Men need to have a choice when it comes to contraception
At the moment, only the condom is available to us
There’s no doubt that us students are a randy bunch. The combination of newfound freedom, copious amounts of alcohol and no parents watching TV downstairs to upset means that our university years are invariably going to get raunchy. I can’t speak for everyone of course, but such heightened activity means we have to think carefully about avoiding the pitter patter of tiny feet in our university halls.
When the contraceptive pill arrived in 1961 it granted a great degree of freedom to women. Suddenly they were in control of their fertility and consequently, their lives. Today there is a wide variety of methods for women to choose from. Men don’t have that same privilege.
Men only have one choice
Condoms are currently the only choice men have in terms of contraception. Well, there’s the snip but quite frankly the thought goes through me and it is, of course, irreversible. Whilst being an effective way to prevent STIs, the real world efficacy of condoms as a contraceptive is less impressive with a pregnancy rate of 18 per cent with long term use. This figure is attributed to condoms not being used consistently or correctly.
Rather surprisingly however, condom use is dropping substantially among our generation. A study by Skyn condoms reported that 48 per cent of us used condoms “rarely” or “never”. But the decline is not without its reasons. There are some obvious caveats to condoms. They don't feel as good, they interrupt proceedings when you put them on and although it is possible to get them for free from specific places, they’re bloody expensive.
The choice really is in the hands of the girl. If you don’t happen to have a condom when you find yourself in a moment of passionate romance with someone you brought back from a night out that was only supposed to be “a couple of drinks” you have nothing to go on apart from her word that she’s on the pill. The worst case scenario is very bad indeed and truly life changing both financially and, well everything else really.
It's not just about STIs
We all know the importance of safe sex and how life changing an unwanted pregnancy can be but it doesn’t stop people chancing it. If you are with a long term partner or somebody you trust then the issue of STIs is negated but the risk of pregnancy remains. For those of us who don’t like using condoms for whatever reason, there is no real choice apart from irreversibly becoming infertile.
You could of course abstain. But that somehow seems unlikely once you both find yourselves with a distinct lack of clothes after a few too many lemonades. It seems only fair that men should have a choice of contraception, much like women do, so that we can find one that we are comfortable with. Enter the male pill.
Men's contraception doesn't seem to be a priority
Sadly, more money is currently being spent on ways to chop off your dog’s balls than on research into male contraceptive methods. Whilst undeniably effective, I shan’t be surrendering my balls anytime soon.
There is certainly appetite among men for more shared contraceptive responsibility. 84 per cent of respondents in a poll by The Telegraph said that they would take the male pill. I for one would certainly be in favour. Even just as another degree of certainty against having to drag a screaming toddler around during the years of my life I should be enjoying myself most.
Every method of contraception has its pros and cons. The male pill wouldn’t protect against STIs of course. The main thing is that men should be able to have a choice too, and that's not an unreasonable request.