Also known as male birth control are methods of preventing pregnancy that primarily involve the male physiology.
The most common kinds of male contraception include condoms withdrawal or pulling out, outer course, and vasectomy. Other forms of male contraception are in various stages of research and development. These include methods like RISUG/Vasalgel (which has completed a small phase II clinical trial in humans in India).
Using outer course as birth control means you do some sexual activities, but you don’t have vaginal sex (penis-in-vagina) or get any semen in the vagina. This way, the sperm cells in semen can’t get to an egg and cause pregnancy.
Some outer course examples include kissing, oral sex and/or anal sex. Oral sex won’t lead to pregnancy, and anal sex doesn’t cause pregnancy either (unless semen spills out into the vagina). But both anal and oral sex can spread STDs, so use a condom during oral sex and anal sex.
Vasectomy is a surgical procedure for male sterilization or permanent birth control. During the procedure, the vasa deferentia of a man are severed, and then tied or sealed in a manner such to prevent sperm from entering into the seminal stream (ejaculate). Vasectomies are usually performed in a physician’s office or medical clinic. Due to the presence of sperm retained beyond the blocked vasa deferentia, vasectomies only become effective about three months following the operation.
A condom is a sheath-shaped barrier device that may be used during sexual intercourse to reduce the probability of pregnancy and decrease the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as HIV/AIDS. It is rolled onto an erect penis before intercourse and blocks ejaculated semen from entering the body of a sexual partner.
Condoms may be combined with other forms of contraception (such as spermicide) for greater protection.
Also known as the pull-out method, withdrawal involves removing the penis from the vagina before ejaculation occurs. This is done in order to prevent insemination from taking place. The withdrawal method has a failure rate of about 4% per year if used correctly at every act of intercourse, with a failure rate of 22% per year for typical use.
Can it Affect My Sexuality?
- After a vasectomy you will still have erections and orgasms.
- You ejaculate about the same amount of semen but it no longer contains sperm.
- Your hormones and maleness do not change.
- Your sex drive and ability to have sex do not change.
- The only change is that you cannot father a child. If you consider your decision carefully and do not feel pressured by anyone, you are unlikely to regret your choice.
Is it Reversible?
It is not always possible to reverse a vasectomy.
Many factors can affect the success rate of a reversal. On average, 50 percent of reversals result in a pregnancy.
Some men produce antibodies to their own sperm after a vasectomy. This may make pregnancy after reversal less likely.
A second option after vasectomy is direct retrieval of sperm from the testicle, then in vitro fertilization to achieve pregnancy.
Another option is to freeze some of your sperm so they can be used later.
Infection is uncommon and is not usually serious. Internal bleeding may cause swelling and pain.
A painful lump may form in the scrotum where the operation was done. The pain usually disappears in a few weeks.
Rarely, men may experience intermittent long term scrotal pain.
Other Methods under Trial
Vasalgel: The Non-Surgical, Reversible Vasectomy
Vasalgel is like a vasectomy, except it’s reversible and doesn’t involve surgery. Instead of cutting the vas deferens (the traditional surgical option), a polymer gel that blocks sperm (but not ejaculate) is injected into the same space. When and if a man wants to remove the gel, another injection dissolves it. It takes 3 to 5 days to become effective in preventing pregnancy after the initial injections, but the reversal process takes a bit longer—up to four months.
The dry-orgasm pill is based on a now-abandoned blood-pressure medication. It’s a fast-acting, hormone-free pill that temporarily shuts off the muscles that propel semen, but doesn’t inhibit any other part of the sex act, including orgasm. Pilot studies on animals have shown the drug’s effectiveness, but more studies are needed.
A combination of testosterone/progestin gels that are rubbed into the skin have been found to inhibit sperm production (but without affecting sex drive, ejaculation, or muscle mass). Sperm counts return to normal after use stops. This and other hormonal gels are in Phase II trials.
Implant for the Guys
This one-year implant relies on a synthetic testosterone-like compound to inhibit sperm cell development without impairing libido. According to the Population Council, a small, one-year study of 11 men found that eight, who had four implants, had zero sperm count—an effect that lasted in many subjects for months, until the implants were removed.