pill.
That's an irrelevant take. Women's contraception techniques are also not preventing STDs, but they are almost like a pillar of women's liberation.

IOW, it's really important, and not everyone is a horny teenager trying to bang as many girls as possible, mkay?

 

Offline 0rph3u5

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Re: Why we can't have the male pill.
That's an irrelevant take

It is a long-term hypothetical but not irrelevant. If a hormonal treatment for men takes off it will certainly diminish the relevance of condoms for heterosexuals, hence them will become less relevant during a commonly agreed upon sex ed-curcilum. Due to their dual functionality as both contraceptive and proactive measure against most STDs condoms have a important place in an education regime for these topics as it effectively gives you a bridge between them.

So it is worth sparing a thought as how to teach about STD prevention when there is no longer this highly useful bridge to the topic of contraception that condoms are currently providing.

Women's contraception techniques are also not preventing STDs, but they are almost like a pillar of women's liberation.

Yeah, but for different reasons.

The role of hormonal contraception for women was that it put the planning into family planning. With the separation of sex and pregnancy in the hands of the women, it gave them control of their sex lives and lives more generally as they were no longer in the risk of "being stuck" with a unplanned child.

The treatments for men now in discussion however come after that and will not have as profound an effect:
For one because men were almost always privileged to reject an unwanted child (e.g. see who prominently contesting parenthood features in women's movements - going back to Olympe de Gouges' Declaration of the Rights of Woman and of the Female Citizen, Article XI) and that way always had an out of the responsibly for a child (granted there were social shaming mechanism for run-away fathers in place, but they were not as well enforced as for women giving birth outside of marriage).
Secondly, it comes after the treatments for women and therefor only provides a -much needed- redistribution of the risks of hormonal contraception as well as of the responsibility in family planning.

not everyone is a horny teenager trying to bang as many girls as possible, mkay?

A) In my experience the twenty-somethings are for worse in the category of risque sexual behavior then teenagers. :D

B) I am not thinking that heronormative categories - gay, trans-, inter- and asexual horny teenages exist in my mind as well. (verbatim, you only implied the existence of heterosexual, female bi and lesbian horny teenages)  :P

C) More matter of fact, I concede that my views are somewhat off-the-mark concernding the majority - but mostly because of my interaction with LGBTQ+-communities* which somewhat pushes aspect of pregnancy out of focus for me.

* Just to clarify because the OP makes reference to "horny": I am not implying the LGBTQ+-persons are any more prone to sexually risque behavior then heterosexuals.
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Offline Luis Dias

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Re: Why we can't have the male pill.
What you are missing is the aspect that family planning should not mean "It's all at the hands of women". Men would like to have something to say about that, since they can only voice some opinion after the fact regarding abortion, etc. IOW, apart from condoms (and the good ol "pulling out"), men have next to zero ways to prevent pregnancies.

Now, sure, feminine ability to have this control is way more important and urgent, but that job is done. Could we please provide this same control for men? Come on.

 

Offline 0rph3u5

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Re: Why we can't have the male pill.
What you are missing is the aspect that family planning should not mean "It's all at the hands of women". Men would like to have something to say about that, since they can only voice some opinion after the fact regarding abortion, etc.

I might be omitting it because it is self-evident to me that having a child/children by any means is a consensual decision between the persons who want to be parents.

Also I mentioned that it is a "a  -much needed- redistribution of the risks of hormonal contraception as well as of the responsibility in family planning."
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Offline 0rph3u5

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Re: Why we can't have the male pill.
-sry for the double-post, but I can see someone reading who I think might post while I am wirting-

Now, sure, feminine ability to have this control is way more important and urgent, but that job is done. Could we please provide this same control for men? Come on.

Also to reiterate:

a) I did not state that a male pill was not desiable.

b) I pointed out a hypothetical cultural change related to the existence of a male pill, I think should be adress. I may not have offered up a solution but I didn't say the problem was unsolvable either - its probabily an easy fix but one that requires a consensus to be formed.

c) I pointed out your false equivalncy between male and female contraception and what they represent in context.

I don't know what we actually have to discuss as we agree on subject of the topic.
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Offline Bobboau

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Re: Why we can't have the male pill.
Its always fun to watch people who agree on every point argue with each other simply because they detect an adversarial tone in the other.
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Offline Snarks

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Re: Why we can't have the male pill.
I think Orpheus has got a point. From an economics perspective, the male pill would be a substitute for condoms. Depending on how effective of a substitute this would be, it is not unreasonable to think a substantial portion of the male population would switch over to it. In terms of STDs, a condom is similar to a vaccine. If enough of the population uses condoms, the spread of STDs will be effectively halted, like a sort of psuedo herd immunity. Thus, condoms actually provide a positive externality in the form of STD prevention.

