Raise your hand if you have been on and off birth control most of your adult life, whether it be pills, patches, implants, or IUD’s. OK, now raise your hand if you have been the sole responsible party for said contraception within all of your sexual relationships (don’t worry, I’m not judging how many “relationships” you have had). Now, how many of you are women?
That’s what I thought.
It’s a harsh reality that women have been saddled with bearing the burden of birth control since it became available back in the 60’s. Let’s face it, once you reached a point of monogamy with your partner that made condoms a less economical choice (and often so inconvenient for the MAN), it became time for YOU to get to the gyno and get a more consistent form of contraception (which also happened to let your dude off the hook completely when it came to worrying about getting knocked up). Fair? No, not really. But what else were you going to do?
It isn’t bad enough that we have to carry the children, push them painfully out of our vaginas, then feed them from our own bodies while the men just get to sit back, drink beer and watch sports, then yell “PUSH!” when the time comes for the baby to come into the world. We also happen to be the only ones that can safely and (somewhat) conveniently prevent these pregnancies when it isn’t the right time to conceive. Men get to enjoy the sex, without worrying about the consequences, while we not only have to worry about them, but also are reminded of our immense responsibility of populating the planet by monthly menstruation, complete with crippling cramps, severe bloating and a perpetual feeling of being pissed off. And they wonder why we aren’t always Suzy Sunshine 100% of the time. If anyone has the right to feel a little jilted, I’d say it’s the female persuasion.
But for the past 50 years or so, we had no choice. As women, we had to step up to the plate and take one for the team, pumping our bodies with hormones or having foreign objects placed in our uterus’ or implanted in our arms. That was the price we were willing to pay to avoid unplanned pregnancy (and let’s face it, to get our men to stop complaining about the mood-ruining, sensation killing albatross of condom usage). But now, in 2009, according to news sources, a safe and effective MALE hormonal contraceptive is under development—and it might just be available before we hit menopause.
Apparently, scientists are about this close to giving men the option of a daily pill, a patch or topical gel for the skin, an injection given every three months, or an implant placed under the skin every 12 months. Hmmm. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know ONE man that would want to do any of that. Have we been taking care of business for too long for guys to even consider taking on the role of baby prevention? And, most importantly, do we even want to pass over the reins to the men for this momentous responsibility? As unfair as it is that we are encumbered by all things baby related, should men be given the chance to take over?
There may be a reason why us females have been the ones to take the pills, put on the patches and shove in the diaphragms. Let’s put it this way: when your husband or partner watches the kids, does he ever forget to give them breakfast? Does the little one sit in a poopy diaper for a little too long sometimes? And is it common for him to forget to remind the 10-year-old to change his stanky underwear? Sure, it’s not the end of the world for the kids to eat brunch instead of breakfast, and Junior isn’t going to die from wearing dirty undies, but if Dad forgot to take his little blue pill in the morning, it could result in a “mistake” of catastrophic proportions—namely another little ankle biter to remember to feed.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not bashing men here. I love men. And I know there are probably plenty of uber-responsible males out there who would be perfect candidates for taking on the contraception duties (although I really don’t know any of them). In general, I think men were made with a lot of wonderful, endearing qualities, such as the ability to fix things with limited resources and a genetic predisposition to protect and provide for their families at all costs–but remembering mundane everyday things, especially things that they probably feel are a “woman thing”–is not one of them. I am pretty sure that the human population might just increase exponentially if the birth control was handed over to the testosterone fueled members of society.
So let’s say that by 2010, the male contraceptive is available to the public. I want to know what man is going to read about it in the paper and say to his wife “Honey, good news! You don’t have to take birth control pills anymore. Now I can take the birth control pills and you don’t have to worry about it!”
And more importantly, what woman is going to say “Great, thanks honey” and actually not worry about it ever again? I can see it now. Post-its on the refrigerator, notes in his lunchbox and lipstick on the mirror in the bathroom:
“Don’t forget to take your pill!”
Just one more thing for men to say we are “nagging” them about. It might be better for society if we just suck it up. We’ve been bearing the burden of all things baby for years and years; I think we should be used to it by now. We’ll leave the TV watching and ball scratching to them, it’s what their good at—and they almost never forget when the baseball game is on.