Let’s nip this in the bud right now because the title may have been misleading: this is not an anti-man rant. This is a statement about protecting my body and sexual safety.
The medical world is on the brink of making a contraceptive pill for men widely available – a tremendous breakthrough indeed, and most certainly an opportunity for lads to step up and take a constant responsibility for protecting against a child (because there is no other way to protect from an STI than a condom, as we all know) which goes beyond hoping that the Durex doesn’t snap mid-romp. If they want to, that is.
Having sat back and thought about what a great opportunity that is, I’ve decided that trusting a partner to take the pill isn’t a thing I’d be willing to do for a few reasons. It’s nothing to do with any deep-rooted mistrust of the male species, nor am I implying that many guys wouldn’t take this pill if they could in a bid to utilise it for the better and make sure nothing terrible and unplanned happens to them or the person they are sleeping with. What it comes down to is that I know I want to be the one taking care of my own body.
It’s me who is ultimately at risk
It isn’t that I think he’ll forget to take it because men are useless. I’m sure we’ve met certain characters on the dating circuit but it is categorically untrue that “all men are shit”.
What I think is missing from a man’s life that would urge him to take the pill is… well… a womb. If anything goes horribly wrong it is the women who are at risk; an unplanned pregnancy is no easy feat, the decision to keep or terminate a child clearly is a traumatic affair and, when it comes down to it, a man doesn’t actually have any real attachment to an unborn baby. Particularly if they aren’t in a long term relationship with their partner. They are not the ones in danger of carrying another life and let’s face it, if they have no interest in this child they can run away never to return, leaving no support for an accidentally expectant mother. It happens, we can’t pretend it doesn’t. The sheer terror of ever being in that situation is what keeps me remembering my own contraceptive pill, and it’s a fear that a man cannot physically understand.
Until you’ve pushed something akin to a watermelon out of your vagina then had it attached to your breasts for 18 months, it’s not like you’re ever going to either.
Attitudes towards STIs are getting more blasé
If men and women are both taking a contraceptive to make sure no one has an accidental baby, imagine the drop in condom sales.
I’m not silly – none of us would ever admit it, but when you’ve hit it off with someone and are getting down to the dirty deed, how many times have you got to that crucial moment and thought “just once without a condom probably won’t hurt, will it?” We do fucking silly things in the throws of passion as it is, and when only one sexual partner is protected from pregnancy to some degree. Our attitude towards condoms is flimsy enough (all you need is half hour of Jeremy Kyle to find that out). I am inclined to think we’re going to care very little about a rubber saving us a bout of chlamydia with the sheer joy of not having to worry about conception.
Just as some women who are desperate to conceive have been known to lie about taking the pill so they can have a baby, I’m saddened to read in the Evening Standard that there are boys out there who would lie about being on the pill to gain the “right” to unprotected sex. And that, right there, is why I will be the one in charge of my sexual safety regardless of any scientific advances.
I imagine it’s a very small number of males who would be that disgusting, but the facts are there and I sure as hell won’t be one to find out who they are. I don’t care if these wonder pills are completely bombproof: I will continue to ensure I take my own contraceptives daily to keep my womb empty and life carefree, meanwhile I will be enforcing the condom rule on any sexual partner because frankly, I just don’t know who you could be. I really hope that the male population is just as sensible and vigilant for their own safety too.
I just feel that these two responsibilities should be carried out separately. I honestly see it as my responsibility to not have a baby until I mean to with a long term partner, and I expect a sexual partner to care enough to safely use a condom so neither of us pick up anything nasty (and in equal measure, there are women out there who simply can’t be trusted. This whole thing swings both ways). Before anything else, I expect that level of respect if I’m letting you get intimate with me.
Would you trust a man to take the pill?
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