‘You can’t give us responsibility’: We asked men if they’d take the male contraceptive pill
It doesn’t even have any side effects
Honestly, it feels like we’ve been hearing whispers about the male contraceptive pill for centuries without it ever appearing in UK pharmacies. But scientists have finally had a break through that makes it legitimately likely a male contraceptive pill could be offered within five years. And, unlike the pills women have suffered through, it doesn’t even have any side effects.
Researchers at Washington State University have discovered a new gene responsible for sperm production in humans and other mammals, and their studies show that deactivating this gene could cause a temporary infertility. Essentially, men could take a pill, have all the sex they want, without having to worry about blood clots, depression or acne.
But would they want to? And would they remember? The Tab headed out onto the streets of London to find out:
Jack – ‘Men should definitely be sterilised’
From the outset, Jack is an ally. “I think it makes total sense dude,” he says, adding: “It would give a lot more security to guys. The amount of stuff that happens to a woman’s body with birth control and the hormones is so fucked up. I think men should definitely be sterilised in a way.
“When a woman gets an abortion that takes so much out of her for years and it’s a trauma. It barely affects the man,” he continues. “For sure I’d take it. It’s way better than my girlfriend being on a birth control pill with side effects. It messes up her hormones and makes bad things happen to her body.”
But Jack isn’t convinced he’d remember to take the pill. “I don’t know if you can be give men that much responsibility,” he says. “But women always hold the weight of the responsibility so maybe it would be nice for a change.”
Daniel – ‘I’m not really active’
Daniel is all for the male contraceptive pill. “Why not?” he says. “If women can take it, we can as well.”
When asked if he’d take it himself, Daniel admits he’s not really having enough sex to make it worthwhile. “Honestly, yeah [I would] if I was active going [sleeping with women]. I’m not really active going. If I was, I would,” he says.
Like Jack, Daniel is also unsure about actually remembering to take a contraceptive pill. “That might be a hassle,” he admits. “I’ve got too many things going on in my mind. So, to add another thing on top of it it’s like…ooh. Women are just better than men at remembering.
“Big up. You’re better than us.”
Eddie – ‘I’d take it with my cereal’
Eddie is accompanied by his girlfriend and seems very, very, sweet. “I guess it could work,” he says. “No side effects is a good bonus. It would help women. It would be great for men to think about more. I’d take it but I wouldn’t be the first man to ever do it.”
When asked whether he’d remember to actually take the pill, Eddie is determined to try. “I probably wouldn’t remember,” he says. “But we can work around that. I’d take it with my cereal. Breakfast, then take the pill.”
Jonathan – ‘If it was here, I’d take it right now’
Jonathan is confident in the pill and confident in himself. “I’m pro the male pill,” he says. “If it was here, I’d take it right now. I think I’d be pretty good at remembering to take it. Regimented. I would just do it. Same time every day. Just do it. And I’d set an alarm.”
We’re feeling reassured by Jonathan’s response until we ask him if he’d still wear a condom, to which the answer was a big fat no. STDs, apparently, haven’t crossed his mind.
John, Massima, Joe and Charlie – ‘I’m not having enough sex’
When you approach a group of guys and ask them to talk about contraception you never know if it’s going to go down like a sack of shit (during this assignment, it often did). But John and his mates Massima, Joe and Charlie are totally game.
“I think I’d just use condoms,” says John. “Or, maybe I would take it but I don’t know if I’m having enough sex to justify taking it. My condoms aren’t really even being used either.”
But Massima is fully in. “Safer the better, right?” he says, revealing he’d set an alarm to help him remember after noticing girls at college using the tactic. “You’d see it in the common room,” he says. “In sixth form they’d all be going off at the same time,” adds John.
“I think I would take it if someone else [women] have been willing to take it for you, you might as well take it for them,” chimes in Joe. Lovely, lovely, boys.
Related stories recommended by this writer:
• Meet the women ditching the pill forever in favour of their mental health
• The Pill made me so erratic and depressed, I broke up with my boyfriend
• I ditched the pill for a contraception app, and I’ve never felt better