 

Offline MP-Ryan

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Re: Why we can't have the male pill.
I think Orpheus has got a point. From an economics perspective, the male pill would be a substitute for condoms. Depending on how effective of a substitute this would be, it is not unreasonable to think a substantial portion of the male population would switch over to it. In terms of STDs, a condom is similar to a vaccine. If enough of the population uses condoms, the spread of STDs will be effectively halted, like a sort of psuedo herd immunity. Thus, condoms actually provide a positive externality in the form of STD prevention.

This assumes sexually-transmitted diseases are only sexually transmitted, which isn't the case (STDs are a misnomer).  There's no question that widespread condom use reduces transmission, but it doesn't eliminate its spread entirely.  And as Orpheus himself points out, the main market for a male pill is not so much for those with risky sexual behaviours (which is, amusingly, young people and old people) but rather young-middle-aged-heterosexual-genetic-males (in which I include transgender persons who are still reproductively fertile) whose permanent/regular partners are still fertile.

Much as with the various options for females, the key in education is expressing that while the pill is a form of pregnancy prevention, it is not a substitute for safe sexual practices.  Or as we would shout to first-year students in my university dorms:  TWO forms of birth control, and one needs to be a condom!
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Offline Mongoose

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Re: Why we can't have the male pill.
Or just stick to good ol' Rosie Palms and cut out the middleman entirely. :p

 
Re: Why we can't have the male pill.
Or woman, as the case may be.

 

Offline Snarks

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Re: Why we can't have the male pill.
This assumes sexually-transmitted diseases are only sexually transmitted, which isn't the case (STDs are a misnomer).  There's no question that widespread condom use reduces transmission, but it doesn't eliminate its spread entirely.

I don't dispute that there are other vectors for the transfer of STDs. But the heterosexual male population consists of a lot of people. And the specific aspect of condoms I'm referring to is their vaccine-like property to produce herd immunity. If enough men use condoms, it becomes really difficult for STDs to become an epidemic (which of course, doesn't mean STDs are just gone altogether). Now I don't have the data to back up my claim and so the fear might be overblown, but I do think some consideration should be given to the event that this herd immunity is lost. I will point to the Gate Foundation's initiative for better condoms as an indicator of the importance of condoms in fighting STD epidemics.

And as Orpheus himself points out, the main market for a male pill is not so much for those with risky sexual behaviours (which is, amusingly, young people and old people) but rather young-middle-aged-heterosexual-genetic-males (in which I include transgender persons who are still reproductively fertile) whose permanent/regular partners are still fertile.

I'd argue that this assumption is the more dangerous one. We don't know how the male population will react to the availability of a male pill. It may be marketed towards young-middle-aged-heterosexual-genetic-males, but I don't think it's a stretch at all for teens and younger adults to consider using the male pill, especially if it's comparatively priced, convenient, and well, more pleasurable.

Much as with the various options for females, the key in education is expressing that while the pill is a form of pregnancy prevention, it is not a substitute for safe sexual practices.  Or as we would shout to first-year students in my university dorms:  TWO forms of birth control, and one needs to be a condom!

I agree that sexual education is important, but I think it's also woefully underfunded and fought against (thanks abstinence only education) at least in the US and practically non-existent in several third world countries. My concern is that if condoms get largely replaced by the male pill because of cost/convenience, then sexual education will need even greater priority.

 

Offline Colonol Dekker

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Re: Why we can't have the male pill.
The best for of male post-event contraceptive is "not giving pit your real phone number" to quote my younger self. :eek:

 

Offline MP-Ryan

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Re: Why we can't have the male pill.
@snarks

Reduced condom use is likely a legitimate concern, but any sex-ed program that covers condoms would continue to do so while explaining the differences between condoms and the male pill.  Meanwhile, the useless abstinence-only programs would continue not to teach about either.  I see this as a relatively small curriculum change in reality; arguably, condom use has improved in the last 30 years due to the rise in serious headline-making STDs (as the female pill also existed during this period) and I don't see major reversals in that simply with the advent of another form of pregnancy-prevention.
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Offline karajorma

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Re: Why we can't have the male pill.
Right now, condoms are a main form of contraceptive in long term couples. Which means it's perfectly acceptable to carry condoms / have them in the house for quite a few people. If they are abandoned in favour of a male contraceptive pill then there are going to be quite a few guys who will risk unprotected sex over risking their girlfriend / wife catching them buying or owning condoms. Especially since they are still protected against what they may feel is the major danger of unprotected sex, getting your other woman pregnant.

I can see there being a fair rise in STD transmission due to that.
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