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The Male Pill


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Score one for the ladies.

Would you be willing to pop a pill that brings your sperm count down to zero? Or do you feel that, beyond condoms, birth control is mainly a woman's responsibility? A 1997 survey by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, an American health research and education organization, found that more than 66% of respondents (male and female) believed that men should play a bigger role in the choice and use of contraception.

Despite these results, specialists say birth control has remained primarily a female responsibility, which is hardly surprising given the limited options available to men. However, things may soon change: After 40 years of research, the male contraceptive pill is almost ready.

The real question is: Will men use the pill? Would you be willing to use it? Read on to find the answers to all your questions.

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I went to hear Stephen Lewis speak a few weeks ago, and one of the issues he stressed was that sexual responsibility involves both partners, and yet has always been dropped on the shoulders of women. They're expected to keep condoms in their bedroom, take birth control pills, get morning after pills when needed, have abortions when things don't work, give birth when they do. And yet all us lucky guys don't have to worry about any of this.

There's a number of new developments that will help women, and particularly women in developing countries, exercise their rights and safety in the boudoir, most importantly in preventing the spread of diseases such as HIV. Microbicides are a step in the right direction since they don't require the male partner to take the lead for contraception.

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